School bus drivers must be certified in order to transport students. The New York State Education Department (NYSED) mandates standards that apply to school bus drivers across the state. A key component of certification is completion of required training at an approved Office of Pupil Transportation (OPT) training location. All drivers are required to attend mandatory refresher courses each year.
Requirements for Driver Certification
Bus companies schedule appointments for driver applicants to be fingerprinted by NYSDMV contractor L1 Identity Solutions at one of more than a dozen sites around the City. The applicants will complete and submita 19-A Bus Driver Application at that appointment. At the same time, the company asks the OPT Contract Management Unit to perform a Thirteen County Criminal History check on the applicant. Once the applicant has received both of these clearances, the company can schedule the applicant for a certification session at OPT provided the applicant can appear with all of the following:
All required documentation must be submitted at time of certification. Faxes will not be accepted.
- A Social Security card, and if not a United States citizen, a Green Card or Resident Card.
- A New York State commercial driver’s license (CDL) with CDL "S" (school bus) endorsement and "P" (passenger) endorsement.
- A letter from the bus company, on company letterhead, requesting certification.
- Three letters of reference (from individuals, organizations and/or agencies not related by blood or marriage to the driver) that attest to his or her character and work record.
- 19-A final qualification letter (result of DMV fingerprint process).
- 13 county criminal history check letter dated within 60 days.
- Physical performance test dated within 60 days. This exam is given once every two years.
- Medical examination and Purified Protein Derivative Tuberculosis Skin Test (PPD) dated within 90 days. If PPD is positive the results of a chest x-ray are required.
- Clean drug test results dated within 60 days.
- Abstract of official vehicle operating record from NYSDMV—19A Active-School Qualified. If not, driver should provide an add-on to roster letter from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DS-870).
- Pre-service training certificate—completion of three hour course provided through an OPT-certified training location.
- Spring/fall refresher certificate—two hour required refresher course provided through an OPT-certified training location. Drivers must attend a yearly refresher course.
- Complete OPT application signed by bus company representative. Driver will be certified under this company.
Drivers must submit the following items dated within sixty days of certification.
- Behind the wheel road test.
- Results of Article 19-A oral/written test.
- Documentation of completion of a defensive driving course.
Drivers must submit the following within one year of certification.
- NYSED-mandated training certificate—thirty hour course provided through an OPT-certified training location. Original certificate is required.