"I am not 'just a school bus driver.' I owe it to all the parents that trust me to provide a safe ride to school, every day. I owe it to my trainers that gave me the skills needed to be a professional school bus driver. I am proud to be part of a winning team. I promise I will never be 'just a school bus driver.' 
- Melanie, First Student bus driver

Drivers are the faces of school transportation, and they can make the difference between a good day and a bad day at school. Because let’s face it: students don’t speak logistics. They don’t care how efficient a computer-generated route is or how it gets them to school on time. But they do care how their driver treats them, how they’re greeted every day and the overall bus ride experience. Much of that relationship comes down to who is hired as a driver, how they are trained and the tools they are given to succeed.

Driver Screening

As your district partner, it is our responsibility to provide you with a team of safe, respectful and caring professional drivers. We thoroughly screen and follow a carefully crafted interview and selection process to ensure we hire only the best for your community.

Initial Minimum Hiring Requirements

Background Checks:
Employment, residency, driving and criminal background checks are conducted on all employees. We have the most extensive background check process in the industry.

Drug & Alcohol Testing:
Testing is conducted pre-employment and then at on-going intervals after hire. First Student is a drug- and alcohol-free workplace and maintains a zero-tolerance policy.

Physical Performance & Dexterity Requirements:
First Student drivers and monitors must satisfy stringent requirements to ensure they can meet the challenges and physical necessities for both routine and emergency situations.

Driver Training

We align our training programs to each driver’s experience, the needs of their passengers and any geographic- or location-specific issues or risk factors. As the industry’s safety leader, we understand that new and experienced drivers require different training, and have developed comprehensive programs targeting each level of experience.

Sample Training Offerings

The Smith System® Advanced Driver Training:
Provides the critical advanced driving strategies needed to prevent collisions and safely transport our passengers.

Sexual Harassment Training:
Helps drivers recognize and prevent bullying and sexual harassment on the bus.

Training on Six Types of Security Events & Procedures:
Ensures our drivers and monitors are able to meet the safety needs and requirements of our passengers during specific event situations.

Complete Safety Performance Standards & Standard Operating Procedures:
Aligns all drivers and staff with our standard protocols.

Injury Prevention Program (IPP):
Helps us create an injury- and collision-free workplace.

Early Childhood & Special Needs Training

We have developed targeted hiring qualifications and training programs specific to our early childhood and special needs transportation services. Our training goes beyond state requirements and is the most rigorous in the industry.

First Student drivers and monitors are required to participate in numerous needs-specific education programs, workshops and on-the-job training focused on recognizing, responding to and transporting students with a variety of physical and emotional needs. 

Sample Training Offerings

Inclusion:
Teaches how to assist a child with disabilities to become more involved with their peers.

Characteristics of Disabilities:
Teaches what can potentially happen, how to react and what we can do to help.

Sensitivity:
Provides training on understanding and involving others.

Laws & Liabilities:
Provides training with regular updates regarding laws and regulations, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

Student Behavior Management:
Teaches how to assist with extreme behaviors and calm a child when they become stressed.

Passenger Loading/Unloading Equipment Training:
Provides important instructions and procedures for vehicle and wheelchair lift operation, wheelchair securement and child safety restraint systems.

Written Evacuation Plans:
Teaches what to do in an emergency and how to evacuate quickly, safely and without injury.