Overview

Drivers must obtain the S endorsement if they will be driving a vehicle that meets the definition of a school bus, unless exempt under the Operator Licensing and Vehicle Control Regulation.

You must have a valid Alberta driver’s licence to take the School Bus Driver Improvement Program to get the S endorsement. You are not eligible if you have a suspended driver's licence. For more information, see the Licensed Driver Training School Procedures Manual.

School bus drivers

Drivers need the correct class of driver’s licence for the type of school bus that they will drive. The required class of licence for a school bus is decided by its designed seating capacity.

Class 1 drivers, who must complete Mandatory Entry Level Training (MELT), and Class 2 drivers can drive any size of school bus, if they meet the following requirements:

  • pass all required testing to obtain their Class 1 or Class 2 licence, and
  • have an S endorsement on their driver’s licence, unless exempt under the Operator Licensing and Vehicle Control Regulation

Class 4 drivers are restricted to school buses that have designed seating capacities up to 24 passengers. For these smaller vehicles, Class 4 school bus drivers must:

  • complete and pass the required Class 4 testing, and
  • have an S endorsement on their driver’s licence, unless exempt under the Operator Licensing and Vehicle Control Regulation

Regardless of designed seating capacity, if a school bus has air brakes, the driver requires the Q endorsement.

Existing school bus drivers

If you drive a vehicle that meets the definition of a school bus, you must have an S endorsement on your driver's licence.

How it works

  • Step 1. Complete classroom training

    You must participate in a classroom training session delivered by a licensed driver training school in Alberta. Each student is provided with a copy of the School Bus Operator’s manual as a reference and study guide. The classroom training is a minimum of 15 hours and includes 5 series:

    • Series 1: School Bus Inspection and Maintenance
    • Series 2: Loading, Unloading and Transporting Passengers, and Passenger Management
    • Series 3: Bus Manoeuvres and Defensive Driving
    • Series 4: Emergencies, Bus Evacuations, First Aid, Emergency Equipment, and Mechanical Breakdown
    • Series 5: Passengers with Disabilities, Mobility Aids and Child Safety Seats
  • Step 2. Pass knowledge assessments

    Knowledge assessments are completed under the direct supervision of the driving instructor after each series. You have 3 attempts to pass each knowledge assessment.

  • Step 3: Complete practical training

    Once you complete the classroom training and pass all 5 series knowledge assessments, you must participate in the practical training session.

  • Step 4. Pass pre-trip inspection assessment and on-road assessment

    • You must pass a pre-trip inspection assessment.
    • You must pass an on-road assessment.
    • If you fail the pre-trip inspection assessment, you will be able to continue to attempt until successful, pending time availability.
    • If you fail the on-road assessment, the driving instructor will determine what additional training is required before a further attempt is made. Any re-assessment must be conducted on a different day.
    • Once you pass both assessments, you will be issued a Notice of Driver Education Course Completion form.
  • Step 5. Go to registry agent

    Bring the Notice of Driver Education Course Completion form to any Alberta registry agent to get the S endorsement added to your driver’s licence. A government fee and a service charge will apply. Your new driver’s licence will be mailed to your address with the S endorsement indicated next to your licence class.

    There is no renewal requirement for the S endorsement.

Class 2 Post Licensing Competency Grant

Transportation and Economic Corridors has developed a new voluntary post-licensing on-the-job training grant program. This voluntary training program will be designed to provide participants with job-related skills, knowledge and competencies to meet the full scope of work performed by a school bus driver. This program, which will be administered in partnership with Alberta Education, will begin summer 2023 and is focused on helping alleviate labour shortages. Updates to become available later in April 2023.

Resources

Contact

Connect with MELT and Licensing Standards:

  • Edmonton office

    Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
    Phone: 780-427-8230
    Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
    Email: [email protected]

    Address:
    MELT and Licensing Standards
    1st Floor, Twin Atria Building
    4999 98 Avenue
    Edmonton, Alberta  T6B 2X3

  • Calgary office

    Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
    Phone: 403-297-6679
    Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
    Email: [email protected]

    Address:
    MELT and Licensing Standards
    1st Floor, Willowglen Business Park
    803 Manning Road NE
    Calgary, Alberta  T2E 7M8