Bus Driving

Helpful Information about Potential Bus Driving Jobs

  • An image of an ACI graduate, who obtained his Class B CDL, holding a brown package while standing in front of his white delivery truck.

    Jobs You Can Get With a Class B CDL

    When you’re looking to jump into the trucking industry, there are many decisions you need to make. The main decision is figuring out which class of CDL you need. Each CDL license enables you to drive different trucks - so how do you know which CDL is right for you? How do you know you want to pursue Class B CDL training, instead of a Class A?

    Well, let's discuss the two.

    In short, a Class A CDL covers the operation of vehicles with a gross vehicle rating of more than 26,000 lbs, and towing a trailer of 10,000 lbs. or more. A Class B CDL allows the driver to operate a vehicle towing a trailer of less than 10,000 lbs. Drivers with a Class A CDL do have a larger range of vehicles to drive, and with your Class A CDL, you are qualified to drive Class A, B, and C vehicles. Drivers holding a Class B CDL may only operate Class B and Class C rated vehicles.

    So, which license is for you?

    Jobs for those with a Class B CDL typically include driving “straight trucks,” which is a term for trucks in which the axels are attached to a single frame. By contrast, a semi-truck or tractor-trailer combination has axles attached to multiple frames. and requires a Class A CDL. Other Class B driving jobs include delivery driving, and jobs like driving dump trucks for landscaping and construction companies. With the assistance of endorsements, you can pursue other opportunities, like bus driving. With a Class B CDL, there are any number of jobs you can pursue. Driving smaller commercial vehicles and haulers can afford you many jobs, and just as with a Class A license, you can obtain endorsements that can give you additional opportunities in areas such as hazardous materials. At Advanced Career Institute, we offer two different Class B Training Programs to accommodate your scheduling needs and career goals. Our Class B program introduces students to the procedures and skills found in the driving industry while preparing students to obtain a Class B CDL with school or commercial bus certification and endorsements. Still not sure if getting your Class B is the way to go? Call and talk to one of our Admissions Representatives who can answer any questions you have, and help you determine the training program that is right for you. Give us a call at 1-877-649-9614, or simply fill out the request form you see at the top of this webpage. We are excited to help you figure out your enrollment options so you can get started on the road to your new driving career!
  • What You Should Study Before Your Permit Exam

    Maybe you didn’t anticipate taking your CDL exam this early? You at least thought you would get through commercial driver’s license training BEFORE you had to take the exam, right? But yes, before you take your CDL exam, you have to take your CDL Permit Exam, so that you can learn how to get a CDL. If that doesn’t seem to make sense to you, keep in mind that when you get your normal operator’s license, you also are required to get a learner’s permit. This doesn’t mean you are taking two exams. The CDL Permit Exam is quite a bit different, and is more like the normal test you took for your operator’s license. There is no driving portion of the CDL Permit Exam, which would naturally be silly considering at this point you could not legally drive a commercial vehicle anyway. Instead, the CDL Permit Exam covers driving questions pointed toward commercial driving topics. It is designed to be simpler and easier than the CDL exam itself, which is a comprehensive look at CDL driving. However, that doesn’t mean you should leap into the CDL Permit Exam without preparing for it. You certainly need to be ready to pass the Exam when you take it, and treating it as a gimme could be a big mistake for you. With that in mind, here are a few tips and suggestions for studying for the CDL Permit Exam to help ensure you don’t find your trucking career derailed by the introductory exam: Study the Commercial Driver’s License Manual: This is the best and most direct way you can study for the exam; questions come straight from this manual. You can get this online in most cases, or contact your state’s Department of Transportation to obtain a copy. Among the topics you will be tested on are:
    • Inspecting the vehicle
    • Driver communication
    • Gear shifting and other basic vehicle controls
    • Proper speed and spacing on the road
    • Anticipating road hazards and other dangers
    • Avoiding distracted driving
    • Avoiding driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol
    • Handling railroad crossings
    • Night driving
    • Dealing with weather conditions while driving
    • Having an emergency situation
    • Braking, skid control, and recovery
    • Following the proper procedures when there is an accident
    • Staying alert behind the wheel and driver fitness
      These are all important basic aspects of commercial driving, and as an “applicant” for a CDL (which is to say, you have expressed your desire to become a driver and want to pursue obtaining a CDL), you will need to know them. Be sure you read over the CDL manual several times, with a particular emphasis on this area. Next, you should consider taking a practice CDL Permit Test. That will give you a better understanding of what types of questions you will be asked, so that you are not blindsided by the way the CDL test questions and answers are structured. You can find sample CDL Permit tests online, although it is difficult to sometimes determine whether those tests are completely accurate. You should also contact the DoT in your state to determine if there are sanctioned practice exams available. Getting started down the road to taking your CDL test is a big part of your training regimen. Make sure you get off on the right foot and get started properly. Don’t allow yourself to fall behind at the very start!
  • Everything You Need to Know About the PSP

    You’ve probably already heard of the PSP, and how your score can affect your employability within the trucking industry. But just what is the pre-employment screening and how does it affect you? Does that fender-bender you had on that rain-slicked road when you were 17 mean that you can’t get a CDL? Does that speeding ticket, then the ticket for making an accidental illegal right turn on red at an intersection between 1 pm and 6 pm mean that trucking companies won’t touch you with a 10-foot pole? If you are really hoping to land some of those truck driving jobs, you need to be educated about the PSP, what it means for your trucking career (before it even starts) and what you can do to keep it under control. Here are some frequently asked questions about the PSP and how it affects you as a truck driver.
    • What is the PSP?
    The Pre-Employment Screening is a program that was established in 2010 by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), designed to give carriers, industry members, and others (i.e. drivers themselves) to review and examine the driving records of the people to whom they are considering extending employment offers.
    • What is in the PSP?
    PSP data includes the most recent five years of crash data and the most recent three years of roadside inspection data. This data is housed in the Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS), a database maintained by FMCSA.
    • Why is the PSP important to employers?
    Consider the PSP something akin to a background or reference check on you. For carriers, it’s a new way to check in on the people they are entrusting their expensive trucks and even more valuable cargo onto.
    • What does the PSP mean for me as I apply for trucking jobs?
    Obviously, carriers are looking for people with the best driving records, and will avoid job candidates with a history of a lot of accidents, negative encounters with the traffic cop, or both. Also, it may be a solid way for carriers to see how much it will cost to insure you. If you have a long history of traffic tickets/reckless driving citations, or have had 4 accidents in the past 5 years, you probably already know your insurance has gone up. That works the same for trucking companies.
    • Do all trucking companies use the PSP? Is it required?
    The PSP is a voluntary program for both drivers and carriers. Some companies may not have made the shift to include PSP data in their hiring process, but after 5 years of being easily available that may say more about whether you want to work for them than whether they will hire you. While it isn’t mandatory by law to submit to a PSP check, your employer may require it before hiring you.
    • How do carriers get access to my PSP? Can I block them from seeing it?
    Motor Carriers can get an account in order to be granted access to PSP’s data online. However, it is required for carriers to receive consent from any driver whose information they access. That means that indeed if you don’t want someone to see your PSP score, you can legally block them. However, if you are hoping to actually land employment with that company, it probably isn’t a good idea to deny them permission to access it.
    • Can I see my PSP?
    Of course! You can request a copy from the FMCSA’s PSP web portal, though there is a $10 fee, and you must have both your current, and any other driver’s license numbers you have had over the past 5 years. Alternatively, you may make a Privacy Act request to the FMCSA to receive a free copy, though it may take longer for you to receive. It is of course a good idea to review your PSP periodically to ensure it is accurate and current.
  • How to Stay Safe on the Road

    If you’re a trucking school student, you no doubt have already heard that safety is a truck driver’s best friend out on the road. There is no more important part of the job than the driver operating a big truck than operating the vehicle safely, and it is the truck driver’s first duty behind the wheel. The trucking community also has safety on the brain, and loves to offer little reminders to drivers on the road to stay safe, and what better time to begin absorbing that information and offering yourself reminders than as a trucking student? A video from the truck driving website Smart-Trucking.com outlines things a truck driver should do while driving. As a trucking student, this is key information, so drilling it into your head (figuratively, of course) is vital to your success.  

    1.   Look as far down the road as you can. Anticipate potential trouble by staying aware of what is going on up ahead. Big trucks stop more slowly than smaller cars and trucks, so you need a greater stopping distance, especially in severe weather. By looking ahead, you can see potential problems developing and prevent your involvement in an accident, and avoid making a bad situation infinitely worse.

    2.   Look for an escape route. Keep a lookout on either side of you at all times in case an accident, stalled vehicle, or some other hazard. If you need to get out of the way quickly, it’s better to know whether there are other vehicles on either side of you if you need to move quickly. Always be checking your sides, and know if a vehicle is bearing down on you. “That’s not to say you shouldn’t check it constantly, because you should,” the video’s host says, “but I like to keep an eye on it.”

    3.   Maintain a safety circle. Keep yourself in an open area whenever possible. Try to keep yourself separated from the pack and avoid nestling yourself in the middle of a group of vehicles. Of course, that can be difficult when cars swarm around you, which they tend to do, but do your best to stay out in the open.

    4.   Check your mirrors often. There are two reasons for this: first, to check traffic as it approaches. Second, to ensure there are no problems with your truck or trailer that is visible from the outside. If you, for instance, have a flat tire, you may see it from your mirrors, but may not notice a change in the way the truck is riding.

    Instructional and self-help videos like this are common around the Internet, particularly on sites like YouTube. They can provide a great supplement to truck driving students in their education, and can offer them one more way to learn and be exposed to the truck driving lifestyle while they are not physically in the cab or in a classroom. Do yourself a solid and track some down to watch on a regular basis.
  • The PSP Scores Employers Want from Job Candidates

    Do you know what the PSP is? If not, you may want to learn, because it can directly affect whether trucking companies will want to hire you. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has instituted the Pre-Employment Screening Program for all truck drivers going forward. The PSP offers employers a snapshot of your driving record to make a hiring determination. The PSP assigns points to safety violations a driver has made during his time as a driver. Speeding tickets, reckless driving convictions, or inspection failures will “ding” a driver, adding points to his PSP. On the other hand, good inspection results and a safe driving record will cancel out those points. The PSP contains a driver’s crash data from the past 5 years, and roadside inspection data from the past 3 years. New snapshots are uploaded approximately once a month, meaning you have the opportunity to have a continuous stream of new data. While the notion of weeding out the bad drivers and rewarding the good ones seems to be a natural fit for the trucking industry, it can be a negative for drivers who have had bad luck. Companies may fear hiring a driver with a high PSP score to not be worth the risk of hiring, meaning that if you have had a string of bad luck you may find yourself having difficulty finding a job. Meanwhile, the program seems to be a success early on. The FMCSA reports that companies using PSP to screen their new hires have seen crash rates drop 8 percent, and driver out-of-service rates dipping by 17 percent on average. New drivers especially will want to take note of their PSP score, particularly before they decide to change jobs. An accident or two, or a bad inspection or two, could derail your plans for advancement. Be sure you are especially diligent about your pre-trip inspection reports, and that you do your absolute best to avoid accidents. If you want to know more about the PSP and how it can affect your ability to get a job in the trucking industry, visit the FMCSA’s PSP website at this link.
  • What You Should Learn Before Becoming a Bus Driver

    Of all the careers you wouldn’t consider needing a training program for, bus driver is probably one of them. However, Fresno bus driver training is in fact a real thing, and it’s a training program that, if bus driving is an interest of yours, is something you should seriously consider before trying to land a job as a bus driver. Fresno bus driver training teaches the ins and outs of handling a large vehicle full of passengers, often navigating tight roadways, in heavy traffic, in urban environments with sharp turns and frequent stops. No matter what kind of bus you decide to drive: a school bus, a commercial bus or a city bus, you will definitely need some training. First of all, a commercial driver’s license (CDL) is required for all vehicles that transport more than 8 passengers (including the driver) for compensation. This means that if you are driving around more than 8 passengers and are being paid for it, you must possess a CDL. For many bus drivers, a Class B or C CDL is necessary. A Class C CDL authorizes you to operate any single vehicle (or combination of vehicles) that does not meet the definition of Class A or B, but is either designed to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) or is placarded for hazardous materials. Fresno bus driver training typically includes training necessary to receive a CDL in addition to lessons operating a large passenger bus. Bus driving is a unique experience no matter which type of bus you drive. For a school bus, keeping control of otherwise unsupervised children on their way to school can be a harrowing experience, especially when you are trying to obey traffic laws, safely get to the next stop, and avoid other hazards, whether it be children in the street running to the bus stop, parents, other vehicles, neighborhood pets, or navigating ice and snow in the winter. Still think it is not necessary to get Fresno bus driver training? Driving a city bus has its own dangers. Again, observing traffic laws is a must, but the hazards are different than driving a school bus but no more or less harrowing: pedestrians, vehicles driven by commuters who are often late for work and driving aggressively; bicycle messengers, delivery trucks and other large vehicles, plus making frequent turns in a large vehicle in the middle of a busy intersection. An ill-timed turn can hold up traffic for several minutes while the bus driver (that would be you) has to reorient the bus, using skills developed in Fresno bus driver training to right his particular ship and continue the route. Yes, and there’s the matter of staying on time on your route. Driving a commercial bus may involve a lot of highway driving, but the hazards on the expressway hold similar dangers, mostly in the way of aggressive drivers, traffic delays including accidents and construction work, taking questions from passengers, and loading and unloading their luggage. It can certainly be a test of your Fresno bus driver training to take any one of these jobs, or any others in this field. All of these job hazards are not meant to turn you away from bus driving as a career. Indeed for the right person driving a bus can be a fun, rewarding, even relaxing activity. The purpose of this is to remind you that Fresno bus driver training is a necessary part of this activity, and that bus driving takes specialized skills just like many other jobs do. It’s also important to keep in mind that possessing a CDL and taking Fresno bus driver training constitutes an additional acceptance of responsibility. Because of your Fresno bus driver training, you are stating that your experiences make you a more responsible driver. This means that repeated violations of traffic laws and citations means additional punishments and restrictions. Losing your license as a bus driver means you cannot work, and the state holds you to higher standards. Please study your Fresno bus driver training regulations hard and be sure you always comply with the law. Bus driving lets you see parts of your city and country you may not otherwise get to see; be sure you take the Fresno bus driver training program that will help ensure your career success.