By Amanda Sotelo, TSTC Staff
Workforce Training and Continuing Education at Texas State Technical College is introducing a new course that will help the region and the state fill a need for endorsed bus drivers.
As early as next month, the School Bus Driver Endorsement course will begin and is already enrolling students.
“We’ve been working on bringing this program to life for a little over a year, and we’re excited to finally launch it,” said Juan Hernandez, TSTC Workforce Training and Continuing Education transportation project director.
Hernandez said there is a large demand for skilled drivers in the area. When local school districts got word about this program, they began calling and are already requesting the program’s graduates.
“There is a demand from McAllen to Brownsville, and we want to help fill that need,” said Hernandez.
The School Bus Driver Endorsement course is three weeks long and will prepare students for the exams they are required to take to receive a Class B license.
The first week of the course will cover everything from safety procedures and bus parts to brake systems. The last two weeks will be hands-on training that will include driving and maneuvering; motor, light, exterior and interior checks; and driving rules and regulations.
“By the end of the course, students will be knowledgeable and have the skills they need to pass their exams and get their license,” said Hernandez. “Upon successful completion, the graduates from this program will have a number of opportunities available to them across our region’s and state’s school districts.”
Not only will graduates from the course be able to drive a school bus, but they will also receive a passenger bus endorsement, meaning they could also work with companies such as Valley Metro and Greyhound, and drive heavy equipment like dump trucks.
The Professional Bus Driver Training course, which provides graduates with the endorsement needed to drive passenger buses, began more than a year ago and was formed through a partnership with TSTC’s Workforce Training and Continuing Education department and Valley Metro.
It will now be combined with the School Bus Driver Endorsement course to give students and employers options.
“This course is designed to give our community career options to grow, work and support their families, which in turn will help boost the local economy,” said Hernandez. “And this is right in line with TSTC’s mission of placing more Texans in high-paying jobs.”
Workforce Training and Continuing Education at TSTC is also recognized as a third-party examining site, meaning school bus driver, passenger bus driver and commercial driver’s license (CDL) students can take their exams on campus.
“Since becoming a third-party examining site, we have seen higher pass rates because there is no wait time to take an exam” said Hernandez.
TSTC’s current pass rate for the CDL and Professional Bus Driver Training course is 98%.
“We are excited to build this program and to see it grow,” said Hernandez. “We expect big things.”
For more information on the School Bus Driver Endorsement course or to register, call 956-364-4553.