Passenger vs. School Bus Endorsements
While the endorsements for carrying passengers versus driving a school bus seem very similar, the FMCSA notes specific distinctions for each.
Passenger “P” endorsements are required to drive passenger vehicles that can carry at least 16 passengers (to include the driver). You must know how to load/unload your passengers, respond to emergencies, handle troublesome passengers, and other tasks specific to carrying passengers of all ages.
School Bus Endorsement
To earn a school bus “S” endorsement, you must FIRST qualify for a passenger “P” endorsement. This means you must pass the “P” endorsement test prior to taking the “S” endorsement test.
A school bus endorsement requires you to be able to load and unload children, properly operate the lights, stop signs, and other warning devices on the school bus, and other needs specific to transporting children on a pre-determined bus route to and from their homes and their school.