CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) - Driving a school bus is second nature for Shawnda Smart. She's been driving for 20 years.
"Seeing the children's faces in the morning and having them come back excited to tell you about their day, it's a rewarding job," said Smart.
But before the perks, comes the training with very specific steps.
A background check is needed first, which is a requirement for all Calcasieu Parish School Board employees.
Next, potential drivers will take 44 hours of classroom instruction.
A general knowledge test must also be taken at the DMV in order for a learners permit to be issued.
After that, it's time to hop on the bus for 60 hours of training, which Smart said truly prepared her for a route of her own.
"You have so much going on and so much to watch," said Smart. "You have 60 kids behind you to look at, you have to look in front of you, and to the sides."
Lastly, it's a skills test. If passed, the DMV will issue an official license.
And school board officials said all these steps are to ensure the children's safety.
"We only have four priorities," said Director of Transportation for Calcasieu Parish School Board, Andy Ardoin. "Our students and their safety is first, our schools are second, our systems third, and our employees fourth."
And with safety in mind first, Smart said she cares for every kid that steps on her bus.
"We carry the most precious cargo there is to carry and my kids on my bus are like my own," said Smart.
Even though substitute bus drivers are part time, they receive full benefits.
Potential new bus drivers must also pass a drug test and physical exam. They must also be 21-years-old.
The next substitute driver classes begin February 3rd and March 10th.
For more information on how to sign up, click here.