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School Bus Driver Job Description, Career as a School Bus Driver, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training License

Salary Median—$11.18 per hour

Employment Outlook Good

Definition and Nature of the Work

School bus drivers transport students to and from school and related events. In the morning, they pick students up at designated locations, such as private homes or street corners, and drop them off at school. In the afternoon, they drive back to the school, wait for students to board, and drive them back to the same designated locations. Drivers usually take the same routes every day.

Drivers also transport students and faculty on field trips and to extracurricular performances or sporting events. These trips may take place on weekends or at night.

Because the physical safety of students is paramount, drivers must be trustworthy and reliable and have excellent driving records. They must be alert in heavy traffic or bad weather and exercise great caution when children are getting on or off the bus. In some instances, they may have to maintain order and discipline unruly students, so they must know the school system's rules for student conduct. Sometimes they must prevent unauthorized persons from getting on their buses.

Education and Training Requirements

School bus drivers should have high school diplomas or the equivalent and good driving records. They must pass physical examinations, drug and alcohol screenings, and criminal background checks.

By federal regulation, school bus drivers are required to hold commercial driver's licenses, which require written exams and driving tests. They must also get "special endorsements" for their licenses, which require written exams and skills tests on the type of bus they will drive.

Drivers also receive one to four weeks of classroom training and driving instruction. Classroom work covers safe-driving practices; first aid; emergency procedures; state and local laws and regulations; school district policies; driver-student relations; and the special needs of disabled and emotionally troubled students.

Getting the Job

Job seekers can apply directly to school districts; openings are usually listed on their Web sites. Some school districts hire companies to drive school buses, so job seekers can apply directly to those businesses. Newspaper classified ads and Internet job sites may provide employment leads.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

Experienced school bus drivers can apply for preferable routes or supervisory positions. Others become drivers for the public transportation system or for charter bus companies.

Employment of school bus drivers is expected to increase as fast as the average for all jobs through 2014. Growing suburban areas, in particular, need dependable drivers.

Working Conditions

Drivers work part time—many are on the road fewer than twenty hours per week—and only when school is in session. Some volunteer to drive buses for field trips or extracurricular activities so they can work more hours.

Driving can be stressful in bad weather or heavy traffic. While they may have to deal with unruly students at times, most drivers enjoy the interaction with children and take their responsibilities very seriously.

Earnings and Benefits

In 2004 the median wage for school bus drivers was $11.18 per hour. Experienced drivers earned more than $16.81 per hour.

Where to Go for More Information

National Association for Pupil Transportation
1840 Western Ave.
Albany, NY 12203
(800) 989-6278

National School Transportation Association
113 S. West St.
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 684-3200

Benefits vary by school district, but most receive health insurance, paid sick days, and retirement plans. They do not get vacation pay during the summer months when they are not working.

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesTransportation & Logistics