School Bus Driver Job Description
School bus drivers transport children to and from school. They normally take the same routes and pick up the same children each day.
Parents put a lot of trust in school bus drivers when they send their children to school each day. In turn, bus drivers take their jobs very seriously, and follow very strict safety rules to ensure the safety of all children on the bus.
School bus drivers have to be extremely attentive to traffic and road conditions, while maintaining a tight schedule. Each day, they have to inspect their vehicle’s brakes, tires, windshield wipers, lights, and other components that are necessary for the safe operation of the bus.
To ensure the safety of the children on the bus, school bus drivers have to enforce rules of conduct and provide emergency first aid when needed. They also have to spend part of time each day maintaining logs that detail the amount of fuel used, how many students were transported, and how many miles were driven.
Work Environment and Schedule
Most school bus drivers work part time schedules, and rarely exceed 20 hours per week on the job. Bus drivers who work in rural areas may work longer hours, because the commute to and from school can be long compared to the routes in urban areas.
Some school bus drivers pick up extra hours by driving students to field trips, sporting events, or other activities that occur outside of their regular working hours.
This can be a stressful occupation from time to time, particularly when road conditions are dangerous or when children or disruptive (and of course, it’s even worse when children are disruptive *while* you’re driving on icy roads). Because they often work with young children, bus drivers have to demonstrate a great deal of patience.
Most school bus drivers have an early start to the day. Some bus drivers have to pick up students as early as 6:00 in the morning, but the hours vary depending on the school district and the route that the bus drivers have to run. Generally, bus drivers are able to wrap up their day by 5:00.
Because they have some time off between drop off and pick up times, some school bus drivers work a second job in between.
Bus drivers only work when school is session, so they normally have summers off.
How to Become a School Bus Driver
To become a school bus driver, you will need to have a high school diploma and a clean driving record. Additionally, you will need to pass background checks, drug and alcohol screenings, and physical examinations.
The federal government requires that all school bus drivers hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL). To get a CDL, you will have to pass written exams and driving tests. Additionally, you will have to earn a passenger endorsement (P) and a school bus endorsement (S). To get these endorsements, you will have to take some additional training and successfully pass exams. Your state’s licensing agency can tell you the exact requirements for these endorsements where you live.
Most new hires go through a training period that lasts between 1 and three months. Training consists of driving courses, as well as time in the classroom. During the training process, bus drivers learn about laws that govern their profession, safe driving practices, how to administer first aid, and how to safely operate a school bus.
Most states require bus drivers to be at least 18 years old.
There are currently 460,900 school bus drivers in the United States, with 14,450 new school bus driver job openings created each year.
School Bus Driver jobs are not expected to see much growth beyond their current levels in the next decade.
School Bus Driver Salaries
School Bus Driver salaries can vary depending on your experience, the location, company, industry, and benefits provided. Nationwide, most school bus drivers make between $21,000 – $35,800 per year, or $10.10 – $17.19 per hour.