How to Become a Bus Driver: Your Guide to Starting a Career Behind the Wheel

    how to be a bus driver

    Are you thinking about becoming a bus driver? For people who like driving and talking to people, becoming a bus driver can be a fulfilling job. Bus drivers play a vital role in safely transporting passengers to their destinations, following set routes and schedules, and ensuring passenger safety. If you’re considering a career as a bus driver, get the information you need to get started, including the requirements, training, and application process.

    What does a bus driver do?

    Bus drivers are essential because they make sure that people get where they need to go safely by following traffic laws, routes, and plans. They ensure passenger safety, maintain cleanliness, and organize the bus. In the United States, bus drivers typically earn between $35,000 and $45,000 annually, depending on location, experience, and the type of bus they drive.

    Bus driving is rewarding due to its crucial role in community transport. It helps drivers develop strong interpersonal skills through passenger interactions and requires them to stay focused while driving. The job provides satisfaction by safely helping people reach their destinations, making it a fulfilling career for those who enjoy driving and serving the community.

    Bus Driver Requirements

    To be a bus driver, you need to meet certain requirements. These requirements may vary depending on the type of bus you want to drive, but here are the general requirements:

    • Age Requirement: To become a bus driver, you typically must be at least 18 years old, although some positions may require you to be older. It’s crucial to check the specific requirements of the job you’re interested in to ensure you meet the age criteria.
    • Driver’s License: Obtaining a valid driver’s license from the state in which you intend to work is a requirement for working as a bus driver. Depending on the type of bus you want to drive, such as city buses, you may also need to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) with a passenger endorsement.
    • Driving Record: To become a bus driver, you usually need to have a clean driving record. This means there are no serious traffic violations or DUIs. Employers frequently conduct background checks to see what kind of driving record they have.
    • Physical Fitness: Bus drivers must meet certain physical fitness requirements to perform their duties effectively. This includes being able to sit for long periods and assist passengers with disabilities if needed.
    • Education: A high school diploma or GED is usually the least amount of education needed to become a bus driver, but some companies may want to hire people with more education or training. This could include classes on how to drive defensively or keep passengers safe.

    The time it takes to become a bus driver can vary. It typically involves obtaining a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) and completing any required training programs. It can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months for this process to finish, based on the person’s situation and the needs of the job.

    How to Become a City Bus Driver

    If you’re interested in becoming a city bus driver, here’s an overview of the process:

    • Obtain a CDL: To become a city bus driver, you’ll need a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) with a passenger endorsement. This involves passing written and skills tests to show you can safely drive a bus.
    • Training: Many cities require bus driver training covering defensive driving, passenger safety, and route knowledge. This training is crucial for preparing you to drive a bus and keep passengers safe.
    • Apply for Jobs: Once you have your CDL and training, start applying for city bus driver positions. Review job requirements carefully and submit a detailed application to improve your chances.
    • Interview: If selected, you’ll interview for the bus driver position. Be ready to discuss your driving experience and ability to follow traffic laws and interact with passengers.
    • Background Check: Before starting work, you’ll likely undergo a background check. This checks your driving and criminal records to ensure you meet the job’s qualifications. Passing is necessary to become a city bus driver.

    Obtaining Commercial Driver’s License

    Obtaining a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) involves several steps, including meeting eligibility requirements, studying for and passing written exams, obtaining a learner’s permit, and passing a skills test. Here’s a general overview of the process:

    • Check Eligibility: You must be at least 18 years old (21 for interstate commerce), have a current driver’s license, and meet medical requirements to get a CDL.
    • Study for the CDL Exam: Read the CDL guide for your state. The manual tells you everything you need to know to pass the written tests. It covers general knowledge, air brakes (if you need them), and any licenses you might need.
    • Take the Written Exams: Schedule an appointment at your local DMV or testing center to take the written exams. You’ll need to pass the general knowledge exam and any endorsement exams required for the type of vehicle you plan to drive (e.g., passenger, school bus, tanker).
    • Obtain a CDL Learner’s Permit: A CDL learner’s permit will be given to you once you’ve passed the written tests. With this permit, you can practice driving a commercial vehicle under the supervision of someone who has a CDL.
    • Practice Driving: Practice driving a commercial vehicle for a while, especially if you’re not used to driving big cars. To get useful practice and get ready for the skills test, you might want to sign up for a CDL training program.
    • Schedule and Pass the Skills Test: Set up a skills test with your local DMV or testing center when you’re ready. The skills test includes an inspection before the trip, basic maneuvers for controlling the car, and a driving test on the road. To get your full CDL, you must pass all parts of the skills test.
    • Complete Additional Requirements (if applicable): Depending on the type of CDL you want and the state where you live, you may need to do extra things like a background check or more training.
    • Receive Your CDL: Your CDL will be given to you after you’ve passed all the tests and met all the requirements. After that, you can start looking for jobs that need a business driver’s license.

    It’s important to note that the process for obtaining a CDL can vary by state, so be sure to check with your local DMV or licensing agency for specific requirements and procedures in your area.

    Required Training To Become a City Bus Driver

    To become a bus driver, you may need to undergo several types of training to ensure you are prepared for the responsibilities of the job. These trainings may include the bus driver requirements mentioned above:

    • CDL Training: If you need a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) for bus driving, you’ll undergo training covering how to safely operate a commercial vehicle and pass the CDL skills test.
    • Defensive Driving Training: This training shows bus drivers how to spot and avoid possible road hazards, keeping both passengers and drivers safe.
    • Passenger Safety Training: Bus drivers learn how to safely manage passengers, including those with disabilities, and enforce safety regulations on the bus.
    • Route Familiarization: Drivers get training on their assigned routes, including practice driving them and learning about stops and landmarks.
    • Emergency Procedures Training: Drivers are trained to handle emergencies like accidents or medical crises, ensuring they can safely evacuate passengers and coordinate with emergency services.
    • Customer Service Training: Since drivers interact with passengers, they receive training in customer service to handle various situations and ensure a positive experience.
    • Vehicle Maintenance Training: Some drivers may receive basic vehicle maintenance training to perform tasks like checking fluids and conducting routine inspections.

    The specific training you will need to undergo may vary depending on the type of bus you will be driving and the requirements of your employer. It’s important to complete all required training to ensure that you are well-prepared for your role as a bus driver.

    Start Your Journey Becoming a Bus Driver!

    A job as a bus driver can be satisfying for people who like driving and talking to people. By meeting the requirements, obtaining the required licenses and training, and applying for jobs, you can start your journey toward becoming a bus driver. Being a bus driver could be a great job for you if you love driving and want to help people.