Bus driver essential career information:
- 2012 median pay: $36,600
- 2012, number of jobs: 162,840
- Employment growth forecast, 2010-2020: 13 percent
- Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
Bus drivers; what they do:
Travelling via a bus anywhere within cities and towns around the U.S. requires the skill, safety and dedication of bus drivers. Bus drivers pick up and deliver individuals and groups between different places such as school and work settings and sometimes they cross state lines. Bus drivers travel a range of routes from local town and city routes to chartered tours. In addition, they drive different types and sizes of vehicles and motor coaches, from 15-passenger to 100-passenger buses.
There are many different types of bus drivers including:
- Local transit drivers: They follow a daily schedule while driving passengers on regular routes along city or suburban streets.
- Intercity bus drivers: They drive people between towns or cities.
- Motor coach drivers: They drive people on special chartered buses or sightseeing tours.
- School bus drivers: They take students to and from school or school related activities.
Bus driver careers include picking up and dropping off passengers at specific locations and following regular routes on a time schedule. Bus driver careers also include checking all mechanical features such as tires, oil and lights and assisting disabled passengers.
Bus drivers have to obey all state and federal transit requirements and traffic laws, follow all passenger safety procedures and inform passengers of any mechanical or other delays.
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Bus drivers job titles:
- Local Transit Bus Driver
- Intercity Bus Driver
- Motor Coach Driver
- School Bus Driver
- Charter Coach Driver
- Bus Operator
Bus Drivers Education, Certification and License Requirements
People interested in a bus driver career, typically need a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and training and they have to meet hearing and vision test standards. Training consists of one to three months practicing bus maneuvers and light traffic driving that leads to practice runs on specific routes. Experienced bus drivers accompany the new trainees and provide performance evaluations.
Bus drivers need to pass a written test and a driving test to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Bus drivers may also need special endorsements to drive a school or passenger bus. People need to pass knowledge and driving tests to obtain a school (S) endorsement or a passenger (P) endorsement. Bus drivers also have to pass random drug and alcohol tests during their bus driver career.
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Career Advancement Opportunities
Bus drivers have limited career advancement opportunities; however, an experienced bus driver can become a driving instructor, dispatcher or supervisor.
Bus Drivers Job Outlook
Forecast: 13 percent employment growth for bus drivers from 2010 to 2020, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Intercity bus travel increases the demand for bus drivers.
The popular bus rapid transit (BRT) may increase the demand for bus drivers. BRT is less expensive and has relatively fewer stops than the average bus service, making it more accessible than light rail.
The increasing number of school age children increases the demand for school bus drivers. However, because of school budget cuts, sometimes computer programs instead of bus drivers figure out more efficient routes, thus limiting bus driver jobs.
Bus Drivers Salary
- 2012 median annual wage: $36,600
- 2012 workers at the 75th percentile annual wage: $48,720
- 2012, workers at the 25th percentile annual wage: $27,070
Bus Drivers Major Employers
- Local government agencies
- Urban transit systems
- Ground and transit passenger transportation services
- Charter bus industry