How to Become a Bus Driver

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Bus Drivers deliver passengers to and from a variety of destinations, including work, school, shopping, and across state lines. Some bus drivers work for local transportation systems, while other drivers work for local schools. In some cases, bus drivers work for a travel company. All bus drivers must have a commercial driver's license in order to transport passengers.[1]


Flickr: Easternblot
Education High school diploma[1]
Starting pay $21,020[2]
Median pay $29,160[1]
10 yr growth Average[1]
Related professions Subway operator, delivery truck driver, railroad conductor, yardmaster, taxi driver[3]
Author Allison Hughes

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Bus Driver Job Overview

A bus driver takes passengers to pre-planned destinations. Drivers typically possess solid eye-hand-foot coordination and have solid depth perception.[4] Duties of a bus driver include:[5]

  • Checking the bus for maintenance issues
  • Following the bus route
  • Practicing safety procedures and obeying the traffic laws
  • Assisting disabled passengers as needed
  • Taking and picking up passengers

Bus Driver Education

Bus drivers do not need a college degree to get hired. However, they do need a high school diploma or a GED. In order to drive a bus, individuals must pass the necessary vision and hearing tests. They must also pass drug tests, and cannot have been convicted of a felony that is associated with driving in any way such as operating a vehicle under the influence.[6]

Bus Driver Training

Bus driver training takes place for one to three months and includes spending time on a driving course. Training involves practicing and executing bus maneuvers. Drivers eventually go along the actual routes, making scheduled stops with passengers. Some coursework may be involved as well, including learning about a specific employer's rules and state regulations. Future bus drivers may also learn about bus fares, schedules, and routes.[6]

Bus Driver License and Exams

All bus drivers must obtain a CDL license, or commercial driver's license, in order to drive a bus. Although each state has a different qualifying process, all states require some form of a driving and written test. In addition, all bus drivers must have a passenger endorsement, which includes additional testing, while all school bus drivers must have both a passenger and a school bus endorsement. Most states require bus drivers be at least 18, and some will not let a driver pass state lines unless they are at least 21.[6]

The cost of a license and fees for testing may vary by state. For example, New York State charges $164.50 for the actual license, and $180.50 for an eight-year renewal. The skills test required is $40.[4]

Becoming a Bus Driver

The job description of a bus driver, highlighting aspects of a typical work day

Also See: How to Become an Airline Pilot, How to Become an Auto Mechanic, How to Become an Airplane Mechanic, How to Become a Travel Agent


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