You may think you know how to drive. But there are some things about driving
a bus that you can only learn by doing.
You'll need to know how to calm down an angry commuter who's late for a
big appointment. You may have to deal with reckless hooligans causing trouble
in the back of your bus.
And every city and state has different streets, traffic rules, signage
systems and license requirements.
Bus drivers get most of their training on the job, with a few preparatory
classroom sessions. Students typically get training through a private company
or through government.
You'll need a special driver's license. The department of transportation
in your state issues these. It's just like a usual driver's license, except
you'll be qualified to drive buses and trucks as well as a car.
Bus driver training prepares students to become city transit, motorcoach
or school bus drivers. Each type has its own on-the-job training requirements.
You should know which one you're interested in.
Getting your ticket (that's street talk for getting your bus driver's license)
usually involves learning about air brake systems, defensive driving and
first aid. Most programs also stress excellent communication skills.
At the end of your training, you may have to take a government road test
to get the appropriate license. Fees for special licensing vary. If you're
training on the job, your employer may cover this fee.
To be accepted into a bus driver training program, you'll need to prove
that you're a responsible driver and meet the minimum age requirement
for licensing. Most cities and transit companies won't consider a driver younger
Most schools and companies also require a high school diploma.
Bus driver training programs are not long. You can often take the
courses while you hold down another job.
In the classroom, bus driver trainees review street signs, the rules
of the road and discuss special driving situations with an instructor.
They also learn about air brake systems, customer service and the city's fare
At the end of the classroom section, it's time to hit the road. You'll
practice backing up, parking and driving through tight courses. You'll know
all about the brakes, lights, doors, steps and everything else.
High school students could benefit from taking courses in automotive
Any extracurricular activities that help your time management skills are
helpful. And any summer job that stresses customer service or involves driving
can also help.
Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Bus
National Association for Pupil Transportation
Database of opportunities for school bus drivers
Be warned about the occupational hazards of bus driving