School bus drivers must have a commercial driver’s license, complete a training program, meet hearing and vision requirements, hold a high school diploma or the equivalent, and must have passenger and school endorsements, which both require additional knowledge and driving tests that a certified examiner administers. Some states require bus drivers to be at least 18 years of age or to be at least 21 years old if driving across state lines.
School bus drivers transport students between home and school, or between school and various destinations for school activities such as field trips. Some important qualities that bus drivers need to possess are good customer service skills, normal hand-eye coordination, good hearing and visual ability, patience and good physical health. Bus drivers must also subject themselves to random on-the-job drug and alcohol testing, in addition to maintaining a good driving record.
As of 2011, the biggest employer of school bus drivers were school boards, which employed about 224,290 drivers making an average of $13.63 per hour, followed by bus companies that served the school boards, which employed about 152,170 drivers, averaging slightly more at $14.79 per hour. Nationwide, the top 10 percent of school bus drivers made $43,640 per year while the lowest 10 percent made $17,590 or less. Job growth for all types of bus drivers is projected to grow 9 percent through to 2022. The outlook for school bus drivers is considered good as many drivers leave the profession, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.