What Skills and Qualities Do Bus Drivers Need?

Bus drivers hold, at a minimum, a commercial driver's license and generally a high school diploma: they complete courses in driver's safety and are in good physical shape. Bus drivers undergo several tests before receiving licenses, say experts at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. They complete some classroom education before receiving a commercial driver's license, or CDL, along with hands-on training driving buses in realistic settings.

The path to becoming a bus driver begins with taking training courses and getting a CDL. Training courses bear some resemblance to classes for ordinary drivers, but focus on skills and techniques for buses. Students begin with basic courses, eventually learning to drive buses in situations similar to their preferred driving routes. Students complete 1 to 3 months of training, and complete their hands-on education with classroom instruction. Class work includes learning traffic laws, driving safety and dealing with customers.

Upon completing courses, drivers receive a CDL, which they may supplement with endorsements. Drivers operating buses within states must be at least 18 years old, while those driving across state lines must be 21. In addition to the CDL, drivers undergo a physical examination before receiving clearance to drive. They must show good health and have no vision or hearing impairments. Bus drivers also show patience and courtesy, as they interact frequently with passengers.