Is becoming a bus driver right for me?

The first step to choosing a career is to make sure you are actually willing to commit to pursuing the career. You don’t want to waste your time doing something you don’t want to do. If you’re new here, you should read about:

What do bus drivers do?
Career Satisfaction
Are bus drivers happy with their careers?
What are bus drivers like?

Still unsure if becoming a bus driver is the right career path? to find out if this career is right for you. Perhaps you are well-suited to become a bus driver or another similar career!

Described by our users as being “shockingly accurate”, you might discover careers you haven’t thought of before.

How to become a Bus Driver

Specific requirements and procedures can vary by state and employer, so it's important to research and comply with the regulations and guidelines relevant to your location and desired employment.

Follow these general steps to become a bus driver:

  • Meet Basic Requirements: Ensure you meet the basic requirements set by federal and state regulations. These typically include being at least 18 or 21 years old (depending on the type of bus), possessing a valid driver's license, having a clean driving record, and passing a background check.
  • Obtain a Commercial Driver's License (CDL): A CDL is required to operate a bus. Contact your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or licensing agency to learn about the specific CDL requirements in your state. Consider enrolling in a CDL training program to gain the necessary knowledge and skills. These programs are offered by vocational schools, community colleges, or private training centers. They provide classroom instruction and hands-on training to prepare you for the CDL exams. There are also online resources available that provide training materials and practice exams to help prepare for the written portion of the CDL exams. These resources can be helpful for reviewing and reinforcing knowledge of driving rules, regulations, and specific bus-related topics.
  • Employer-Sponsored Training: Some transportation companies, such as school districts, public transit agencies, or private bus companies, provide their own training programs for newly hired bus drivers. These programs familiarize drivers with the company's specific policies, procedures, and safety protocols. They often include a combination of classroom instruction, on-the-job training, and supervised driving practice to ensure drivers are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to perform their duties effectively.
  • State-Approved Training Courses: In some states, bus driver training is regulated by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or other governing bodies. These states may require aspiring bus drivers to complete state-approved training courses as a prerequisite for obtaining a CDL with a passenger endorsement. These courses cover topics such as defensive driving, passenger safety, emergency procedures, and specific state regulations.
  • Obtain Passenger Endorsement: In addition to the CDL, you will need to obtain a passenger endorsement. This endorsement demonstrates your ability to safely transport passengers. It typically involves an additional written test that covers topics such as passenger safety, loading and unloading procedures, and emergency protocols.
  • Gain Experience: Seek opportunities to gain driving experience, preferably with larger vehicles. Consider working as a delivery driver, shuttle driver, or in a similar role to familiarize yourself with handling larger vehicles and dealing with traffic and road conditions.
  • Apply for Bus Driver Positions: Once you have obtained your CDL with the necessary endorsements and have gained some driving experience, start applying for bus driver positions. Check with local transportation companies, school districts, government agencies, or private bus companies for job openings. Submit your application, resume, and any required documentation.
  • Complete Employer-Specific Training: If hired, you will likely undergo training provided by your employer. This may include familiarization with the specific bus models, company policies and procedures, passenger handling techniques, and defensive driving practices. You may also receive training on handling emergencies, first aid, and customer service.
  • Maintain a Good Driving Record: As a bus driver, it is essential to maintain a clean driving record. Follow traffic laws, practice safe driving habits, and prioritize passenger safety at all times. Adhere to your employer's policies regarding alcohol and drug use and comply with mandatory drug and alcohol testing requirements.