Everything About A School Bus Driver Career

You consider becoming a school bus driver but are still not sure whether this job would be the right way to go for you or not?

Great! Stick with me since I will show you everything you need to know about being a school bus driver in the following chapters.

Not only will you learn how much you can make as a school bus driver, but we will also talk a lot about job satisfaction, future outlook, educational requirements, duties, responsibilities, work-life balance and much more.

After reading this article, you will have a much better idea of what working as a school bus driver looks like and whether you still want to aspire to such a career or rather want to go for different job opportunities instead.

Without further ado, let’s get right into it!

Table of Contents

What does a School Bus Driver do?

School bus drivers bring kids to and collect kids from school so that they can get to school and back home in a safe manner and their parents don’t have to pick them up themselves.

Thus, school bus drivers do an important job for society and you should be a reliable and trustworthy person and also willing to take on high levels of responsibility before you decide on working in this field.

Responsibilities & Duties of a School Bus Driver

  • Picking kids up at their homes and bringing them to school
  • Picking kids up from school and bringing them to their homes
  • Cleaning the school bus
  • Obeying traffic laws
  • Complying with laws, rules and regulations related to school bus transport
  • Ensuring the safety of the bus
  • Making sure that safety standards inside school buses are met
  • Checking permissions for kids who claim to go home with their friends
  • Calm kids down in case they are cheeky and don’t listen

What a Typical Day of a School Bus Driver looks like?

School bus drivers get to work in the early morning and pick up kids from their homes so that they can bring them to school.

After arriving at school, kids leave the bus and enter their classrooms while you as a school bus driver will have some leisure and will also have time to clean and assure proper maintenance of the school bus.

You can also use this time to think about games you can play inside the bus to entertain school kids so that they don’t get bored and do stupid things.

During lunchtime or in the early afternoon you will pick up kids from school and bring them back to their homes.

After dropping off the last kid, your workday will be over and you will therefore come home from work relatively early most of the time.

School Bus Driver Salary 2022

School Bus Driver salary brackets 2022

Salary BracketsSalary (per year)Salary (per hour)
Top 10 %> $67,000> $33.41
Top 25 %$51,000 – $57,000$25.47 – $28.45
Bottom 25 %$29,000 – $35,000$14.46 – $17.48
Bottom 10 %$21,000 – $24,000$10.42 – $11.93
Range$21,000 – $72,000$10.42 – $35.97
Average (Mean)$41,000$20.43
Median$39,000$19.46

School Bus Driver salary 2022 by expert level

Level of ExperienceSalary (per year)Salary (per hour)
Entry level$21,000 – $34,000$10.42 – $16.94
Junior$32,000 – $38,000$15.97 – $18.89
Professional$37,000 – $44,000$18.43 – $21.88
Senior Professional$43,000 – $57,000$21.39 – $28.47
Expert$55,000 – $64,000$27.42 – $31.93
Top Expert$62,000 – $72,000$30.95 – $35.97

School Bus Driver salary by state 2022 (average)

StateSalary (per year)Salary (per hour)
Alabama$38,700$19.33
Alaska$40,100$20.04
Arizona$42,600$21.28
Arkansas$35,900$17.92
California$48,300$24.13
Colorado$36,800$18.37
Connecticut$38,200$19.09
Delaware$37,500$18.73
District of Columbia$41,800$20.89
Florida$40,600$20.28
Georgia$38,200$19.07
Guam$37,900$18.94
Hawaii$42,700$21.32
Idaho$36,300$18.13
Illinois$37,400$18.67
Indiana$39,800$19.88
Iowa$36,500$18.23
Kansas$34,900$17.42
Kentucky$35,200$17.58
Louisiana$38,100$19.04
Maine$41,500$20.73
Maryland$43,700$21.84
Massachusetts$42,900$21.42
Michigan$37,100$18.53
Minnesota$38,300$19.14
Mississippi$36,400$18.19
Missouri$35,100$17.53
Montana$37,800$18.89
Nebraska$39,300$19.63
Nevada$36,800$18.37
New Hampshire$42,700$21.34
New Jersey$44,100$22.03
New Mexico$37,800$18.89
New York$49,300$24.63
North Carolina$38,100$19.02
North Dakota$36,500$18.24
Ohio$38,200$19.09
Oklahoma$39,300$19.63
Oregon$37,500$18.72
Pennsylvania$44,800$22.37
Rhode Island$41,700$20.84
South Carolina$39,300$19.62
South Dakota$37,600$18.78
Tennessee$38,800$19.37
Texas$37,200$18.58
Utah$38,300$19.13
Vermont$40,600$20.27
Virginia$42,100$21.04
Washington$46,500$23.23
West Virginia$41,700$20.84
Wisconsin$39,200$19.59
Wyoming$38,100$19.03

Job Security of School Bus Drivers

School bus drivers don’t have high job security since they are replaceable pretty easily and almost everyone can work in this field.

Thus, competition is pretty fierce and you will always have to fear losing your job and will also have a hard time planning your financial future in a proper manner.

Future Outlook of School Bus Drivers

Due to self-driving vehicles, many jobs in the public transport industry will be lost in the near future.

This might also be true for school bus drivers and once intelligent machines and vehicles take over, many school bus drivers will lose their jobs and the future outlook for school bus drivers is relatively poor.

Working Hours of School Bus Drivers

School bus drivers usually start their workday between 6 and 7 a.m. and finish their workday between 3 and 5 p.m.

Thus, you will come home from work relatively early and will have enough time to spend with your family or on your favorite hobbies.

Job Satisfaction of School Bus Drivers

Many school bus drivers are not really happy with what they are doing for a living since they are not able to make good money from their jobs and also have pretty low job security and always have to worry about getting unemployed in the near future.

Promotion Opportunities of School Bus Drivers

Promotion opportunities for school bus drivers are pretty limited.

Once you work in this field, you will do the same things over and over again without getting promoted for many years or even decades.

Career Levels of School Bus Drivers

  • Junior school bus driver
  • Senior school bus driver
  • Manager of a school bus driver company
  • Owner of a school bus driver firm

Fields and Types of School Bus Drivers

  • School bus drivers specialized in urban areas
  • School bus drivers focused on rural areas
  • School bus drivers playing educational games with kids during the journey
  • School bus drivers working for private companies
  • School bus drivers working for public institutions
  • School bus drivers working for parent’s initiatives

Educational Requirements for School Bus Drivers

School bus drivers don’t need any fancy education to be able to work in this field.

Thus, almost everyone can become a school bus driver and as long as you have a clean record, you will have decent chances of finding a job in this industry sooner or later.

How to become a School Bus Driver

  1. Inform yourself about the advantages and disadvantages of being a school bus driver
  2. Make sure that working as a school bus driver fits your personal preferences
  3. Work as an intern in the childcare industry
  4. Stay in touch with your colleagues
  5. Finish high school with decent grades
  6. Get some driving experience
  7. Apply for jobs as a school bus driver
  8. Master the job interview
  9. Sign your labor contract

Character Traits you need as a School Bus Driver

  • Ability to deal with difficult kids in an emotionally healthy manner
  • You should be good at dealing with snarky comments
  • Patience helps you overcome difficult periods of your school bus driver career
  • You should have a strong mindset
  • Willingness to deal with difficult parents
  • Passion for bringing kids from A to B in a safe manner
  • You should be reliable
  • You should be trustworthy
  • Ability to handle kids well in general
  • You should be friendly so that kids feel comfortable in your presence
  • You should be a good listener

School Bus Driver Skills

Hard Skills for School Bus Drivers

  • Good driving skills
  • You should know how to handle kids in a proper manner
  • You should be able to maintain your vehicle
  • Problem-solving skills help as well
  • You should be able to provide some level of education to make your rides interesting for kids
  • Knowledge of hygienic requirements you have to meet
  • Knowledge of safety procedures related to operating a school bus
  • Digital skills help you promote your business
  • Math skills help you run your school bus company in a profitable manner

Soft Skills for School Bus Drivers

  • Good communication skills help you gain the trust of parents, teachers and other interest groups
  • Patience helps you deal with school kids who have a bad day
  • Persistence helps you stay in this business in the long run
  • Good people skills help you calm down pupils
  • Ability to stay calm during tense situations
  • You should be open to critical feedback from kids
  • Ability to deal with insulting comments in a healthy manner
  • You should not get discouraged by drawbacks
  • Willingness to work in a low-wage environment

Exit Options for School Bus Drivers

School bus drivers have rather poor exit options since they are pretty specialized and don’t learn many skills apart from driving.

Thus, while you could also work as a normal bus driver or taxi driver and may also be able to work in childcare, you will have a hard time switching to a completely different field.

School Bus Driver – Similar Careers

School Bus Driver Career FAQs

Is working as a school bus driver physically demanding?

Being a school bus driver is not physically demanding since you will just drive a school bus and will not have to work with your hands in a heavy physical manner compared to plumbers or carpenters who often have to stress their bodies at work quite a lot.

Is working as a school bus driver mentally demanding?

Being a school bus driver is also not heavily mentally demanding.

Even though you will have to focus on traffic to avoid accidents, you will still develop a certain routine pretty soon and will not have to stress your brain as much as engineers or other people who work on complex problems all day long.

Is it dangerous to work as a school bus driver?

Being a school bus driver can be risky since you will spend many hours in traffic each day and you will therefore have a much higher risk of getting involved in traffic accidents compared to the average person out there.

However, you will still not be at the same great risk as police officers who have to worry about losing their lives on a daily basis.

How long do school bus drivers stay in their jobs?

School bus drivers stay in their jobs for many years or even decades since they are often pretty specialized and have a hard time finding a job in a different field and get trapped in the bus driving business for quite a long time.

Is it easy for school bus drivers to find a new job?

Due to self-driving vehicles and other technological advancements, the demand for school bus drivers will likely drop in the near future and many jobs will be lost in this industry.

Consequently, school bus drivers may also have a pretty hard time finding a new job.

Is it hard to switch from being a school bus driver to another field of work?

It is pretty hard for school bus drivers to find a job in a different field since they are often pretty specialized and apart from driving a bus, they don’t learn many other skills needed in the job market right now.

Do school bus drivers have a high social status?

School bus drivers have a pretty low social status.

Even though they do an important job for society, they are still often belittled and if you really want to be admired for what you are doing for a living, you should become a judge or doctor instead of becoming a school bus driver.

Can you help out your family and friends as a school bus driver?

While you will do an important job for society, you will not be able to help out your loved ones that much since you will not learn many valuable skills.

Thus, while financial analysts can advise their family and friends on how to invest money properly and roofers can fix roofs and other things around the home, school bus drivers can’t do any of those things and are therefore not able to provide lots of value to their loved ones.

Can school bus drivers work remotely?

School bus drivers are not able to work remotely since they have to pick up and bring kids back from school in person.

Thus, while financial controllers and many other people who work in office jobs are able to work from home quite often, you as a school bus driver will not enjoy this luxury and will be far less flexible when it comes to managing your private and professional life at the same time.

Is it easy to find a partner as a school bus driver?

Since school bus drivers have a rather low social status and also don’t make good money while they have to fear losing their jobs on a regular basis, they are not considered good providers and may have a hard time in the dating market when it comes to finding someone for a long-term relationship.

Do school bus drivers have to work on weekends?

School bus drivers don’t have to work on weekends since schools are closed during this time and you as a school bus driver will have nothing to do and will rather be able to spend your weekends with your family or on your hobbies.

Do school bus drivers have to work on holidays?

Since kids also don’t go to school on holidays, you as a school bus driver also don’t have to work during those days and can rather use them to spend with your favorite people.

Do school bus drivers have to work at nighttime?

School bus drivers don’t have to work at nighttime.

Instead, you will start your workday relatively early but you will also come home from work relatively early in the afternoon or the early evening and will therefore have a pretty related time in this regard while waiters and train drivers often have to work at nighttime and don’t have enough time to spend with their loved ones.

Do you have to travel as a school bus driver?

You don’t need to travel as a school bus driver and can spend lots of time at home with your family and friends while other people like consultants are away for business trips quite often and just don’t have this luxury.

Are school bus driver pensions good?

Since school bus drivers are not able to make good money from their jobs, they are also not able to save enough money for retirement and also their pensions will be rather low.

In turn, many school bus drivers get into serious financial trouble once they get older and retire.

Are school bus driver salaries going up?

School bus driver salaries have not been going up significantly over the past years since the demand for school bus drivers decreases and this trend will likely continue in the near future due to the invention of self-driving vehicles and also since more people will work from home and will be able to bring their kids to school themselves without having to rely on school bus drivers in this regard anymore.

Can you have a positive impact on society as a school bus driver?

While you will do an important job for many parents out there, you will still not have the same high positive educational impact on society compared to teachers or professors who can shape the thought process and the attitude towards life of many people on a daily basis.

How long does it take to become a school bus driver?

Since you don’t need to get fancy education to work in this field, you can become a school bus driver within a couple of months and don’t have to spend many years in college as many other people have to do.

Is it difficult to become a school bus driver?

Since you don’t need to get fancy formal education, becoming a school bus driver is not difficult at all and almost everyone can work in this field as long as he or she has a clean record.

Do you need to be smart to work as a school bus driver?

You don’t need to be smart for succeeding as a school bus driver.

However, you should still be a good driver and should also be a reliable person so that parents trust you and are willing to hire you for bringing their kids to and back from school.

Do school bus drivers have a good work-life balance?

School bus drivers have pretty decent work-life balance since they come home from work relatively early and also don’t have to work during weekends and holidays.

Consequently, you as a school bus driver will have more than enough time to spend with your loved ones or on your favorite hobbies while investment bankers and many other people out there have to work long hours and are not able to spend enough time with their family and friends.

Do school bus drivers have to work many extra hours?

School bus drivers don’t have to work much overtime.

Instead, they have a fixed schedule and once they have dropped off all kids at their homes, their workday will be over and they will get to work the next morning without having to work many extra hours.

How to maximize your chances of becoming a school bus driver?

The more time you spend on your driving skills and the more time you spend in childcare, the higher your chances of getting hired for a job as a school bus driver.

Thus, you should gain experience in those fields at a rather early age to maximize your chances of finding a school bus driver job in the long run.

Can school bus drivers work part-time?

Most school bus drivers are not able to work part-time since they have to bring kids to school at a certain time and also pick them up once their schoolday is over.

Hence, you will have a rather rigid schedule and will not be able to cut hours in most cases.

Do school bus drivers work indoors or outdoors?

School bus drivers spend the majority of their workday inside the school bus and therefore don’t have to spend lots of time outdoors during times of bad weather compared to garbage collectors or other people who have to work outdoors on a regular basis.

What does the workplace of a school bus driver look like?

School bus drivers spend lots of time on the bus and also spend some time waiting for school kids.

Thus, you will be surrounded by kids for the majority of your workday and you will also spend lots of time driving.

Do you have to look good for working as a school bus driver?

Your looks don’t matter for your success as a school bus driver.

What’s much more important is that you are a reliable and trustworthy person and also have good driving skills so that parents trust you and you can bring kids from A to B in a safe manner.

Is a school bus driver career beneficial for your private life?

Since you will not be able to make good money from a school bus driver career and also have to fear losing your job on a regular basis, being a school bus driver is often not greatly beneficial for your private life since your partner may start cheating on you sooner or later to find a better deal.

Do you need a college degree for becoming a school bus driver?

You don’t need a college degree or any other fancy education to become a school bus driver.

What’s much more important than looking good on paper is that you are a trustworthy, reliable and friendly person so that school kids feel comfortable in your presence.

Do you need to be certified to work as a school bus driver?

While you don’t need to get certified, you have to do some training before you are officially able to work as a school bus driver which can take you up to three months.

How much does it cost to become a school bus driver?

Since you don’t have to spend lots of time in college, you also don’t have to spend lots of money on education and can become a school bus driver at almost no cost.

Is being a school bus driver a good career?

Since you will not have a high social standing and will also make pretty poor money while you also have pretty low job security, being a school bus driver cannot be considered a good career.

Is it easy to start your own business as a school bus driver?

You might also be able to start your own business as a school bus driver.

However, before you do, make sure to inform yourself about all the legal aspects that come along with it to avoid any liability issues.

Can school bus drivers teach themselves?

School bus drivers can teach themselves many things they need for succeeding in this field.

For instance, you can improve your driving skills and can also work on your people skills so that you can handle kids in a proper manner and don’t lose control sooner or later.

Do school bus drivers make good money?

School bus drivers don’t make good money at all and many of them even struggle to make a living from what they are doing.

This is especially true in regions where rents and living costs are high and a school bus driver salary is often not enough to pay your bills.

Is it ever too late to become a school bus driver?

Since you don’t need to get fancy formal education and also don’t have to work in a heavy physical manner, you can become a school bus driver at almost any age.

Do school bus drivers have to quit their careers early?

Most school bus drivers don’t have to quit their careers early since they don’t work in a physically demanding environment and their risk of suffering from serious health problems related to their work will be relatively low.

What is the hardest thing about working as a school bus driver?

The hardest part about being a school bus driver is that you will have to deal with many different kids and some of those children will be in a pretty bad mood.

Thus, you will have to handle many conflicts and also need lots of patience to deal with those situations in a proper manner.

Can you provide for your family by working as a school bus driver?

Due to your relatively low salary, you will have a hard time providing for your family as a school bus driver.

In fact, in most cases, your spouse will have to work as well to cover your expenses.

Will school bus drivers suffer from old-age poverty?

Due to the rather poor money school bus drivers make during their active careers, also their pensions will be low and many school bus drivers therefore have to deal with old-age poverty since they are no longer able to pay their bills at retirement age.

Can school bus drivers retire early?

School bus drivers are not able to retire early since they just don’t make enough money from their jobs and have to work until they reach official retirement age and sometimes even longer.

Do school bus drivers get a fixed or variable salary?

School bus drivers get a fixed salary most of the time and will therefore have a pretty stable income while people who work in sales often have to deal with huge income swings since they often work commission-based.

Can you get rich as a school bus driver?

It is impossible to get wealthy or even rich as an employed school bus driver since you will just make pretty poor money from what you are doing.

Hence, if your goal is to make lots of money, you should rather become a dentist instead of a bus driver.

Do school bus drivers need a second job?

Due to the poor money school bus drivers make from their jobs, many of them need to work a second job to be able to pay their bills and this can be really annoying in the long run since it means that you have to sacrifice lots of leisure.

Do you get continuous training as a school bus driver?

While you get some training at the beginning of your school bus driver career, you will no longer get training once you get more experienced and it will be on you to educate yourself so that you can stay in the game in the long run.

Do you get sick pay as a school bus driver?

Most school bus drivers don’t get sick pay and you should therefore build an emergency fund which you can use during times you get sick and don’t have an income anymore so that you are still able to pay your bills.

Do school bus drivers have a high level of responsibility?

School bus drivers have a pretty high level of responsibility since accidents may lead to serious outcomes for many school kids and you will therefore always have to stay focused to avoid mistakes in this regard.

Can school bus drivers work abroad?

School bus drivers are needed all over the world.

However, working conditions, salaries and requirements may be quite different from what you are used to at home and you should inform yourself carefully in this regard to avoid unpleasant surprises later on.

Is it stressful to work as a school bus driver?

Working as a school bus driver is not that stressful since you will not have to deal with lots of time pressure and as long as you are able to handle kids in a proper manner, you will have a rather relaxed workday most of the time.

Is it boring to work as a school bus driver?

Being a school bus driver will never get boring since you will be surrounded by kids for many hours per day and kids are just awesome and will surprise you in many different and unexpected ways.

Is being a school bus driver hard?

While working as a school bus driver is not hard from a physical point of view, it can be challenging on a mental and emotional level in case you don’t have a stable mindset and don’t know how to deal with kids properly.

Are school bus drivers at risk of burnout?

Since school bus drivers have a rather relaxed time at work, they are not at great risk of burnout or other mental problems related to their work.

Is there a dress code for school bus drivers?

There is no official dress code for school bus drivers.

Instead, you can wear whatever you feel most comfortable with and don’t have to wear a fancy suit or conservative dress as in many other office jobs.

What kind of school bus drivers are paid the most?

The more experience you have in this field, the more money you can make as a school bus driver.

However, please note that barely any school bus driver is able to make a decent living and if you want to make really good money, you should not become a school bus driver but rather work as a risk manager or in a related field.

What percentage of school bus drivers are women?

54% of all school bus drivers are women while 46% are men.

Thus, the ratio between men and women is pretty balanced in this industry.

Do I need a mentor to succeed as a school bus driver?

You don’t need a mentor to succeed as a school bus driver.

However, it can still help to have an experienced school bus driver on your side who can give you tips and tricks on how to handle school kids in a proper manner.

Do school bus drivers have a high life expectancy?

School bus drivers don’t have high life expectancy since they are at significant risk of getting involved in traffic accidents and also don’t make enough money to afford the best medical treatment in case of emergency.

Do school bus drivers suffer from sleeping problems?

Since school bus drivers come home from work relatively early and don’t have to work at nighttime, they are able to maintain a steady sleeping pattern and most of them don’t suffer from sleeping problems related to their jobs.

What states are best for working as a school bus driver?

Since you will make pretty poor money as a school bus driver across states, you should choose a state and region where living costs are pretty low so that you are able to make a living from what you are doing and don’t need a second job to pay your bills.

Who do school bus drivers work with?

School drivers work with many kids, parents and teachers on a regular basis.

Hence, it is crucial that you are a friendly and reliable person so that all parties trust you and keep faith in your services.

Is working as a school bus driver cool?

Being a school bus driver is not considered cool by the majority of the general public and you may have to deal with many snarky comments regarding your career choice.

Can you start a side hustle as a school bus driver?

Since you will have lots of leisure, you will have more than enough time to start a side hustle as a school bus driver even though you might have to get additional education to provide enough value to your clients.

Do you have to be creative as a school bus driver?

Being creative helps you succeed as a school bus driver since the more creative you are, the better you will be able to solve conflicts and calm down kids.

Do school bus drivers suffer from being overweight?

Since school bus drivers don’t burn lots of calories at work, they are also at significant risk of suffering from being overweight or even obesity in the long run.

How employable are school bus drivers?

Due to self-driving vehicles, many school bus drivers will no longer be needed in the future and job prospects for school bus drivers are therefore pretty poor.

Are school bus drivers happy with their jobs?

Due to their rather low salaries and the high level of insecurity related to their jobs, most school bus drivers are not happy with their jobs and secretly wish working in a different field.

Is working as a school bus driver exciting?

Being a school bus driver is not that exciting since you will do many things over and over again and will also develop a certain routine pretty soon.

Can you have a positive impact on our environment as a school bus driver?

School bus drivers don’t have a big positive impact on our environment since they just pick up and drop off kids and don’t have the power to protect our environment in a significant manner.

What are the pros and cons of working as a school bus driver?

If you still consider becoming a school bus driver, you should also have a look at additional pros and cons of a school bus driver career.

Sources

https://www.statista.com/statistics/531804/job-growth-drivers-2015-to-2020-in-mobility-industry/

https://www.statista.com/forecasts/885038/school-and-employee-bus-transportation-revenue-in-the-us

Interviews and own research.

About the author

My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people about the different career paths that are possible in our current state of the world. In my opinion, people often make the mistake to choose their profession solely based on how much money they can earn from it instead of doing what makes them really happy.

This is quite sad and I just want to give people a more objective picture of how a fulfilling career could look like. I did the same when I started working in consulting after finishing my Master’s degree in Economics. However, I’ve quit pretty soon after that since I haven’t found true meaning in my job.

Now I can do what I really love to do and I want to enable as many other people as well to go this exciting path towards happiness instead of money.

I conducted various interviews with employees to give you a good impression of what working in different fields will look like and that you can make the best possible decision regarding your future career choice.

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