School bus driver training and education programs are available both through colleges and through private driving schools. These programs offer classes as well as the chance to obtain the necessary hours of driving experience. School districts also sometimes provide classroom and driving training to newly hired bus drivers, sometimes in cooperation with local colleges. Aspiring school bus drivers need to acquire a commercial driver's license (CDL).
Most school bus driver training programs require that candidates have a high school education. In addition to completing a state-specific training program, prospective bus drivers may also be required by employers to undergo medical examinations and submit to background checks of their driving record and criminal history. School bus driver training programs often include both theoretical training, which may occur online or in the classroom, and on-the-job training. Students may need to pass an exam covering the theoretical training before advancing to the in-person portion.
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School Bus Driver Training and Education Programs
Some topics covered in training include:
- Safe driving
- Regulations and rules
- Danger zones and prevention
- Route hazards
- Emergencies and first aid
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), school bus drivers earned a mean hourly wage of $14.70 per hour in May of 2015, with the lowest 10% earning $8.76 or less per hour and the highest 10% earning $21.96 or more per hour. The BLS projected a 6% increase in the number of jobs for bus drivers, in general, between 2014 and 2024.
In some states and school districts, school bus drivers must complete regular continuing education requirements in order to maintain their employment. These requirements are generally less comprehensive than initial training, lasting only a few hours, and may need to be completed annually or less frequently, depending on the state.
Aspiring bus drivers need to enroll in school bus driver training and education programs at colleges or driving schools to study the rules, regulations and driving skills required to drive a bus. Graduates may need to meet state and school district continuing education requirements to remain employed.