What Is a Bus Attendant?
A bus attendant assists in maintaining a safe operating environment for a bus. Their duties may vary depending on the employer but generally include directing passengers on and off a bus, supervising conduct while a bus is in motion, operating wheelchair lifts and assisting with other special needs, and evacuating riders in case of an emergency. A bus attendant may also be tasked with cleaning a bus between trips. Many bus attendants work in the educational sector and have additional duties, such as escorting younger or special needs students to and from the bus as well as keeping route sheets, incident reports and attendance records. Bus attendants can also be found working for city mass transit systems, hotels, airports, resorts, residential care homes or other facilities.
|Educational Requirements||High school diploma or equivalent (like a GED); state driver's license or other certifications and clearances may be required|
|Job Skills||Knowledge of bus safety procedures, dependability, strong communication skills, patience, ability to remain calm and professional under pressure, attention to detail; school bus attendants should enjoy working with children|
|Median Salary (2017)*||$27,830 (all transportation attendants, except flight attendants)|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)*||8% (all transportation attendants, except flight attendants)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
In most cases, the highest level of education required to be a bus attendant is a high school diploma or equivalent. Unlike bus drivers, bus attendants usually do not need a CDL. However, the position may have other requirements, like possession of a valid driver's license, CPR and First Aid certification, or wheelchair/special needs handling training. Applicants may also be subject to background checks or drug screenings.
A bus attendant should be comfortable interacting with others, as the job often entails giving directions, answering questions or accommodating a passenger's special needs. The job may also be very physical, with repetitive crouching, lifting, standing and reaching motions in a tight and noisy space. For example, a bus attendant may have to buckle/unbuckle seat belts, handle baggage, operate wheelchair lifts or push out breakaway windows during an emergency. Sometimes, a bus attendant may be responsible for cleaning a bus inside and out as well as maintaining and refueling it.
Bus attendants must be attentive and responsible, serving as good role models for other riders. Because they serve as an authority on any bus-related rules and policies set by their organization, they must be prepared to enforce the rules as necessary. Dependability and an attention to detail are also important for school bus attendants who are responsible for keeping student rider records, reporting disciplinary incidents and timing their assigned routes to maintain an accurate timetable.
Career Outlook and Salary
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that employment opportunities for all transportation attendants (except flight attendants) are expected to grow 8% from 2016 to 2026. Positions for bus drivers are also expected to grow 6%, while school bus driver opportunities are expected to increase 5% during that same time period, which is close to the average for all occupations (7%). This growth can be attributed to an increasing need for special-needs transportation as well as increasing popularity in bus rapid transit systems and intercity bus travel. Growing populations of school-aged children will also likely result in increased need for busing and more job opportunities for school bus attendants. In May 2017, the BLS reported an average median salary of $27,830 ($13.38 an hour) for all transportation attendants, except flight attendants.