If you're seeking a profession that's challenging and rewarding, check your rear view mirror: a bus driving job may be on your tail. Expect to do more than get passengers safely to their destinations and collect fares. You may also tackle paperwork, mechanical checks, scheduling and tasks specific to school, tour or municipal buses.
In return for your services, anticipate stability, responsibility and variety once you're trained. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for bus drivers as of 2014 is $37K, but geography can alter that number. Happily, The BLS projects a 10-percent job growth for bus drivers until 2022.
1. Assess your attitude
Are you the person to whom people turn when there's an emergency? Do you remain nonplussed while driving in snowstorms; calm when children on sugar-highs act out—and even Zen-like when traffic snarls bring you and traffic to a complete stop? Sounds like you have the attitude it takes to get a job as a bus driver if meet all other qualifications.
2. Take bus driver training classes
Attend a certified bus driving school offering a comprehensive education--from rules of the road to drive time--to qualify for a CDL license. Spend from one to three months learning the ins and outs of the job and expect visual and hearing tests mandated by all bus companies. Disclose conditions like diabetes and seizure-related disorders; some bus companies won't hire drivers with these types of ailments.
3. Prepare a resume
Your resume should include driving school credentials, certifications, licenses and other relevant information. Use past volunteer or paid jobs relating to transportation to pump up your credentials. Did you form a carpool, run business-related errands or order buses for sports teams and/or bands? Each credit shows you have some experience in the transportation field and offers employers a window to your past. Visit LiveCareer's Resume Builder to find other valuable resume preparation tips.
4. Stay clean
Next to having bad eyesight or select health issues, drug or alcohol citations impacting your driving record can automatically disqualify you from getting a job as a bus driver. Further, you may be required to sign forms attesting to the fact that you'll be happy to take random tests for substances as a condition of employment if you receive a job offer.
5. Sleuth out bus driver job openings
When you're ready to begin applying for jobs, consider these resources: Your state's employment bureau, websites, bus companies like Greyhound, public and private schools, regional transportation authorities and tour companies. If your driving school offers placement services, contact them first. A great place to start your job search is by visiting LiveCareer's jobs page.
6. Ace the interview
You only have minutes to impress prospective employers, so don't waste them. Dress nicely, show up well-groomed, be polite and it's a good idea to bring along personal recommendations from people willing to attest to your character, maturity and skills. Know a second language? Speak up! It could land you the job of your dreams.
7. Manage your expectations
"You pay how much?" is never the response people hiring bus drivers want to hear when they start talking money, so do your homework in advance of your first interview. Ask bus drivers in your geographic area about salaries and visit websites posting pay scales in the transportation industry. Tap this salary calculator to crunch numbers.
By the way, it never hurts to talk to people already holding down bus driver jobs to get the skinny on what they like and don't like about their respective gigs. And you can't go wrong by doing additional reading about this and other career paths on livecareer.com where job information is current, clear and easy to understand!