Bus Driver

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Job Outlook:
As fast as average
Education: High school diploma or equivalent
Average: $44,440.00
Average: $21.36

What Bus Drivers Do

Bus drivers transport people between various places—including school, work, and shopping centers—and across state and national borders. Some drive set routes, and others transport passengers on chartered trips or sightseeing tours. They drive a range of vehicles, from 15-passenger buses to 60-foot articulated buses (with two connected sections) that can carry more than 100 passengers.


Bus drivers typically do the following:

  • Pick up and drop off passengers at designated locations
  • Follow a planned route according to a time schedule
  • Help passengers, including those with disabilities, get on and off the bus
  • Obey traffic laws and state and federal transit regulations
  • Follow procedures to ensure passenger safety
  • Keep passengers informed of possible delays
  • Perform basic maintenance (check the bus tires, lights, and oil)
  • Keep the bus clean and presentable to the public

The following are examples of types of bus drivers:

School bus drivers transport students to and from school and other activities, such as field trips and sporting events, when the academic term is in session. School bus drivers typically do the following:

  • Ensure the safety of children getting on and off the bus
  • Attend to the needs of children with disabilities
  • Keep order and safety on the bus
  • Understand and enforce the school system's rules of conduct
  • Report disciplinary problems to the school district and parents or guardians

Local transit bus drivers follow a daily schedule while transporting people on set routes along city or suburban streets. They stop frequently, often every few blocks and when a passenger requests a stop. Local transit drivers typically do the following:

  • Collect bus fares or manage fare box transactions
  • Answer questions about schedules, routes, and transfer points
  • Report accidents and other traffic disruptions to a central dispatcher

Intercity bus drivers transport passengers between cities or towns, sometimes crossing state lines. They usually pick up and drop off passengers at bus stations or curbside locations in downtown urban areas. Intercity drivers typically do the following:

  • Ensure that all passengers have a valid ticket to ride the bus
  • Sell tickets to passengers when there are unsold seats available, if necessary
  • Keep track of when passengers get on or off the bus
  • Help passengers load and unload baggage

Charter bus drivers, sometimes called motorcoach drivers, transport passengers on chartered trips or sightseeing tours. Trip planners generally arrange their schedules and routes based on the convenience of the passengers, who are often on vacation.  Charter bus drivers are sometimes away for long periods because they usually stay with the passengers for the length of the trip. Charter bus drivers typically do the following:

  • Regulate heating, air-conditioning, and lighting, for passenger comfort
  • Ensure that the trip stays on schedule
  • Help passengers load and unload baggage
  • Account for all passengers before leaving a location
  • Act as tour guides for passengers, if necessary

Work Environment

bus drivers image
Some school bus drivers make multiple trips if schools in the district open at different times.

Bus drivers, school held about 358,800 jobs in 2022. The largest employers of bus drivers, school were as follows:

Elementary and secondary schools; local 51%
School and employee bus transportation 32
Local government, excluding education and hospitals 9
Elementary and secondary schools; private 2
Other transit and ground passenger transportation 1

Bus drivers, transit and intercity held about 156,400 jobs in 2022. The largest employers of bus drivers, transit and intercity were as follows:

Local government, excluding education and hospitals 51%
Urban transit systems 15
Charter bus industry 7
Other transit and ground passenger transportation 5
Interurban and rural bus transportation 5

Driving through heavy traffic or bad weather and dealing with unruly passengers can be stressful for bus drivers.

Injuries and Illnesses

Transit and intercity bus drivers have one of the highest rates of injuries and illnesses of all occupations. Most injuries to bus drivers are due to vehicle accidents.

Work Schedules

Part-time work is common for bus drivers. Drivers’ schedules may vary and include early mornings, evenings, or weekends.

School bus drivers work only when school is in session, so their work hours are often limited. Some make multiple trips if schools in their district open and close at different times or if students need transportation to other activities.

Intercity and charter bus drivers may make a round trip and go home at the end of each shift. Others spend nights away from home on long-distance routes. The trip or route schedule dictates a driver’s hours.

Bus drivers who cross state lines must follow the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) hours-of-service regulations. Bus drivers are allowed 10 hours of driving time and 15 hours of total on-duty time before they must rest for 8 consecutive hours. Weekly maximum restrictions also apply but may vary by employer schedule.

Getting Started

How to Become a Bus Driver

Bus drivers
All types of bus drivers have to obtain a CDL.

Bus drivers must have a commercial driver’s license (CDL), which they sometimes earn during on-the-job training. They also need a good driving record and must meet physical, hearing, and vision requirements. In addition, bus drivers typically need a high school diploma or the equivalent and may be required to pass a background check.


Bus drivers typically need a high school diploma or equivalent.


Bus drivers typically get on-the-job training. Those who already have a CDL may have a shorter training period. For part of the training, drivers may practice various maneuvers with a bus on a driving course. They then begin to drive in light traffic and eventually make practice runs on the type of route that they expect to drive. New drivers make trips with passengers while accompanied by an experienced driver who gives advice, answers questions, and evaluates the new driver's performance.

Some drivers’ training is also spent in the classroom. They learn their company’s rules and regulations, state and municipal traffic laws, and safe driving practices. Drivers also learn about schedules and bus routes, fares, and interacting with passengers.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

All bus drivers must have a CDL. Some new bus drivers earn their CDL during on-the-job training. Qualifications vary by state but generally include passing both knowledge and driving tests. States have the right not to issue a license to someone who has had a CDL suspended in another state.

Drivers can get endorsements for a CDL that reflect their ability to drive a special type of vehicle. All bus drivers must have a passenger (P) endorsement, and school bus drivers must also have a school bus (S) endorsement. Getting the P and S endorsements requires additional knowledge and driving tests administered by a certified examiner.

Many states require all bus drivers to be 18 years of age or older and those who drive across state lines to be at least 21 years old. Most bus drivers must pass a background check before they are hired. Check with your state agency for specific licensing requirements.

Federal regulations require interstate bus drivers to pass a physical exam every 2 years and to submit to random drug or alcohol testing. Most states impose similar regulations. Bus drivers may have their CDL suspended if they are convicted of a felony involving the use of a motor vehicle or of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Actions such as excessive speeding or reckless driving also may result in suspension.

Job Outlook

Overall employment of bus drivers is projected to grow 3 percent from 2022 to 2032, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

About 76,400 openings for bus drivers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.


Schools will continue to rely on school bus drivers to transport students. However, declining student enrollments in public and private schools over the decade may constrain demand for these workers.

Employment of transit and intercity bus drivers is expected to increase as public authorities continue to upgrade their public transportation systems, such as by redesigning bus networks, expanding bus services, and rolling out bus rapid transit (BRT) systems. In addition, intercity bus travel should continue to grow because its inexpensive fares and passenger amenities, such as Wi-Fi, are expected to maintain its popularity as a transportation option.

An increasing population of older adults and people with disabilities will place demand on rural transit services, contributing to a need for drivers of these bus routes.

Contacts for More Information

For more information about school bus drivers, visit

National School Transportation Association

National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services

For more information about transit bus drivers, visit

American Public Transportation Association

For more information about motorcoach drivers, visit

United Motorcoach Association

For more information about federal regulations for commercial bus drivers, visit

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration 

Occupational Requirements Survey

For a profile highlighting selected BLS data on occupational requirements, see

Bus drivers, school (PDF)

Similar Occupations

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of bus drivers.

Occupation Job Duties Entry-Level Education Median Annual Pay, May 2022
Delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers Delivery Truck Drivers and Driver/Sales Workers

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Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers Heavy and Tractor-trailer Truck Drivers

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Water transportation occupations Water Transportation Workers

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Taxi drivers shuttle drivers and chauffeurs image Taxi Drivers, Shuttle Drivers, and Chauffeurs

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Information provided by CareerFitter, LLC and other sources.

Sections of this page includes information from the O*NET 27.3 Database by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license.

CareerFitter, LLC has modified all or some of this information. USDOL/ETA has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.