How Much do School bus Drivers Make

School bus drivers are responsible for transporting students to and from school in the morning, and schools must provide them with a designated route home after work. The starting salary for school bus drivers at a public non-charter school is $11.19 per hour, while more experienced school bus drivers can expect to earn between $14.10 and $17.26 per hour with benefits like health insurance and retirement plans.

Job Description

School bus drivers are responsible for transporting students to and from school. Drivers are expected to ensure that students are well-behaved on the bus and arrive at school safely every day. Drivers often pick up or drop off students who live in residential areas within a designated route, and they must maintain an adequate level of fuel, oil and other vehicle maintenance supplies in their vehicles. Bus drivers are also expected to follow all regulations established for the transportation of students and may be required to wash their hands before and after every bus ride.

Education Requirements

School bus drivers must complete a training program before they can begin driving a school bus. These programs are often conducted by the local school district and last between three and six weeks, depending on the school district’s requirements. Applicants must be at least 21 years old to enter a training program and must hold a high school diploma or GED in order to enroll in a program. Some states may require additional certifications or qualifications for potential employees.

Industry

The school bus driving industry is expected to grow by 12 percent between 2016 and 2026. The average annual salary for school bus drivers is $36,010 as of May 2015. Although this industry tends to pay low wages, school bus drivers are generally afforded other benefits, such as job-related health insurance and retirement plans.

Years of Experience

School bus drivers begin their careers earning $11.19 per hour with no experience or education. The number of years that drivers have worked at their current job depends on whether they are public or private school employees. Entry-level school bus drivers spend between three and six weeks in training programs, but they may be promoted to more experienced driver positions and earn salaries above $17.26 per hour within their first year.

Job Growth Trend

Employment of school bus drivers is projected to grow by 18% between 2008 and 2018, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. Transportation of students will be a leading job growth category during this period, due in large part to the substantial increase in school enrollment.

Wages and Salary Range

In May 2011, the median hourly wage for all full-time school bus drivers was $13.03 per hour. The average annual salary for an experienced school bus driver was $35,260 and $45,980 for senior drivers. More experienced drivers were able to negotiate higher compensation and benefits. Drivers who worked for educational service agencies, which often provide transportation services to private schools and public school systems, were generally paid more than those employed by public school districts. For example, in May 2011 the average hourly wages of full-time school bus drivers employed at educational service agencies was $16.33 per hour.

Job Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment for bus drivers will grow by eight percent over the next decade. Growth in employment opportunities for school bus drivers is expected to occur at the same rate as average U.S. employment growth. The BLS expects that many of the new school bus driver jobs created will be in charter schools and other educational service agencies, which usually pay school bus drivers more than public school districts.

Related Careers

Employment for private school teachers is expected to grow by 16 percent over the next decade, making it one of the fastest growing careers in the U.S. Private school teachers often provide instruction to grade school and high school level students, but they usually earn less than public school teachers with similar credentials. The BLS predicts that employment opportunities for transportation workers will increase by 10 percent by 2020. Senior bus drivers may be able to advance their career in sales and management positions within educational service agencies or charter schools.

Specialized training and a valid commercial driver’s license are generally required for school bus drivers. However, some bus manufacturers provide training programs that may allow drivers to obtain a school bus endorsement on their commercial driver’s license. Drivers who desire a career in sales may pursue positions with commercial school transportation companies, or they may consider enrolling in a sales training program to receive an education degree while they continue to work as a school bus drivers.

Salary And Qualifications

The average annual salary for school bus drivers was $47,900 in May 2011, including benefits. Experienced drivers earned an average of $57,500 per year in 2011, including benefits. The highest-paid school bus drivers earned between $77,460 and $90,520 annually, while the lowest paid drivers earned less than $27,000 per year. The middle 50 percent of school bus drivers earned between $42,330 and $64,710 each year, including benefits.

Income And Benefits

The average hourly wages for all full-time school bus drivers was $13.03 in May 2011. The average annual salary for an experienced school bus driver was $35,260 and $45,980 for senior drivers. More experienced drivers were able to negotiate higher compensation and benefits.

School bus drivers must follow all regulations established for the transportation of students and may be required to wash their hands before and after every bus ride.

Certification And Licensing

Most school bus drivers are classified as transportation workers, and transportation workers usually require a commercial driver’s license (CDL) for driving a school bus, which is issued by state governments. Those who wish to drive private school buses usually must obtain a State Authorization for Public Charter School Drivers and School Bus Drivers, which may also require a CDL.

School bus drivers are responsible for transporting students to and from school in the morning, and schools must provide them with a designated route home after work. The starting salary for school bus drivers at a public non-charter school is $11.19 per hour, while more experienced school bus drivers can expect to earn between $14.10 and $17.26 per hour with benefits like health insurance and retirement plans.

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