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How Much Do Bus Drivers Make

Growth Trends for Related Jobs

Getting People From Here to There

Bus drivers help keep a city running by moving people from where they live to where they work or by taking kids to school in the morning and back in the evening. The pay is low, but often you can work less than full time, which might appeal to a mother with minor kids. The median salary for city and intercity bus drivers is $38,290, while school bus drivers’ median salary is around $29,490.

Job Description

Bus drivers transport people between various locations. They may drive people to work, take kids to school or zip shoppers to malls or business centers. Some bus drivers stay on the same, regular route, while others drive people on chartered trips (e.g., to Reno, Nevada) or on sightseeing tours (e.g., to Yosemite).

Education Requirements

You don’t need a bachelor’s degree or a master’s to work as a bus driver, so it’s a good position for someone who doesn’t like school or hasn’t had the opportunity to complete college. In many areas, you do need to show that you’ve completed high school, but what you need most is a commercial driver’s license (CDL).

You can earn a CDL in some states, like California, by completing a 40-hour training program. It includes 20 hours of classroom work and 20 hours of instruction behind the wheel. You’ll also need to have a clean driving record and meet certain physical requirements, such as passing hearing and vision tests. In some states, you are required to pass a background check and/or a drug test.

Bus drivers of transit buses, with a median salary of $38,290, whether city or intercity, earn more than school bus drivers. Median means half of them earn more, and half earn less. School bus drivers earn a median salary of $29,490. You are not likely to make more money by earning a higher degree like a bachelor’s or master’s.

About the Industry

Bus drivers often work for cities, counties or school districts. Sometimes, they work for private firms who hire them to transport workers from one location to another. For example, Google operates Google Buses, which are private, luxury buses to transport employees from San Francisco to their work site in the Silicon Valley. Travel and tourism companies also hire bus drivers to take their customers on tours.

Years of Experience

According to PayScale, the average salary in the U.S. for a bus driver is $31,000. If you are just starting out, you will probably earn 4 percent less, while in mid-career, you may make 1 percent more. Once you gain more experience, your salary likely will be 7 percent more, while at the end of your career, you’ll be making 16 percent more.

Job Growth Trend

This is a career with average job growth. The number of jobs for bus drivers is expected to grow 6 percent over the next decade, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations.