Being in flux about life after school or being at a job you don’t enjoy may have you feeling helpless. If that’s the case, it’s worth looking at other potential employment opportunities, mainly when they are in high demand. A school bus driver is something you may not have thought of before, so you may not know what all is involved. Here are some things to consider before becoming a school bus driver.
One needs to be over the age of 18 to operate a school bus within the state. If you were to travel over state lines, you’d need to be 21 or over. Thus, being a school bus driver is a career you can start immediately out of high school, assuming you complete all the necessary training and have a clean driving record.
The training process is undoubtedly an extensive one that usually lasts several months. You can think of it as driver’s education classes turned up to the nth degree. You’ll split between the open road and the classroom, with you having to show your prowess in each area. It’s also possible that beginners will shadow veteran drivers before they start on their own.
Bus drivers need to obtain one of the three commercial driver’s licenses to get behind the wheel. Drivers need a CDL with an “S” on it, signifying that they can use a school bus. Additionally, drivers must prove they are physically and mentally fit for their job. They need to pass a series of exams every two years, showing they can adequately care for children in addition to steering a wheel.
Besides assessing and utilizing their ideal school bus, drivers need several special skills to master their craft. One supremely crucial skill is effective communication. If you are stoic and keep things to yourself, children or parents might take advantage of you. Therefore, being receptive and explaining things is vital as a driver.
Another key skill is an inner struggle that you may have to teach yourself. Rambunctious children and agitating drivers will put your patience through the grinder. Controlling your emotions in those circumstances takes some inherited skills that you cannot learn from someone else.
Like mail carriers, you need to pick up and drop off children on your route no matter the weather. It’s also possible you will need to drive longer on days with field trips or to transport a team to an away site. However, a convenient perk about being a school bus driver is they usually only work during the school year. Yes, the mornings are early, and the nights feel long. But having summers off is very beneficial, especially if you have a family.
These are some things to consider before becoming a school bus driver. This career path is a smart choice for many, especially if you don’t have a career path etched out yet. It’s okay to not know exactly what you want to do the rest of your life, and becoming a driver is worth the consideration. Furthermore, earning a CDL opens other doors and employment opportunities, so it’s worth getting one regardless.