A school bus driver transports school children safely to and from school and field trips or other school events. They wait for children to board the bus in a common location like street corners and drop them off at school on time. They are responsible for maintaining discipline on the bus and preventing the boarding of any other children not allowed on the bus. This particular job is perfect for anyone who loves children and driving. In the following sections, we will help you understand how to write an exceptional resume to impress the recruiters and get you the job you want!
To begin with, let’s understand the three types of resumes.
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Job Duties of a School Bus Driver
The primary responsibility of a school bus driver is to ensure the safety and well-being of kids during the journey. Their role requires juggling multiple duties like keeping up with a strict pick-up and drop-off schedule, adhering to routes, noting any maintenance problems with the bus, and communicating with children and parents.
The following is an overview of the daily responsibilities of a school bus driver:
Transporting children safely to and from the school following road safety regulations like driving within speed limits, wearing a seatbelt, following traffic signs, and maintaining a safe stopping distance
Verifying whether students bearing their passes board the bus at the designated locations
Maintaining order among children on the bus during the trip and patiently handling any unruliness
Inspecting mechanical issues such as checking the brakes, tires, signal lights, wipers, and oil and fuel levels before and after each trip
Fixing or knowing how to contact people who can fix mechanical issues like blown tires or brake malfunctions using appropriate tools like wrenches, screwdrivers, jacks, and hammers
Keeping records of passenger count, fuel usage, and mileage and reporting it to management regularly
Ensuring passenger comfort with appropriate ventilation
Maintaining cleanliness and hygiene
Providing first aid to children in case of accidents or health complications during the ride and assisting disabled passengers in boarding the bus using ramps
Reporting to management any delays or accidents using a two-way radio
School Bus Driver Median Salaries
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a fact-finding agency for employees in the U.S., the average pay of a school bus driver is $34,450 per year as of May 2018. The compensation varies according to the driver’s performance and years of experience
Top Skills for School Drivers
While a bus driver must be an exceptional driver, they must also be great with children, quick problem-solvers, and overall responsible adults. They must possess good group management skills to avoid any potential mishaps from happening on the trip.
The following is an overview of essential skills a school bus driver must have:
- Excellent driving skills: A school bus driver must skillfully operate large passenger buses while following all safety regulations and keeping reasonable group control. School bus drivers are expected to have a clean Motor Vehicle Record (MVR). Their ability to manage all climatic conditions to reach all their destinations safely and on time while also applying defensive driving techniques is of the utmost importance.
- Good navigation skills: To cover more distance in a shorter time, the school bus driver must have a good sense of direction and quickly learn how to get around in their assigned neighborhood. They must use technology such as Google Maps and Routefinder Pro to plan routes optimized to cover distance and reduce fuel consumption.
- Adherence to safety protocols: A school bus driver must understand safety regulations such as speed limits, safety gears, and passenger limits. They must not have any convictions. They must be prepared to handle emergencies by executing emergency evacuation plans such as evacuating kids through rooftop exits, identifying nearby hospitals, and communicating quickly with police, fire, and school authorities.
- Group management: A school bus driver must have the patience to deal with disorderly students. They must exhibit emotional intelligence to avoid misbehavior among students on or around the bus. Because disciplining children might be required, the bus driver should stop the bus in a safe area to safely and appropriately handle the situation.
- Punctuality and attentiveness: The school bus driver must strictly adhere to pick-up and drop-off times and plan routes based on traffic and weather conditions to meet them. They must not wait too long at the pick-up points and also avoid rash driving at any moment for any reason. They must stay alert on the road and avoid any distractions, such as using mobile phones.
- Functional knowledge of basic mechanics: If any mechanical failures occur, including flat tires or brake malfunction, the school bus driver must quickly fix the issue. Basic knowledge of diesel-mechanical tools such as jacks, wrenches, spanners, screwdrivers, and hammers is essential. Any fixes must be done quickly to avoid delays. Also, inspecting vehicle conditions before and after each trip is needed to prevent complications.
- Prompt communication: The school bus driver must communicate any delays, accidents, or mechanical failures during the trip to school management using two-way radio communication equipment. They must convey the need for the replacement of mechanical parts of the truck regularly. They must also report the student count, mileage, and fuel consumption details.
- A love of children: Working with children can be very rewarding, but it’s also challenging. A love of children will make both the students and the bus driver’s experience while on the job much more enjoyable than for anyone who prefers not to be surrounded by kids. Exhibiting empathy and genuine concern for the children can also be conducive to reasonable group control and respect from the students.
Educational Requirements for School Drivers
DegreeA school bus driver must have a high school diploma or a GED as a minimum qualification. While a college degree is not necessary, bus drivers must be 21 years or older to be considered.
LicensureTo become a licensed truck driver, it is mandatory to attain the Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) under Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) standards. Job priority is usually given to candidates with a CDL license. Still, some companies offer to pay for the license to anyone interested in the job capable of obtaining one. Since requirements to get licensed vary by state, you must check your local DMV for specific information on requirements for the test to get licensed.
In general, you must pass three practice tests to get licensed, including assessments on general knowledge, a physical exam, and a practical skills test. It is illegal to get licensed in more than one state, so make sure you choose the state you want to work in before getting licensed. While it’s possible to get licensed at 18 years of age, you must be at least 21 years old to be considered for a position as a school bus driver. If you are under 21, you might want to consider starting as a delivery or truck driver.
There are three categories you can get licensed for. Each license is based on the Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) of the vehicle or combination of cars driven by the truck or bus driver. The CDL licenses are classified as:
- Class A: For vehicles with GCWR of 26,001 pounds or more with towed vehicles having GCWR of more than 10,000 pounds. This is the most commonly obtained license and is very sought after by employers. All Class licenses must be acquired with Passenger and School Bus endorsements to be considered for the job.
- Class B: For vehicles with GCWR of 26,001 pounds or more with towed vehicles having GCWR of fewer than 10,000 pounds. This is the second most commonly obtained license. Remember, all Class licenses should be acquired with Passenger and School Bus endorsements to be considered.
- Class C: For trucks that can be operated as single or combination vehicles carrying passengers or goods and do not fall under the weight range of other classes. Remember, all Class licenses should be acquired with Passenger and School Bus endorsements to be considered.
Endorsements vary by state, so you can learn more about them from your local DMV or by checking out the overview over on the CDL website. It’s essential to be clear on the endorsements you need (Passenger “P” and School Bus “S”) before taking the test since you need to select them while you hold your Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP).
On top of the CDL tests, an aspiring CDL license-holder must pass the required medical screening to get licensed. The Department of Transportation (DOT) physical exam assesses the driver’s physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing to ensure that they are physically capable of operating a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV). After passing the physical exam, the resulting medical card should be kept up-to-date for anyone interested in working as a bus driver. The specific requirements for this examination also vary by state. You should contact your local DMV to learn more about this medical examination in your state. For an overview of what to expect, check the CDL website.
CertificationsThe primary certification required to take the CDL tests is the DOT physical exam. This needs to be renewed every two years to keep the license up to date.
The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) issues Passenger Transportation and Student Transportation Endorsement for school bus drivers in every U.S.
Also, some certifications offered by non-profit organizations like the Defensive Driving training by National Safety Council are pretty valuable in increasing your credibility as a safe driver. Also, the first-aid, CPR, and AED training offered by the Red Cross and National Safety Council are essential for safeguarding children’s lives in medical emergencies.
In some cases, the employer might ask that you be certified as a driver with the Department of Education (DOE). Requirements for the DOE certification vary by state, so you should check with your employer or state DOE website or office.
School Bus Driver Resume-Writing Tips
To capture your recruiter’s attention, you need to make your resume resourceful with relevant and concise information. The following tips can help you compose an outstanding resume that will get you the interview:
Include all your driving and mechanics-related skills.Ensure that you don’t miss out on even the tiniest detail of your knowledge of bus driving. Recollect and highlight every skill you excel at related to driving a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV), mechanics, route planning, and safe transportation of children. List your skills in a numbered or bulleted list. Be as specific and thorough as you can.
Feature your driving experience.Your achievements related to driving and managing buses from previous work experience or training for the CDL license test should be front and center. Recruiters scan your resume and make their decision in just the first few seconds, so you need to showcase your best accomplishments in your previous jobs or training period first. Many companies ask for a minimum of six months to one year of experience to qualify for their position, so including any occasion, you might have should be the first thing recruiters see. If you don’t have any previous experience, please check the FAQ for tips on how to highlight your skills instead.
Avoid redundant information.Do not provide repeated information about the same professional skill or previous job achievements. You have limited space to write all of your potential related to school bus driving, rules and regulations, route planning, and first-aid knowledge, so don’t waste any of it by repeating facts.
Focus on safety.Since this job requires safe transportation of school students, highlight your knowledge of safety protocols and your spotless driving records. Also, mention your certifications on safety procedures like first-aid, CPR, and AED techniques and any defensive driving skills or certifications.
Spotlight your love for children.Loving children ensures that you will be invested in the safety and well-being of each of the students under your care for the duration of the trip. Enjoying working with children is also usually beneficial for fostering positive group control and student respect since this allows the driver to be genuinely caring and concerned with the students.
Which class of CDL license is suitable for a school bus driver?
A school bus falls under the Class B category of vehicles based on its GCWR. The candidate applying for a school bus driver job must have a class A, B, or C CDL license and Passenger “P” and School Bus “S” endorsements.
Can we include information about our expertise in other types of vehicles?
If your previous job experience involved driving other heavy or light-duty vehicles, mention it briefly. Try to focus more on the school bus going skills and knowledge of safety regulations.
Are communication skills essential for a school bus driver?
Yes. Good communication skills are required to communicate effectively with students, parents, and school management.