Truck and Bus Driver/Commercial Vehicle Operator and Instructor  Interviews

 
 

Insider Info

dotWhat to Expect

Bus drivers in training need to have two key qualities: they have to enjoy driving, and they have to like working with people.

In order to get into the training program, John Palmer had to have:

- a clean driving record

- significant skills dealing with the public

- comprehensive knowledge of his city and the surrounding area

Palmer says a typical day began in the classroom, where students learned about air brakes. The rest of the day was spent driving the bus. "That's the most fun!"

Jim Mester completed school bus driver training with Penn-Harris-Madison School Corp. in Mishawaka, Indiana. He says some of the safety issues taught during training were incredibly sobering.

"For example, we learned that kids are most vulnerable right after they get off the bus. And the driver must continually account for their whereabouts until they are a safe distance from the bus."

There's not much homework. Mester took home some videos that showed the steps involved in bus inspection. "But that was really the only homework," he says.

When you get your first route, however, be prepared to spend time studying maps and memorizing routes.

How to Prepare

Palmer advises high school students to get involved in activities that will improve their people skills. During training and on the job, solid people skills help drivers deal with negotiation and harassment issues on the bus.

Mester recommends talking to bus drivers in the area. They'll be able to give you the inside scoop on training, jobs and the day-to-day business of bus driving.