Michael Cross has worked as a school bus driver for over 20 years and has been the director of school bus driving departments at three different school districts. He says the demand for quality school bus drivers is large and each district he has worked for is constantly hiring more drivers. But, while a good career can be found as a professional school bus driver, Cross also says potential applicants should be aware that the job requires a certain type of person.
“It’s a great job in terms of scheduling and being able to not have to work from behind a desk,” Cross said. “But it also requires some skill because driving a school bus isn’t just like driving your car.”
Cross said the first piece of advice he would give a person considering a career as a school bus driver is to get some form of professional training.
“Training is important because different situations come up all the time and trained drivers are much better at handling those situations,” Cross said.
Cross also said a good school bus driver training program can better prepare drivers when it comes to vehicle care and maintenance.
“It’s true that a lot of companies and schools have maintenance professionals,” Cross said, “but believe me, we are always interested in drivers that know how to take care of their bus because it helps everyone out.”
Cross said school bus drivers are more than chauffeurs but also act as “teachers.”
“We encourage our bus drivers to interact with students, safely, of course, and there is a lot of problem solving on the job,” Cross said. “It’s not for everybody but a lot of people who have the right personality can be very successful and find a lot of enjoyment in (being a school bus driver).”
The growth of school districts, new transportation regulations and the upcoming retirement of many current school bus drivers have created a great need for new drivers. A shortage of school bus drivers exists across the country but students of Advanced Career Institute’s school bus driver program are helping to meet the demand.
The school bus driver program at Advanced prepares students to obtain Class B bus CDL with school bus certification and endorsements. Students are also taught the skills to operate a school bus safely and to provide proper care and maintenance for a school bus.
“I really encourage people to consider this as a line of work and it’s something I have enjoyed doing for over 20 years,” Cross said. “If you can get some good training and experience behind the wheel of (a school bus) it can really put you ahead of the pack when looking for a job.”