Job Title: School Bus Driver
Type of Company: I work for a regional transportation company servicing a school district in the hill towns of Massachusetts.
Education: AA, Human Services, Holyoke Community College (Holyoke, MA)
Previous Experience: Before I had kids, I worked as a case manager for a group home servicing developmentally disabled adults. Then I worked as a pre-school assistant.
Job Tasks: Driving a school bus might seem meaningless to most people and perfect for a simple-minded person, but I have discovered over the past 9 years that that's not true. This job has its advantages, at least from my perspective: the hours are great (6AM - 9AM and again 1PM - 4PM) and I get all vacations and holidays off! I also liked the fact that I was able to bring my small children to work everyday.
However, at times this job poses challenges. We deal with children of all ages from every kind of family. Some of the kids have special needs or emotional troubles. Some are very small and have a hard time following rules, others are teenagers with attitudes. Some of my responsibilities include breaking up fights, confiscating weapons, dealing with rude parents, medical issues and any other kind of issue involving kids. We are trained in first aide and are required by the state to report any cases of abuse we either witness or suspect.
To keep this job you must be punctual, friendly, compassionate and clean. Training for it is extensive. I trained for 3 months (unpaid) in order to earn my CDL license. You must be a resident for more than 5 years and over 18. A high school diploma is mandatory. The CDL license is costly, over $150 to start, not to mention the re-certification of $40.00 yearly. You must pass a very extensive physical and are subject to random drug testing, which does happen very often. The pay, which is hourly, can be excellent. I make $14.00 per hour, but if your garage is unionized or in larger cities the pay can be as much as $20.00 per hour. I just received a 401K option, but health care is a pay-in system and the coverage is not very good. This job is great for someone who is covered under another health care plan. I am able to keep my bus at home so I do not have to commute to work. However I am responsible for keeping my bus plugged in during the winter. Every month, by law, I have to attend safety meetings that go towards my re-certification process.
I enjoy this job. But I never planned on doing this and would encourage everyone to further their education.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best parts of the job are the hours and the summers off. The kids can be very cute and the pay is pretty good for a job the is not exactly full-time. We also can collect over the summer as we are laid off every year.
The worst parts are dealing with parents who are rude and the yearly physical. Disciplining kids is not exactly fun either.
1. Find a company that offers the best insurance package. These are often made available through a union.
2. Continue your education. This job can often lead into other positions within the school systems.
3. Be firm with all the students but also very loving. Remember safety is the main goal.
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