How to become a bus driver in 3 easy steps

How To Become A Bus Driver In 3 Easy Steps

Did you know that the average starting salary for a bus driver makes is $45,000 a year?  Those are just the averages, most earn anywhere from $50,000-$70,000. 

High earners can make anywhere between $90,000-$50,000. 

Driving transit is a great entry-level job that requires little to no experience. Not to mention it’s one of the last remaining union jobs that provide full benefits, retirement, and a pension. There are numerous reasons and benefits to being a transit operator, and here are 5 if you want further information.

But just how do you become a transit operator? Do you go to school? Maybe it’s a college course?

Nope. But here a quick guide


Step One: Get a CDL Learners Permit.

Level Of Difficulty 4/5

Secure a CDL permit. While I am unsure of every state’s process, I’m sure most of them are similar. A CDL permit is similar to your standard learners permit with the difference being the vehicle type. In short, A CDL permit gives you the right to drive a commercial vehicle under the supervision of another commercial driver.  You do not have to hold it nearly as long as you do a standard permit. Here in Maryland at one point you only had to hold onto your CDL permit for a few weeks before you could upgrade to a full CDL.

To get a CDL permit, visit your local DMV and get a CDL Book/ Manual. If you live in Maryland you can find ours here.

There are a lot of people online offering CDL permit classes for crazy prices. Listen to me, you do not need those courses, they are a waste of money. Everything you need is in this book, and if you don’t understand something find another driver to explain it to you, YOUTUBE IT or DM me.

If you live in Baltimore, I strongly advise that you check out Maryland New Direction, not only do they have (in my opinion) the best CDL permit course, it’s free and they’ll even help you pay for the physical permit.

Your primary points of focus in this book will be General Knowledge, Passenger, and Airbrake. Study those sections and familiarize yourself with their content. Transfer the information and questions  to flashcards. 

Flashcards make it easier to centralize information, it’s mobile, and you don’t have to worry about text messages distracting you.

Now when you are comfortable with the material, go schedule your permit test.

The CDL Permit Test is pretty intense, in full disclosure, I failed it a few times. The computers at the MVA (Maryland’s DMV) have this countdown thingy that lets you know how many questions you have wrong, and how many wrong answers you have left. It’s been a while since I took mine, but I think it’s a total (including passenger and airbrake) of 90 questions, and you can only get a 15 wrong.

I won’t share too much about that experience but you can probably imagine the pressure associated with that.😅😅😅😅

One day I opted for the paper version, and passed it on the first try.

Step Two: Get a D.O.T Physical.

Level Of Difficulty 1/5

Department of Transportation (DOTphysical is a health examination mandated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers. A DOT physical helps determine if a driver is physically, mentally, and emotionally fit to operate a Bus.

You’ll receive a DOT form from the physician and or your local DMV. This part is pretty straightforward, as the DOT exam is not too far off from a normal physical with the exceptions being additional sight and hearing testing.

To find out where to take a DOT exam, ask local drivers where they took theres. They are approximate $70-$80 and are good for about two years. Concentra is a good place to start.

Step Three: Apply To Your State Operated Transit Agency.

Transit agencies have the capabilities to train you and license you. Not to mention you get paid for all of this. I’ve listed a few below that would love to have you. 
As of this writing on 6/10/2021, all of these agencies are hiring with at least a $20 per hour starting wage and only need a permit to get hired.

Off you go!


No alt text provided for this image

Home sweet home.

PS. They have the BEST bus wrap in the country

@me if you disagree



Washington Metro Area Transit Authority.(DC,VA,MD)

No alt text provided for this image

The best transit system in the U.S (In my opinion!). I have a lot of friends that work there that I use to drive with that would love to have you. For more info holla at my bro’s Billie Mitchell and Tavon Hawkins


Alexandria Transit Company(dash)

My good friend Tristan Cunninghan is a planner over there. Started as a bus operator, so he understands us. Has a great relationship with the drivers. Hell of a guy. For more info connect with him right here on Linkedin


Kings County Metro

No alt text provided for this image

My brother JR Alexander works there and has nothing but good things to say! Not to mention he has a club on the clubhouse app, where he talks cool bus stuff. You should check him out


The Port Authority, Pittsburgh PA

No alt text provided for this image

My good pal Micheal Heidkamp is the COO here. Use to be a bus operator. Down to earth, great guy

If I wasn’t such a die-hard Baltimore Ravens fan, I’d go drive for him in a heartbeat

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *