Bus drivers are repeatedly listed on the Michigan Department of Education’s critical shortage list, which are disciplines where schools have a difficult time finding qualified job candidates, and retired school employees are eligible to come back to work those jobs without it affecting their pension or benefits.
A lack of bus drivers has serious implications for a school district. If the shortage becomes too much, it means consolidating bus routes or longer travel times for students, something neither students nor parents want.
Having substitute bus drivers is important, as well, to make sure things go smoothly if someone needs to take a day off.
As of Aug. 15, nearly every public school district in the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District has bus driver or substitute bus driver jobs posted. Public schools in the Ottawa Area ISD are Allendale, Coopersville, Grand Haven, Hamilton, Holland, Hudsonville, Jenison, Saugatuck, Spring Lake, West Ottawa and Zeeland.
Several schools in the Allegan Education Services Agency — which includes Fennville, Allegan, Hopkins, Plainwell, Ostego, Wayland and Glenn — also have bus driver and substitute bus driver positions available.
Pay for bus drivers is typically $15 to $16 an hour. Becoming a school bus driver requires earning a Class B commercial driver’s license, and getting passenger and bus driver endorsements on that license. Some school districts provide training for the CDL.
Some districts have additional requirements like being at least 21 years old or having four points or fewer on their driving record.
For more information on obtaining a CDL, visit the driver’s license section of the Michigan Secretary of State website.