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Bus Driver

Bus drivers transport passengers from place to place along prescribed, scheduled routes and on charter services and tours. They may operate transit buses, motor coaches, or school buses.

Also Known As

Driver, Light Rail Transit Operator, LRT Operator, Motor Coach Driver, School Bus Driver, Subway Train Operator, Transit Operator

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used.

Here is how this occupation has been classified over time.

2006 NOC

  • 7412.1: Bus and Streetcar Drivers

2006 NOC-S

  • H712: Bus Drivers and Subway and Other Transit Operators

2011 NOC

  • 7512: Bus drivers, subway operators and other transit operators

2016 NOC

  • 7512: Bus drivers, subway operators and other transit operators

2021 NOC

  • 73301: Bus drivers, subway operators and other transit operators

2023 OaSIS

  • 73301.01: Bus and streetcar drivers
Updated Mar 21, 2023

Bus drivers’ duties vary depending on the type of bus and service. In general, bus drivers:

  • Drive in a safe and courteous manner
  • Greet passengers and answer questions
  • Follow set routes and schedules
  • Drive to charter destinations
  • Help the elderly and people with disabilities
  • Ensure personal and passenger safety
  • Inspect vehicles before and after trips
  • Submit simple reports at the end of shifts
  • Submit collision reports as required

Specific types of bus drivers have additional duties:

  • Transit bus drivers issue transfers, check bus passes, and monitor fares.
  • Community service bus drivers operate small buses that carry a few passengers (for example, from seniors’ homes to shopping malls).
  • Motor coach drivers issue transfers, check bus passes, and collect fares. They may drive from city to city or operate local tour buses. Tour bus operators may greet sightseers and narrate the trip.
  • School bus drivers take students to and from school. Their routes may be along busy city streets or over rural roads.
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 21, 2023
  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg

All drivers must deal with difficult passengers. They also face hazards like bad weather, poor driving surfaces, and heavy traffic.

Bus drivers may work shifts that include evenings, weekends, and holidays.

School bus drivers work weekdays before and after school hours. They may drive students on field trips during or outside of school hours. Drivers who transport special-needs students must load and unload equipment like wheelchairs. They may lift children into their bus seats.

Transit bus drivers and motor coach drivers often work changing shifts for years before getting regular routes and shifts. Many transit bus drivers work part time or split shifts. There can be schedule changes on short notice.

Drivers working for long-distance bus lines and tour companies may load and unload luggage and parcels weighing up to 45 kilograms.

Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Bus and Streetcar Drivers

2006 NOC: 7412.1

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group

Interest in driving buses and buses equipped for wheelchair accessibility, streetcars and intercity and sightseeing tour and charter buses to transport passengers along established routes, locally and over long distances; and in driving buses to transport passengers and cargo to intercity and long-distance destinations


Interest in copying information to report delays, mechanical problems and accidents; and in collecting fares, issuing transfers, checking bus passes and recording transactions


Interest in speaking with passengers to provide information on fares, schedules and stops; may provide passengers with information on points of interest during trips

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 

It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective, and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes for this NOC group is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn About Interests


Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 21, 2023

Bus drivers need:

  • Good health and vision
  • Communication skills
  • Diplomacy and courtesy in dealing with the public
  • The ability to be pleasant from the first passenger to the last passenger each day
  • The ability to remain alert
  • Good judgment
  • Attention to detail (when inspecting vehicles)
  • The ability to react quickly in emergency situations

They should enjoy:

  • Driving
  • Talking to people
  • Taking a step-by-step approach to recording information

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Bus drivers, subway operators and other transit operators

2016 NOC: 7512

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 103 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Jun 15, 2022 and May 30, 2024.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Tasks: Perform pre-trip, en route and post-trip inspection and oversee all aspects of vehicle
Tasks: Report delays, mechanical problems and accidents
Tasks: Operate buses, school busses or streetcars to transport passengers
Tasks: Communicate with passengers, dispatchers or other drivers using two-way radio systems
Computer Systems: Valid driver's licence
Construction Specialization: Reliability
Construction Specialization: Flexibility
Security and Safety: Criminal record check
Construction Specialization: Effective interpersonal skills
Tasks: Direct passengers during emergency evacuation procedures
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 21, 2023
  • Minimum Education Varies

There are no standard educational requirements for bus drivers. However, specific driver training is required.

Alberta uses a system of classified driver licensing. It sets medical standards, including drug screening. It also sets licensing requirements for handling specific types of vehicles. Drivers seeking a Class 2 (bus) driver’s license are required to complete Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) to apply for their commercial license.

Employers may provide the training required to allow newly hired bus drivers to upgrade their licences. In Alberta, that means changing from a Class 5 operator’s licence to the required Class 2 level. Depending on the type of bus, an air brakes endorsement may be needed as well. Some bus lines require motor coach drivers to have a Class 1 licence.

Many bus and transit companies provide 3- to 6-week training programs. They cover important aspects of driving such as:

  • Defensive driving skills
  • Traffic laws
  • Bus schedule information
  • Customer service training

In Alberta, Class 2 school bus driving programs are offered by some public colleges and private vocational schools. Program length, cost, and admission requirements vary. Students should be at least 18 years old. They should have a valid Alberta Class 5 driver’s licence. Other requirements may include:

  • A clean driving record
  • A minimum number of demerits
  • A medical examination
  • Drug screening

Before enrolling in a program, prospective students should talk with bus drivers and employers about training and employment options.

Applicants must pass a pre-employment medical or physical demands check. They must be physically able to do inspection checks, minor maintenance duties, and shoulder checks when driving. Individual employers may also require applicants to:

  • Read maps
  • Know basic traffic laws and regulations
  • Know local traffic bylaws and the Traffic Safety Act [pdf]
  • Have a high school diploma or an equivalent combination of training and experience
  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Have at least 1 to 2 years of driving experience
  • Pass a criminal record check
  • Pass a vulnerable sector search
  • Be able to enter the United States (for motor coach drivers)

Employers prefer to hire bus drivers who have:

  • Customer service skills
  • Experience dealing with the public
  • Experience driving larger vehicles
  • Emergency first aid certification
  • A clean driving record

For a list of driving schools in Alberta, please go to the Alberta Transportation website.

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 21, 2023
  • Certification Not Regulated

There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation in Alberta.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 21, 2023

Bus drivers work for:

  • Municipal transit systems
  • School bus companies
  • Long-distance bus lines
  • Tour bus lines
  • Charter bus services

Most positions are part time or seasonal.

Large transit systems and motor coach companies may use video-based selection tools and written tests to screen job applicants.

With experience and initiative, some drivers move into other positions in related areas. These include dispatching, office management, safety, training, and vehicle maintenance.

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 7512: Bus drivers, subway operators and other transit operators occupational group, 82.9% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

In Alberta, the 7512: Bus drivers, subway operators and other transit operators occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 4.2% from 2021 to 2025. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 531 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: 2021-2025 Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 21, 2023

Bus drivers’ earnings vary depending on location and employer. Motor coach drivers may earn hourly wages or flat fees on a contract basis for tours and special charters. Long-distance drivers may be paid by the mile. School bus drivers may have different rates of pay based on whether they have a fixed route or a special-needs route. They work about 180 days a year and are paid on a daily or flat-rate basis.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Bus drivers, subway operators and other transit operators

2016 NOC: 7512
Average Wage
Per Hour
Average Salary
Per Year
Average Hours
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

2021 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 7512 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production), and other forms of compensation.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $15.00 $42.50 $22.65 $20.10
Overall $15.00 $42.50 $24.20 $22.00
Top $15.00 $42.50 $26.11 $22.50

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information

Retail Trade
Transportation and Warehousing
Educational Services
Health Care & Social Assistance
Public Administration

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
Vacancy Rate
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Driver Training

Updated Mar 21, 2023. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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