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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.

  • Avg. Salary $40,374.00
  • Avg. Wage $24.94
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook below avg
  • Employed 13,800
  • In Demand Medium
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: Bus and Streetcar Drivers (7412.1) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Bus Drivers and Subway and Other Transit Operators (H712) 
  • 2011 NOC: Bus drivers, subway operators and other transit operators (7512) 
  • 2016 NOC: Bus drivers, subway operators and other transit operators (7512) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

Average Wage
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg
Interest Codes
The Bus Driver is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Bus and Streetcar Drivers

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

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 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 More

Updated Mar 14, 2018

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

  • drive in a safe and courteous manner
  • greet passengers and answer questions
  • follow set routes and schedules
  • may 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 14, 2018

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 fieldtrips 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.

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

  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 14, 2018

Bus drivers need to possess:

  • 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.
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 14, 2018

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. 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 required 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 clear 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:

  • good customer service skills
  • experience dealing with the public
  • experience driving larger vehicles
  • emergency first aid certification
  • a clear driving record.

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

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 14, 2018

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

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 14, 2018

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.

Bus drivers are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 7512: Bus drivers, subway operators and other transit operators. In Alberta, 82% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities that come up when people leave existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities that come up when new positions are created)
  • size of the occupation.

In Alberta, the 7512: Bus drivers, subway operators and other transit operators occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.3% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 176 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years. 

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 14, 2018

Bus drivers’ earnings vary considerably 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.

Bus drivers, subway operators and other transit operators

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $15.00 $30.92 $21.55 $21.83
Overall $15.00 $35.83 $24.94 $23.46
Top $15.00 $39.57 $25.75 $24.89

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.

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.

Industry Information
Public Administration
Other Services (Repair, Personal Services and Related)
Transportation and Warehousing
Retail Trade
Health Care & Social Assistance
Educational Services
Information, Culture, Recreation

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 14, 2018. 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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