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Utah school districts facing bus driver shortage ahead of new school year

A bus driver shortage is hitting Utah hard just in time for the new school year. (Mark Wetzel, KSL-TV)



Estimated read time: 1-2 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — A bus driver shortage is hitting Utah hard just in time for the new school year.

A transportation trades publication recently estimated that nearly 80% of districts across the country need drivers desperately, and 81% said the pandemic has exacerbated the situation.

So if you're looking for full-time, part-time or substitute work — here's the rundown on what it takes to be a school bus driver in Utah.

Bus driver requirements for Utah

  • A commercial driver's license or CDL. You don't have to have one to apply, but know that's part of the process.
  • At least 21 years old
  • A current, valid driver license
  • No more than two traffic tickets or crashes on your record in the last 24 months
  • Zero DUI convictions within the last 10 years

"It adds a little bit more anxiety and stress to our office staff and mechanics because then it leaves our normal jobs undone — so you're doing double duty, a lot of overtime hours," said Jeremy Wardle, director of transportation for the Canyons School District.

Wardle said it's the mechanics and office staff who are trained as backup bus drivers who are picking up the slack.

They're short nearly 30 drivers when, during a typical year, they'd only need half a dozen, and there are a lot of open positions up and down the Wasatch Front and down to Washington County.

Wages range from $18 an hour to over $22 an hour in the Granite and Murray school districts.

Some of the recent positions have been filled but districts are always hiring backups as well, so check even the recently closed applications to toss your hat in the ring.

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Dan Spindle

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