MIDLAND, Texas — There is already a shortage of some professions in the Permian Basin, from doctors to teachers, policeman and firefighters, but here is another: school bus drivers.
Midland Independent School District currently has 71 bus drivers on the road, but the district is still in need of 60 more.
“I think out here it’s pretty much the same as it is all over Midland, we have a shortage," said Carrie Lovett, MISD bus driver.
The drivers the district currently have feel the pressures of being understaffed.
MISD is trying to make due with what they have but it's been tricky with a growing population of students.
“Well the need for bus drivers is simple, there's just a huge shortage of bus drivers with the amount of kids we have," Maurice Ellis, MISD bus driver said. "We pack our buses, they’re full."
Ellis says there are three students to a seat sometimes.
Drivers are having to work especially hard to make sure the job gets done.
“The drivers have to go out and pick up kids twice, get two, three bus loads," Ellis said. "If we had more people here it would be less stress on the other drivers."
The job is part time and starting pay is $15.70 an hour. So what are the requirements to be a bus driver?
You have to be:
- 18 years or older
- Have a commercial driver’s license
- Must go through a 20 hour certification course
- DPS physical
- Pass a drug and alcohol test
For Lovett, who has been a bus driver for nearly two decades, says while the job has its challenges it’s been worth it.
"When my kids were riding the school bus I tried to treat everyone else’s kids like I hope somebody would treat mine" Lovett said. "I enjoy it."
If you are interested in becoming a bus driver for the district, you can apply here.