Duties and responsibilities
A bus mechanic is an experienced mechanic who is responsible for repairing (yep you guessed it) busses! They will work to plan, schedule and perform repair and preventative maintenance on busses. They will usually work for a bus company or district bus fleet and their typical duties and responsibilities include:
- Plan and implement a program of scheduled preventative maintenance for any busses they are responsible for
- Performing mechanical repairs on buses to include major overhauls if directed
- Making emergency service calls for stranded buses
- Ensuring that all necessary stock is ordered
- Ensuring that the shop/working area in a clean, orderly and safe condition
- Maintaining, repairing, and inspecting the busses tires and rims
- Replacing and adjusting brakes, belts, and hoses
- Performing complete safety inspections on busses, as required
- Estimating the time, material, and equipment needed for assigned jobs
Bus mechanics will most likely need a to have completed high school classes in automotive repair, electronics, computers and mathematics. In order to have the best employment chances, it is also recommended to complete a vocational or other postsecondary education program in automotive service technology.
It is not essential to gain certification, but it is highly advised. To become certified, bus mechanics must have at least 2 years of experience (or relevant schooling and 1 year of experience) and pass an exam. Certification is available in nine different automobile specialty areas: automatic transmission/transaxle, brakes, light vehicle diesel engines, electrical/electronic systems, engine performance, engine repair, heating and air-conditioning, manual drive train and axles, and suspension and steering.
Skills and relevant work experience
To become a bus mechanics, you will need skills and talents such as:
- Physical fitness and stamina, as bus mechanics will need to stand up for long periods of time, lift heavy materials and potentially work in small and cramped spaces
- Organizational skills, as they will need to manage the schedule of when each bus is to undergo maintenance
- Attention to detail, as spotting issues and restoring damage requires someone who can notice even the smallest imperfections
- Time management skills, as bus mechanics will need to ensure that repairs are completed before the deadline. They will also potentially need to manage the time of other mechanics
- Dexterity, as master mechanics will have to carefully fix many issues, using various tools, which requires a steady hand and excellent hand-eye coordination
- Critical thinking skills, as master mechanics must be able to accurately evaluate vehicle damage and determine necessary repair strategies
The majority of bus mechanics will work full time. They may have to work evenings, weekends and overtime if necessary to meet deadlines.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for mechanics was $42,090 in May 2019. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $24,740 and the highest 10 percent earned more than $68,880. Bus mechanics can expect to earn somewhere in this range too.
Bus mechanics may decide to progress to master mechanics. To do this, they need to obtain certification in all speciality areas and have experience in the industry.