How to Become a Taxi Driver
Taxi Driver Careers & Degrees

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Taxi Drivers provide a great way for the public to get from point A to point B.

These professionals help their clients get to a variety of locations through several types of environments in order to achieve this task.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2008, there were over 200,000 Taxi Drivers and related professionals in the United States.

The BLS also reports that approximately 26 percent of these professionals are self employed with the majority of these workers employed in large metropolitan areas.

These professionals must be able to commute through all kinds of traffic and weather conditions while remaining at ease and personable to their clients.

For more information regarding this profession and how to get started in the field, read the information below.

Included below you will find the education requirements, salary and wage data and the projected growth through the year 2018.

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Education Requirements to Become a Taxi Driver

The regulations and licensing requirements to become a Taxi Driver are set by local governments and jurisdictions.

Candidates should have a minimum of a high school diploma or its equivalent and have the ability to acquire a license, depending on their jurisdiction.

Some skills that benefit people in this trade include having the ability to interact with several types of people, a basic understanding of mathematics and the ability to read maps, directions or use a GPS system.

Depending on the jurisdiction or city an applicant may be required by law to complete a training session lasting up to a week in order to become a Taxi Driver.

This training will involve teaching the basic understanding of a taximeter, the device that estimates a trip’s cost.

During training, Taxi Drivers will learn how to use communication equipment, learn safe driving advice and the best driving routes to popular locations.

Candidates must follow their state’s licensing regulations in order to become a Taxi Driver.

To begin with this process, candidates must have a regular driver’s license and have a clean driving record.

For urban areas and larger cities, a candidate may have to contact the jurisdiction’s taxi commission.

Taxi commissions are responsible for setting requirements for both drivers and companies.

Taxi Driver Job Description

A Taxi Driver’s main duty is to get their clients to several types of locations within a specified amount of time.

Typical locations include: homes, work, restaurants and entertainment locations.

A Taxi Driver begins their day by observing their vehicle making sure it is ready for the day.

A Taxi Driver may own their own vehicle or rent it from a company often referred to as a fleet.

A Taxi Driver will remain attentive listening to a radio from a dispatch service, wait in line at a cab or taxi line or cruise the streets for potential patrons.

After picking up a patron, they will ask for the desired destination and try to get there in a reasonable amount of time.

After reaching the patron’s desired location, the Taxi Driver will collect the fare including tip.

They will repeat this throughout their work day and transport as many patrons as they can in one day.

Taxi Driver Salary and Career Path

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median wage for Taxi Drivers during the year 2008 was approximately $21,550 per year.

The salary range for these professionals during the same year was approximately $17,770 to $26,800.

This report doesn’t mention whether tips are included in these wages which are common in this type of profession.

The exact wage and salary will vary considerably among people in this trade.

This is partly due to the fluctuating prices in gas which Taxi Drivers have to pay out of pocket.

In addition to paying for gas out of pocket, Taxi Drivers also have to lease their vehicles from their employer, pay for any maintenance and insurance.

Other factors affecting salaries include geographical location and tips received from customers.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reports that the job outlook for this profession is expected to grow faster than average at 16 percent through the year 2018.

This expected growth is attributed to a growing tourism industry as well as an increase in business travel.

People who want to become a Taxi Driver should expect plenty of job opportunities in this industry.

Candidates with a safe driving record, good people skills and a flexible schedule should be able to succeed in this profession.

The below information is based on the 2019 BLS national averages.
  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary

$33,210
$19K
$24K
$33K
$39K
$49K
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%

Average Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
Alabama$19,560
Alaska$44,230
Arizona$32,100
Arkansas$22,550
California$37,460
Colorado$34,630
Connecticut$37,620
Delaware$35,040
District of Columbia$38,990
Florida$28,210
Georgia$26,910
Hawaii$35,160
Idaho$29,060
Illinois$35,350
Indiana$31,130
Iowa$36,760
Kansas$29,180
Kentucky$33,680
Louisiana$27,010
Maine$34,680
Maryland$37,090
Massachusetts$41,030
Michigan$32,910
Minnesota$36,800
Mississippi$22,250
Missouri$29,770
Montana$32,430
Nebraska$34,230
Nevada$28,380
New Hampshire$32,490
New Jersey$36,700
New Mexico$26,640
New York$41,600
North Carolina$28,160
North Dakota$38,330
Ohio$31,790
Oklahoma$25,240
Oregon$33,590
Pennsylvania$30,720
Rhode Island$38,760
South Carolina$25,350
South Dakota$30,050
Tennessee$28,070
Texas$27,570
Utah$35,900
Vermont$37,520
Virginia$32,470
Washington$41,590
West Virginia$25,940
Wisconsin$31,630
Wyoming$35,410
Guam$26,810
Puerto Rico$18,980
Virgin Islands$31,250

The top earning state in the field is Alaska, where the average salary is $44,230.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

Alaska - $44,230
New York - $41,600
Washington - $41,590
Massachusetts - $41,030
District of Columbia - $38,990
* Salary information based on the May 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Passenger Vehicle Drivers, Except Bus Drivers, Transit and Intercity, OCC Code 53-3058, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

QuestionWhat does a taxi driver do?

Taxi drivers drive people to different places in a taxi cab.

After finding out where the passenger is going, the taxi driver asks for directions or uses GPS to find the place.

As a taxi driver, you should know the local streets very well because you will often have to find traffic routes that help you avoid heavy traffic.

They also have the responsibility of keeping the interior of the cab clean.

To be able to perform this job you will also need good interpersonal and communication skills.

Some taxi drivers start their own business by purchasing a taxi cab rather than leasing one from a dispatching company.

If you want to start your own cab service, you will also need business skills.

As a taxi driver, you may have to work weekend, evening or night schedules.

QuestionHow much does a taxi driver make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for taxi drivers, ride-hailing drivers and chauffeurs was $25,980 in May 2018.

However, salaries vary based on a wide range of factors and, as a taxi driver, you can make anywhere between less than $20,000 and more than $40,000 a year.

The above numbers also include tips.

Taxi drivers who have good interpersonal skills and provide good service may receive higher tips on each fare.

QuestionHow much does it cost to become a taxi driver?

All taxi drivers must have an automobile driver’s license.

Driving lessons cost somewhere between $50-$80 per hour, but costs vary depending on the school you choose and the region.

Other than this, there are no formal educational requirements for taxi drivers but they typically hold a high school diploma or equivalent.

Many states require taxi drivers to get a taxi license; clean driving records and background checks are sometimes required.

Most taxi drivers go through a brief training period after being hired by a cab company.

This training period usually lasts a few days and covers local traffic laws, driver safety, and local street layout and also teaches drivers how to operate the taximeter and communications equipment.

QuestionWhat is the demand for taxi drivers?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the overall employment for taxi drivers, ride-hailing drivers, and chauffeurs is expected to grow 20 percent from 2018 to 2028.

Job prospects are expected to be good especially for ride-hailing drivers who use smartphone apps.

Self-employment in this field is expected to grow 37 percent in the same decade.

QuestionHow long does it take to become a taxi driver?

There are no formal educational requirements for taxi drivers, other than holding a regular driver’s license.

However, state and local regulations may set additional requirements.

Most states require taxi drivers to hold a taxi license, which means that they must pass a background check, drug test and a written exam about local regulations and geography.

After being hired by a cab company you will typically complete a training period that lasts a few days and teaches you how to use communications equipment and the meter and will also cover topics such as local laws, driver safety, and local street layout.

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