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How to Become a Taxi Driver or Chauffeur

Most taxi drivers and chauffeurs go through a brief training. Many states require them to get a taxi or limousine license. Although a high school diploma is not required, many taxi drivers and chauffeurs have one.


Most taxi and limousine companies provide their new drivers with a short period of on-the-job training. This training usually takes from 1 day to 2 weeks, depending on the company and the location. Some municipalities require training by law.

Training typically covers local traffic laws, driver safety, and the local street layout. Taxi drivers also get training in operating the taximeter and communications equipment. Taxi drivers are trained in accordance with local regulations; in contrast, limousine chauffeurs usually are trained by their company, and customer service is emphasized. Paratransit drivers receive special training in how to handle wheelchair lifts and other mechanical devices.


All taxi drivers and chauffeurs must have a regular automobile driver’s license. States set other requirements; many require drivers to get a taxi or chauffeur's license, commonly referred to as a “hack” license.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires that limousine drivers who transport at least 16 passengers at a time (including the driver) have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) with a passenger (P) endorsement. To get these, a driver has to pass knowledge and driving skills tests.


Many drivers have a high school diploma; but, generally, it is not required.


Taxi drivers and chauffeurs have limited advancement opportunities. Some take dispatching and managerial positions.

Important Qualities

Basic math skills. Taxi drivers count cash when a customer pays a fare and have to be able to make change quickly.

Customer-service skills. Taxi drivers and chauffeurs regularly interact with their customers and have to represent their company positively and make sure passengers are satisfied with their ride.

Dependability. Customers rely on taxi drivers and chauffeurs to pick them up at the agreed-upon time so they get to their destinations when they need to be there.

Hand-eye coordination. Taxi drivers and chauffeurs have to be able to observe their surroundings while operating a vehicle.

Map reading skills. Although many cabs and limousines have GPS systems, it is still important for taxi drivers and chauffeurs to be able to understand directions and read maps. 

Patience. When driving through heavy traffic congestion or dealing with rude passengers, drivers must be calm and composed.

Visual ability. To hold a drivers license, taxi drivers and chauffeurs must be able to pass a state-issued vision test.

Taxi drivers and chauffeurs usually work without supervision, so they must be self-motivated and able to take initiative to earn a living.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition