Employment Info About Railroad Jobs

Nearly 86,000 people ride the trains to get to their desired destination. This is a great means for transportation whether it’s a short distance of travel or long. It is the first options for freight transports across the country. This creates the reason why railroad jobs, even in this advanced 21st century, are so important.

There are numerous railroad jobs in the field including train operators, planning engineers, and the support system employees in the stations. All of these have one goal in mind: to manage and coordinate passengers and cargo into the trains and ensure they arrive on time and safely to their destinations.

Railroad Jobs Opportunities

Right now, there are over 100,000 railroad jobs in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In contrast to what most believe, there are many different jobs to apply for in this field. Aside from train operators (drivers), there are numerous other tasks which need to be done in this field; hence the number indicated above.

Locomotive Engineers – are the people who drive the trains. These massive and powerful engines are often run by diesel, electric, and battery in some cases.

Conductors – ensure the safety as well as the comfort of all passengers. They also oversee cargo loading and unloading.

Yardmasters – have the same responsibilities as the conductors but they do not ride the trains. Instead, they stay in the stations. They are in close coordination with the locomotive engineers and the conductors to coordinate information on and off the tracks.

Rail Yard Engineers – also known as hostlers – are the individuals who prepare the trains for the locomotive engineers. They make sure that the trains are running well; fixing minor problems and / or bringing these parts to maintenance shops for major repairs.

Locomotive Firers – are the individuals who check the tracks and other train equipment.

Railroad Switch Operators – ensure the safety of the trains. Duties include maintaining brake systems and signals are functioning properly.

Despite the importance of the rail system and the growing need for this kind of transport, there is a projected decline in the need for railroad jobs. The BLS sees a 3% drop from 2012 to 2022.

This does not mean that hopeful applicants should disregard this field since there is still a need for these positions.

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Railroad Jobs Positions and Salary Information

The median pay for all railroad jobs is approximately $25.00 per hour or $52,400.00 per year. The lowest 10% earned is about $35,000 a year while the top 10% earn over $76,000.00. This, naturally, would depend on the responsibilities and experience one has in the field.

 Conductors  $54,700.00
 Yardmasters  $54,700.00
(As they have practically the same work as conductors)
 Switch Operators  $51,000
 Locomotive Firers    $45,000.00
 Yard Engineers  $41,000.00+
(Similar to Dinkey Operators)

Tips for Applying for Railroad Jobs

While some companies do not require it, others demand that the minimum educational requirement for any of the railroad jobs presented above – especially for locomotive engineers – is a high school diploma or above.

There are community colleges which offer lectures and training modules for all those wanting to work in this field. Completing these courses would certainly help any applicant looking to venture in to this field.

Several months of on-the-job training is usually mandatory to learn this unique trade well. Companies like Amtrak and larger rail companies focused on freight transport primarily. They have their own on-the-job training modules based on their specific operating procedures.

Most company training programs often last two to three months. New employees still undergo these programs even if they have had formal training from community college courses.

Once training is completed testing will be done for specific certification. The Federal Railroad Administration is the certifying organization, although it is the company which often gives the examination.

Ideal qualities applicants should present include physical strength, visual acuity, and good hearing skills. All of these are essential to ensure the safety of the overall system, passengers, employees, and cargo.

Benefits of Working at Railroad Jobs

Aside from good pay that railroad jobs offer, there are also very good benefits included. This is due to the fact that most employees in the field are part of the Union.

Medical, dental, and vision benefits are provided to current workers in the field. In fact, big companies even offer this to new employees who have just undergone their stringent training and difficult qualifications for certification.

It is very essential for rail companies to provide these benefits, as it ensures that their employees get to perform their responsibilities well in the field. Keeping their employees healthy and happy promotes their safety and overall good performance.

Additional Information about Railroad Jobs

Quick advancement in the field is very common. The entry-level jobs include Rail Yard Engineers and Switch Operators. Soon these employees can apply as Conductors and Yardmasters. After a few years of doing those two jobs, they can move up the ladder as Locomotive Engineers.

Job satisfaction is generally high in this field. This is primarily due to the good pay and attractive benefits which employees earn regularly. Again, it could be because most are part of the Union which provides them with job stability and a good working environment.

Seasonal Railroad Jobs

Seasonal railroad jobs primarily do not exist because of the aforementioned Union memberships. Almost all professionals in this field have become members since 2012.

It is also hard for railroad companies to hire people for just a few months a year since training is a mandatory for any occupation in this system. It would be a waste of time and money for these companies to place employees through the entire training process for seasonal workers who will be spending only a couple of months or so in the field.

Relatively speaking, there are fewer railroad jobs to be had compared to all the other industries. Other than that, the decline in the need for these jobs is a bit troubling even for those already working in the field.

Nevertheless, this form of transport is such an important need even in this country wherein cars is the most favored transportation mode.

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