Railroad Conductor: Job Info & Career Requirements
All aboard for a career as a Railroad Conductor. While most envision a Railroad Conductor only as one who assists passengers and collects tickets, a Railroad Conductor actually assumes many other responsibilities, including coordination of the train crew as well as freight shipments, scheduling and train car inspection. No formal degree is required to become a Railroad Conductor, though some community and technical colleges offer certification programs.
Career Definition: Railroad Conductor
A Railroad Conductor work on either a passenger train or a freight train. A Railroad Conductor might work as a service conductor, passenger agent or yard conductor. Generally, they must work in the railroad industry for several years before being promoted to Railroad Conductor.
Duties for a Railroad Conductor, in addition to collecting passenger tickets or train fares and coordinating the transportation of freight and train crews, include reviewing freight documentation, activating traffic signals and track switches and maintaining records and reports pertaining to arrival and departure times, collected tickets and fares, train movements and unscheduled stops and delays.
How to Become a Railroad Conductor
Education Requirements for a Railroad Conductor Career
For the most part, hands-on experience and experience in the railroad industry are the best education for a Railroad Conductor. Some train companies do require those wishing to become a Railroad Conductor to complete a five- or six-week training program offered by a technical school or community college. These programs will often lead to a certificate in Railroad Conductor Technology. Courses in the certification program might include rules of operation, safety, signals, rail equipment and Railroad Conductor duties.
Skills Required for a Railroad Conductor
A Railroad Conductor should have strong mechanical, clerical and customer service skills. Good speaking, organizational and decision-making skills are also vital. Interpersonal skills are important as a Railroad Conductor works closely with train crews, engineers, supervisors, passengers and yard crews.
Career and Economic Outlook for Railroad Conductors
As compared to many other jobs in the railroad industry, Railroad Conductors are expected to see slower than average growth over the next several years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), employment opportunities are expected to grow by 5% between 2010 and 2020. The mean annual salary for a Railroad Conductor was reported as $56,770 in May 2012 by the BLS. In some cases, a Railroad Conductor might be paid according to miles traveled or hours worked, sometimes resulting in higher wages. States in which the most Railroad Conductors were employed in May 2012 included New York, Texas, and Ohio.
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