USA Career Guide- Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters
Education needed to be Railroad Conductors and YardmastersTo become conductors and yardmasters you should have at least a high school diploma or equivalent. Some take training courses at a community college.
Most railroad companies have 1 to 3 months of on-the-job training for conductors and yardmasters. Amtrak (the passenger train company) and some of the larger freight railroad companies operate their own training programs. Smaller and regional railroads may send conductors to a central training facility or a community college. Yardmasters may be sent to training programs or may be trained by an experienced yardmaster.
Recent legislation will soon require conductors who operate on national, regional, or commuter railroads to become certified. New conductors will have to pass a test that has been designed and administered by the railroad and approved by the Federal Railroad Administration. Existing conductors will be granted automatic certification.
Pay of Railroad Conductors and YardmastersThe median annual wage of conductors and yardmasters was $49,770 in May 2010. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $33,510 and the top 10 percent earned more than $76,270.
The median annual wage of conductors and yardmasters in the rail transportation industry, where most are employed, was $48,580 in May 2010.
Job Prospects of Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters
Employment of railroad conductors and yardmasters is projected to grow 5 percent from 2010 to 2020, slower than the average for all occupations.
Job opportunities should be favorable for this occupation. Although workers typically stay in railroad conductor and yardmaster jobs longer than workers in many other occupations, more conductors and yardmasters are nearing retirement than are workers in most occupations. When these workers begin to retire, many jobs should open up.
Industrial Overview of Railroad Conductors and YardmastersConductors and yardmasters held about 40,800 jobs in 2010. Almost 90 percent of conductors and yardmasters work in the rail transportation industry.