Railroad Occupations

Quick Facts: Railroad Workers

2012 Median Pay
$52,400 per year
$25.19 per hour

Entry-Level Education
High school diploma or equivalent

Work Experience in a Related Occupation
See How to Become One

On-the-job Training
Moderate-term on-the-job training

Number of Jobs, 2012

Job Outlook, 2012-22
-3% (Decline)

Employment Change, 2012-22

What Railroad Workers Do
Workers in railroad occupations ensure that passenger and freight trains run on time and travel safely. Some workers drive trains, some coordinate the activities of the trains, while others operate signals and switches in the rail yard.

Work Environment
Nearly all locomotive engineers; conductors and yardmasters; and brake, signal, and switch operators work in the rail transportation industry. Rail yard engineers work in rail transportation and also support activities for rail.

How to Become a Railroad Worker
Railroad occupations generally require a high school diploma and several months of on-the-job training.

The median annual wage for all railroad occupations was $52,400 in May 2012.

Job Outlook
Employment of railroad occupations is projected to decline 3 percent from 2012 to 2022. Although demand for rail transportation may grow, an increase in productivity may hold back employment growth in rail occupations.