Rail transportation has been on the uprise since the 19th century, when it became the central unifying force for the United States, connecting the east and west coasts. About 75% of workers in the railroad industry are part of a worker’s union, locking in high wages and great benefits for all workers. The most common jobs in the railroad industry include yard laborers, engineers, and conductors.
All railroad workers are required to have a high school diploma or GED and typically begin their careers in the train yard working as a laborer. With additional training, they can work their way up to becoming a yard manager, train engineer, or train conductor. Good eye-sight and hand-eye coordination as well as physical stamina are required for these jobs. To become a train engineer, an individual must be at least 22 years of age and must pass a required training program created by the Federal Railroad Administration. Train conductors must be at least 21 years of age and must pass on-site training provided by the company that they work for.