CareerGPS

Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters
Summary Occupational Forecast Data for Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters
Employment Employment Change Average Annual Job Openings Wage & Training Levels
2018 2023 Numerical Percent New Jobs Replacement Jobs Total Median Hourly Median Annual Training Levels
253 257 4 1.45% 1 23 24 $28.65 $59,587 High school diploma or equivalent
Description: Conductors coordinate activities of train crew on passenger or freight train. Coordinate activities of switch-engine crew within yard of railroad, industrial plant, or similar location. Yardmasters coordinate activities of workers engaged in railroad traffic operations, such as the makeup or breakup of trains, yard switching, and review train schedules and switching orders.
Staffing Pattern Data Forecast Data Source: EMSI (2nd Quarter 2018)

Occupation Details

The information in this section represents occupational characteristics included in O*NET which defines key features of an occupation as a standardized, measurable set of variables called "descriptors". These distinguishing characteristics of an occupation are described in greater detail in the O*NET Content Model. All items are listed in descending order of importance.

  • Signal engineers to begin train runs, stop trains, or change speed, using telecommunications equipment or hand signals.
  • Receive information regarding train or rail problems from dispatchers or from electronic monitoring devices.
  • Direct and instruct workers engaged in yard activities, such as switching tracks, coupling and uncoupling cars, and routing inbound and outbound traffic.
  • Keep records of the contents and destination of each train car, and make sure that cars are added or removed at proper points on routes.
  • Operate controls to activate track switches and traffic signals.
  • Instruct workers to set warning signals in front and at rear of trains during emergency stops.
  • Direct engineers to move cars to fit planned train configurations, combining or separating cars to make up or break up trains.
  • Receive instructions from dispatchers regarding trains' routes, timetables, and cargoes.
  • Review schedules, switching orders, way bills, and shipping records to obtain cargo loading and unloading information and to plan work.
  • Confer with engineers regarding train routes, timetables, and cargoes, and to discuss alternative routes when there are rail defects or obstructions.
  • Arrange for the removal of defective cars from trains at stations or stops.
  • Inspect each car periodically during runs.
  • Observe yard traffic to determine tracks available to accommodate inbound and outbound traffic.
  • Document and prepare reports of accidents, unscheduled stops, or delays.
  • Confirm routes and destination information for freight cars.

Knowledge

74%
Transportation - Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
57%
Public Safety and Security - Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
52%
Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.

Skills

72%
Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
69%
Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
65%
Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
65%
Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
65%
Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
65%
Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
62%
Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
62%
Time Management - Managing one's own time and the time of others.
62%
Operation Monitoring - Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
56%
Management of Personnel Resources - Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.
53%
Operation and Control - Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
53%
Quality Control Analysis - Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
53%
Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
50%
Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
50%
Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

Abilities

75%
Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
72%
Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
72%
Far Vision - The ability to see details at a distance.
69%
Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
69%
Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
69%
Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
66%
Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
62%
Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
62%
Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
62%
Depth Perception - The ability to judge which of several objects is closer or farther away from you, or to judge the distance between you and an object.
60%
Auditory Attention - The ability to focus on a single source of sound in the presence of other distracting sounds.
60%
Reaction Time - The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
60%
Multilimb Coordination - The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
60%
Visualization - The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
56%
Selective Attention - The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
56%
Category Flexibility - The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
56%
Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
56%
Perceptual Speed - The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes compa
53%
Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
53%
Flexibility of Closure - The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
53%
Control Precision - The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
53%
Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
53%
Arm-Hand Steadiness - The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
50%
Rate Control - The ability to time your movements or the movement of a piece of equipment in anticipation of changes in the speed and/or direction of a moving object or scene.
50%
Hearing Sensitivity - The ability to detect or tell the differences between sounds that vary in pitch and loudness.

Work Activities

88%
Getting Information - Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
81%
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates - Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
79%
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events - Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
79%
Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards - Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
75%
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material - Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
73%
Making Decisions and Solving Problems - Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
69%
Documenting/Recording Information - Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
69%
Performing General Physical Activities - Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
67%
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work - Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
66%
Controlling Machines and Processes - Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
66%
Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings - Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
62%
Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others - Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
59%
Processing Information - Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
57%
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge - Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
57%
Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment - Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.
56%
Handling and Moving Objects - Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
56%
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships - Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Title Job Zone Two: Some Preparation Needed
Overall Experience Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.
Job Training Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
Job Zone Examples These occupations often involve using your knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include sheet metal workers, forest fire fighters, customer service representatives, physical therapist aides, salespersons (retail), and tellers.
Education These occupations usually require a high school diploma.

Interests

Enterprising - Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outsi
Conventional - Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Work Styles

Dependability - Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Attention to Detail - Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Stress Tolerance - Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
Cooperation - Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Self Control - Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.

Work Values

Support - Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
Independence - Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.