Careers in the Rail Industry

A train conductor guides two older passengers toward their traincar.

Railroad Conductor or Yardmaster

Railroad conductors and yardmasters coordinate activities of switch-engine crew within railroad yard, industrial plant, or similar location. Conductors coordinate activities of the train crew on passenger or freight trains. Yardmasters review train schedules and switching orders and coordinate activities of workers engaged in railroad traffic operations, such as the makeup or breakup of trains and yard switching.

(avg salary: $55,820/yr)

Several machines work on repairing track near a remote station.

Rail-Track Laying and Maintenance Equipment Operator

Rail-track laying and maintenance equipment operators lay, repair, and maintain track for standard or narrow-gauge railroad equipment used in regular railroad service or in plant yards, quarries, sand and gravel pits, and mines. This career field includes ballast cleaning machine operators and railroad bed tamping machine operators.

(avg salary: $50,740/yr)

Two men stand before a laptop in a server room.

Computer and Information Systems Manager

Computer and information systems managers plan, direct, or coordinate activities in fields like electronic data processing, information systems, systems analysis, and computer programming.

(avg salary: $136,280/yr)

Two member of a police force in an office.

Transit and Railroad Police Officer

Transit and railroad police officers protect and police railroad and transit property, employees, or passengers.

(avg salary: $53,170/yr)

Close up of a man in uniform wearing a security badge.

Security Guard

Security guards guard, patrol, or monitor premises to prevent theft, violence, or infractions of rules. These workers may also operate x-ray and metal detector equipment.

(avg salary: $28,040/yr)

Female electrician cuts a wire.


Electricians install, maintain, and repair electrical power, communications, lighting, and control systems in homes, businesses, and factories. Although most electricians learn through an apprenticeship, some start out by attending a technical school. Most states require electricians to be licensed.

(avg salary: $51,800/yr)

Worker stands atop a telephone pole, working on the wires.

Telecommuniations Equipment Installer and Repairer

Telecommunications equipment installers and repairers set up and maintain devices or equipment that carry communications signals, connect to telephone lines, and access the Internet. They generally work in central offices or electronic service centers. Some technicians must travel frequently to installation and repair sites. Telecommunications equipment installers and repairers typically need a postsecondary education in electronics, telecommunications, or computer technology, and receive on-the-job training. Industry certification is required for some positions.

(avg salary: $54,570/yr)

Man holds a trigger while an explosion sprays dirt in the background.

Explosives Worker, Ordnance Handling Expert, and Blaster

Explosives workers, ordinance handling experts and blasters place and detonate explosives to demolish structures or to loosen, remove, or displace earth, rock, or other materials. These experts may also perform specialized handling, storage, and accounting procedures. The career group includes seismograph shooters.

(avg salary: $52,580/yr)