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Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters

Coordinate activities of switch-engine crew within railroad yard, industrial plant, or similar location. Conductors coordinate activities of 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.   (O'Net 53-4031.00)

 
Reported job titles:   Agent, Car Chaser, Car Dispatcher, Car Distributor, Car Spotter, Centralized Traffic Control Operator (CTC Operator)   (view all job titles)
 
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  • Wages
  • Employment Trends
  • Industries of Employment
  • Tasks
  • Knowledge
  • Skills
  • Abilities
  • Work Activities
  • Interests
  • Work Styles
  • License Information
  • Education & Training Requirements
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    Career Video
    related to Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters
    Railroad Yardmasters photo Railroad Yardmasters
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    Transportation, Distribution and Logistics photo Transportation, Distribution and Logistics
    Additional videos and more information available at
     


    Wages
    for Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters
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    No wage data for this occupation.
     


    Employment Trends
    for Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters
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    No trend data for this occupation.
     


    Industries of Employment
    for Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters
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    Industry Percent of Total
    2014
    Rail transportation 91.9%
    Local government, excluding education and hospitals 6.8%
    Support activities for transportation 0.6%
    Scenic and sightseeing transportation 0.2%
    source: Employment Projections, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Employment Matrix, released July 2016.
     


    Tasks
    for Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters
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  • Signal engineers to begin train runs, stop trains, or change speed, using telecommunications equipment or hand signals.
     
  • Confer with engineers regarding train routes, timetables, and cargoes, and to discuss alternative routes when there are rail defects or obstructions.
     
  • Receive information regarding train or rail problems from dispatchers or from electronic monitoring devices.
     
  • Receive instructions from dispatchers regarding trains' routes, timetables, and cargoes.
     
  • Direct and instruct workers engaged in yard activities, such as switching tracks, coupling and uncoupling cars, and routing inbound and outbound traffic.
     
  • Operate controls to activate track switches and traffic signals.
     
  • 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.
     
  • Arrange for the removal of defective cars from trains at stations or stops.
     
  • Direct engineers to move cars to fit planned train configurations, combining or separating cars to make up or break up trains.
     
  • Inspect each car periodically during runs.
     
    source: Occupational Information Network: Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters  updated July 2013
     


    Knowledge
    for Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters
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  • 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.
     
  • Transportation - Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
     
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
     
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
     
  • 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.
     
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
     
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
     
  • Law and Government - Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
     
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
     
  • Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
     
    source: Occupational Information Network: Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters  updated July 2013
     


    Skills
    for Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters
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  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
     
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
     
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
     
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
     
  • 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.
     
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
     
  • Time Management - Managing one's own time and the time of others.
     
  • Operation Monitoring - Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
     
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
     
  • Operation and Control - Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
     
    source: Occupational Information Network: Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters  updated July 2013
     


    Abilities
    for Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters
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  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
     
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
     
  • 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.
     
  • Far Vision - The ability to see details at a distance.
     
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
     
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
     
  • Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
     
  • 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).
     
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
     
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
     
    source: Occupational Information Network: Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters  updated July 2013
     


    Work Activities
    for Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters
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  • Getting Information - Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
     
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material - Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
     
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates - Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
     
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events - Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
     
  • 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.
     
  • Documenting/Recording Information - Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
     
  • 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.
     
  • Handling and Moving Objects - Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
     
  • Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings - Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
     
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work - Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
     
    source: Occupational Information Network: Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters  updated July 2013
     


    Interests
    for Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters
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  • 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 outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
     
  • 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.
     
    source: Occupational Information Network: Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters  updated June 2008
     


    Work Styles
    for Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters
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  • Attention to Detail - Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
     
  • Dependability - Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
     
  • Integrity - Job requires being honest and ethical.
     
  • Self Control - Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
     
  • Independence - Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
     
  • Cooperation - Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
     
  • Adaptability/Flexibility - Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
     
  • Concern for Others - Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
     
  • Stress Tolerance - Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
     
  • Analytical Thinking - Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
     
    source: Occupational Information Network: Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters  updated July 2013
     


    State of Vermont License Information
    that may be required for Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters
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    No state licenses listed for this occupation.
     


    Education and Training Requirements
    for Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters
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  • Job Zone Two: Some Preparation Needed
  •  
  • Education: These occupations usually require a high school diploma.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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    source: Occupational Information Network: Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters  updated July 2013
     


    Schools
    offering instructional programs related to Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters
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      Related Instructional Programs
     
    • Railroad and Railway Transportation. (NEW)
     
     Search for schools offering these programs at
     
     
     
    source: National Center for Education Statistics 2000 Classification of Instructional Programs .
     


    Other Resources
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  • Labor Exchange Information
  • A source for occupational characteristics, such as age, gender, race, and years of education and an alternative source for occupational wage rates. Limited to people looking for jobs and the jobs advertised through VDOL Vermont Job Link.
  • Look for statewide information over the latest 12 months for Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters.
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  • Occupational Outlook Handbook
  • The Occupational Outlook Handbook is a nationally recognized source of career information, designed to provide valuable assistance to individuals making decisions about their future work lives. Revised every two years, the Handbook describes what workers do on the job, working conditions, the training and education needed, earnings, and expected job prospects in a wide range of occupations.
    Go to Occupational Outlook Handbook
    Handbook occupations related to Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters :
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    Related Occupations
    Occupations with skill requirements similar to Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters
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  • Aircraft Cargo Handling Supervisors
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  • First-Line Supervisors of Agricultural Crop and Horticultural Workers
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  • Locomotive Engineers
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  • Locomotive Firers
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  • Mates- Ship, Boat, and Barge
  •  
  • Motorboat Operators
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  • Rail Yard Engineers, Dinkey Operators, and Hostlers
  •  
  • Railroad Brake, Signal, and Switch Operators
  •  
  • Shipping, Receiving, and Traffic Clerks
  •  
  • Transit and Railroad Police
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    source: Occupational Information Network: Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters 
     

     
     
     
    Vermont.gov State of Vermont Department of Labor