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Summary Report for:
53-4031.00 - 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.

Sample of reported job titles: Agent; Conductor; Conductor and Engineer; Conductor, Freight; Conductor/Brakeman; Freight Conductor; Railroad Conductor; Train Master; Trainman; Yardmaster

View report: Summary  Details  Custom

Tasks  |  Tools & Technology  |  Knowledge  |  Skills  |  Abilities  |  Work Activities  |  Work Context  |  Job Zone  |  Education  |  Interests  |  Work Styles  |  Work Values  |  Related Occupations  |  Wages & Employment  |  Job Openings  |  Additional Information

Tasks

  • 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.

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Tools & Technology

Tools used in this occupation:

Bar code reader equipment — Portable bar code scanners
Radio frequency identification devices — Radio frequency identification RFID devices
Rail switching systems — Switching system controls
Specialty wrenches — Switch adjusting wrenches; Terminal wrenches
Truck or rail scales — Weigh-in-motion scales

Technology used in this occupation:

Expert system software — Positive train control PTC systems
Industrial control software — Automated equipment identification AEI software; RailComm DocYard; SAIC Integrated AEI Software; Softrail AEI Automatic Yard Tracking System
Inventory management software — Inventory tracking software; Softrail AEI Rail & Road Manager
Materials requirements planning logistics and supply chain software — Bourque Data Systems YardMaster; Freight reservation software
Office suite software — Microsoft Office software

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Knowledge

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.
English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
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.
Law and Government — Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.

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Skills

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.

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Abilities

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).

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Work Activities

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.

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Work Context

Face-to-Face Discussions — How often do you have to have face-to-face discussions with individuals or teams in this job?
Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — How much does this job require wearing common protective or safety equipment such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hard hats or life jackets?
Outdoors, Exposed to Weather — How often does this job require working outdoors, exposed to all weather conditions?
Duration of Typical Work Week — Number of hours typically worked in one week.
Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — How often does this job require working exposed to sounds and noise levels that are distracting or uncomfortable?
Contact With Others — How much does this job require the worker to be in contact with others (face-to-face, by telephone, or otherwise) in order to perform it?
Work With Work Group or Team — How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?
In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment — How often does this job require working in a closed vehicle or equipment (e.g., car)?
Consequence of Error — How serious would the result usually be if the worker made a mistake that was not readily correctable?
Exposed to Contaminants — How often does this job require working exposed to contaminants (such as pollutants, gases, dust or odors)?

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Job Zone

Title Job Zone Two: Some Preparation Needed
Education These occupations usually require a high school diploma.
Related 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.
SVP Range (4.0 to < 6.0)

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Education


Percentage of Respondents
Education Level Required
86   High school diploma or equivalent Help
  Post-secondary certificate Help
  Associate's degree

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Interests

Interest code: ERC

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.

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Work Styles

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.

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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.
Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.

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Related Occupations

43-5071.00 Shipping, Receiving, and Traffic Clerks   Bright Outlook Bright Outlook   Green Occupation
47-4061.00 Rail-Track Laying and Maintenance Equipment Operators Green Occupation
47-4091.00 Segmental Pavers Bright Outlook
47-5013.00 Service Unit Operators, Oil, Gas, and Mining Green Occupation
53-3032.00 Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers Bright Outlook Green Occupation
53-4011.00 Locomotive Engineers   Green Occupation Green
53-4012.00 Locomotive Firers
53-4013.00 Rail Yard Engineers, Dinkey Operators, and Hostlers
53-4021.00 Railroad Brake, Signal, and Switch Operators
53-4041.00 Subway and Streetcar Operators

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Wages & Employment Trends

National

Median wages (2012) $26.30 hourly, $54,700 annual
Employment (2012) 44,000 employees
Projected growth (2012-2022) Decline (-3% or lower) Decline (-3% or lower)
Projected job openings (2012-2022) 13,300
Top industries (2012)

State & National

          CareerOneStop

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2012 wage data external site and 2012-2022 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2012-2022). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

Find Jobs
for Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters

          mySkills myFuture

State & National Job Banks

          CareerOneStop

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Sources of Additional Information

Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.

  • Railroad Occupations external site. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition.

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