Train Dispatcher

Dispatcher, Motor Vehicle Dispatcher, Relay Dispatcher  

Train dispatchers, which can be found across all modes of rail transportation, monitor train movements from afar, and alert operators about delays, track conditions, emergencies, or schedule changes. The dispatchers ensure trains arrive safely and on time, and are critical to the effective and safe functioning of rail operations. Dispatchers may communicate with vehicle, facilities, track, and road maintenance staff regarding equipment conditions.

Train dispatcher is a senior position, requiring a high level of skill and operator experience. Dispatchers generally report to the manager of train operations. They work in an office-like environment in central control rooms, and may monitor multiple computer screens and radio calls as they oversee multiple trains.

Train dispatchers must be able to work under pressure and stress, as well as multitask in emergency situations. They must have an understanding of rail operation policies and procedures, and have good communication, computer, problem-solving, and organization skills. They also must be detail oriented and familiar with GPS tracking systems and rail equipment.

Train dispatchers must have a high school diploma or pass the general educational development (GED) exam. Prior experience as a train operator or engineer is essential. Many industry employers provide on-the-job training, but click on the "get qualified" tab above to see additional resources for job preparation and training.

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Job Growth and Wages
Percent Job Growth:  
4% - Slower than average
Typical Wages (National):  
Annual: $29,200 - $49,600    Hourly: $14 - $24

Note:  There may be opportunities for overtime work and overtime pay in this occupation.

Physical/Medical/Health Requirements


Legal Requirements

Career Snapshot

Typical Education:

High School or GED (HS)
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Percent Job Growth:

4% - Slower than average
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Typical Wages:

Annual: $29,200 - $49,600

Hourly: $14 - $24