Conductor and Yardmaster

Conductor and Engineer, Conductor, Freight, Conductor/Brakeman, Outbound Operator, Outbound Supervisor   More Names
Passenger Car Conductor, Test Conductor, Ticket Collector, Train Master, Yard Spotter

Conductors are responsible for the train while it is moving, and yardmasters are responsible for the movement of the train within the yard when it has no passengers. Conductors (primarily on commuter and heavy rail) coordinate train crew activities, make announcements, interact with passengers, collect tickets and fares, and issue citations to those without fares. In smaller transit agencies, they also often perform yardmaster duties, overseeing the crews that handle car switches.

Yardmasters maintain the safe and efficient movement of trains throughout the yard by coordinating the work of engineers, and they determine which cars go out for service. This position is being phased out.

Both positions involve some degree of stress, conductors because they deal with the public, and yardmasters because their actions influence the overall efficiency and on-time arrival and departure of trains throughout the system.

Yardmasters may be required to work long shifts and be available to work on short notice, while conductor shifts may be more predictable and scheduled well in advance. Conductors are in charge of the overall train crew. They are detail-oriented and require a strong knowledge of train operation policies and procedures and good communication, organization, supervisory, and customer service skills. Conductors and yardmasters work closely with locomotive engineers and supervise brakemen.

Conductors and yardmasters must have a high school diploma or pass the general educational development (GED) exam. Previous experience in rail operations, as well as certification as a train operator (frequently from the Northeast Operating Rules Advisory Committee - NORAC) is required. 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:  
-2% - Decline slowly or moderately
Typical Wages (National):  
Annual: $47,190 - $67,950    Hourly: $23 - $33

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

Physical/Medical/Health Requirements


Legal Requirements
Similar Careers

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Typical Education: High School or GED (HS)
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Typical Education: High School or GED (HS)
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Typical Education: High School or GED (HS)
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(Data Drawn from O*NET)

Career Snapshot

Typical Education:

High School or GED (HS)
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Percent Job Growth:

-2% - Decline slowly or moderately
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Typical Wages:

Annual: $47,190 - $67,950

Hourly: $23 - $33