Railroad Conductor Training Programs and Schools

Railroad conductors oversee train routes and car switching, and they ensure compliance with all government regulations. Get information on finding a conductor training program, see what you'll study, and learn about admission requirements. Schools offering Heavy Equipment degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

While there are a few certificate programs and associate's degrees available, most railroad conductor training is done on the job. Most learning is practical, hands-on and requires physical health on the part of the prospective conductor.

Online Programs are not usually available online
Programs On the Job Training, Certificate Programs and Associate's Degrees
Certification Conductors are federally certified

What Types of Railroad Conductor Training Programs and Schools Are Available?

Railroad conductors receive most of their training on the job through the company they are employed with; however, there are certificate training programs available to prepare you for entry-level conductor positions with a railroad. Your training will typically consist of lecture, demonstrations and hands-on learning, so you will most likely need to attend classes on campus rather than online. Some programs offer internships and orientation opportunities where you can shadow a conductor in a working rail yard prior to completing your classes to make certain this is the career for you.

What About an Associate's Degree?

There are a limited number of associate's degrees available in railroad operations with a conductor option. Your curriculum will typically consist of general education courses along with the same core courses as a certificate program. An option might include an Associate in Science in Railroad Engineering degree. You may also be able to find an Associate of Applied Science in Railroad Operations Technology degree program.

What Will I Study?

Training programs may last several weeks to a couple of months. You will typically have hands-on learning opportunities in an outdoor train yard in all types of weather conditions during the day and night. Railroad conductors are required to be federally certified. Your railroad conductor training curriculum will teach you what you need in your career and typically include training in areas similar to the following:

  • Safety standards
  • Air brake operation
  • Code of operation rules
  • Railroad policies and practices
  • Train handling
  • Mechanical operations
  • Railroad terminology
  • Technical skills
  • History of railroading
  • Business ethics
  • Conductor service
  • General code of operating rules

Are There Any Admissions Requirements?

There are typically several admissions requirements that must be met for acceptance into a railroad conductor training program. This is a physically demanding career, so you must pass a physical exam, body mass index test, drug test, hearing test and a vision exam. The vision exam may consist of tests for depth perception and color blindness. You may be denied admission to a program if you have any felony or DUI convictions within the past two years.

Here are some of the schools you may want to consider during your search for a railroad conductor training program:

  • Dakota County Technical College (Rosemount, MN)
  • Gateway Community College (New Haven, CT)
  • Bucks County Community College (Newtown, PA)
  • Johnson County Community College (Overland Park, KS)
  • Sacramento City College (CA)

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Penn Foster High School

    Penn Foster High School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster High School:

    Online Programs Available

  • Washington-Holmes Technical Center

    Campus Locations:

    • Florida: Chipley
  • Washington County Community College

    Campus Locations:

    • Maine: Calais
  • Washburn Institute of Technology

    Campus Locations:

    • Kansas: Topeka
  • Uintah Basin Applied Technology College

    Campus Locations:

    • Utah: Roosevelt
  • Southern Maine Community College

    Campus Locations:

    • Maine: South Portland
  • South Louisiana Community College

    Campus Locations:

    • Louisiana: Lafayette
  • Somerset County Technology Center

    Campus Locations:

    • Pennsylvania: Somerset
  • The University of Montana

    Campus Locations:

    • Montana: Missoula
  • Santiago Canyon College

    Campus Locations:

    • California: Orange