The nation’s railroads have more than a century-long commitment to the nation’s service men and women, and this year continue to hire veterans at a robust pace. Between 20-25 percent of current employees, and one in five of the more than 15,000 new employees that freight railroads expect to hire in 2012, will likely have served in our nation’s military. There is common sense overlap in personal traits and skill sets of railroad employees with military servicemen and women. Our nation’s veterans have a disciplined background, with special capabilities and qualities that are uniquely suited to help keep freight railroads efficient and safe.
The rail industry offers a diverse range of career options for veterans. Opportunities include:
- Transportation (Engineer, Conductor, Yardmaster)
- Mechanical (Carman, Boilermaker, Mechanic)
- Labor/Engineering (Track Worker, Welder, Signal Worker, Roadway Mechanic)
- Clerical (Crew Dispatcher)
- Telecommunications (Electronic Technician, Installation Technician)
- Management Positions in Operations, Engineering and Mechanical
What is my military experience?
History has confirmed that veterans have a variety of skills that easily translate from military service to successful railroad careers. From experience working with machinery, to a dedication and focus on safety of operations, to conducting shifts in changing conditions, experience gained while on military duty directly relates to virtually all types of jobs at railroads.
Get the Help You Need
As you may know, many in the private sector may not understand all the technical aspects from your job in the armed services. To help make the right connection with private sector managers, make sure the language you use is accessible and relevant: spell out acronyms, explain processes, and describe your duties and responsibilities in plain language.
You also can get help doing this. For example, the U.S. Department of Labor Veterans Training Initiative offers tailored help from Veterans’ Service Professionals near you. The Department also offers Veterans Employment Offices all around the country. Find the one closest to you on their directory.
Where can I find more information about finding a railroad career?
Because approximately 20-25 percent of rail employees have served our country in the armed forces, you will find a familiar community of veterans working on the railroads. In fact, some freight rail companies have recruiters solely focused on helping servicemen and women. And several companies host job fairs on military bases. Go to Association of American Railroads today to check out opportunities for a future career riding America’s rails!
What training and certifications are required to begin a career in the railroad industry?
Working in the railroad industry offers one of the few well-paying careers that does not require a college degree. Because railroads offer people the chance to have a true life-long career in a good job, the industry devotes tremendous resources to training employees for often high-tech positions. Railroads also offer transportation management careers for senior enlisted personnel.
Typical requirements for many jobs in the industry include:
- High School diploma/GED
- 18 years of age or older
- Valid Driver's License