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Locomotive Mechanic School and Training Program Information

Individuals interested in locomotive mechanics can choose between technical and trade schools or opt for company-sponsored training programs. Both types of program offer classroom and hands-on training.

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Locomotive mechanic training is available for students through a number of academic programs. Depending on how long a student wishes to be in school, they should be able to easily find the right program for them.

10 Schools with Locomotive Mechanic Training

The following colleges and training institutions offer programs that will qualify students for jobs in locomotive mechanics:

College/University Location Institution Type Degree Type Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)*
National Academy of Railroad Sciences Overland Park, KS Less-than-2-year, Private Certificate, Associate's $93 - $220 per credit hour
Atlanta Technical College Atlanta, GA 2-year, Public Diploma $2,746 (in-state), $4,882 (out-of-state)
Southeast Technical Institute Sioux Falls, SD 2-year, Public Diploma $5,280
Modoc Railroad Academy Akron, OH, Marion, IL, or Medford, OR Less-than-2-year, Private Certificate $5,000 - $13,000, depending on training
Union Pacific Railroad Location Varies Less-than-2-year, Private Diploma Not available
CSX Corporation Atlanta, GA Less-than-2-year, Private Certificate Depends on training
Palomar College San Marcos, CA 2-year, Public Associate's $1,338 (in-state), $7,078 (out-of-state)
Washburn Institute of Technology Topeka, KS Less-than-2-year, Public Certificate $5,568
Coastal Pines Technical College Waycross, GA 2-year, Public Certificate $4,770 (in-state), $8,775 (out-of-state)
Mid-State Technical College Wisconsin Rapids, WI 2-year, Public Diploma $4,211 (in-state), $6,137 (out-of-state)

Sources: *NCES, School Websites

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School Selection Criteria

Programs that train students to become locomotive mechanics can be found at community colleges and technical schools. Consider the following when looking for locomotive mechanics programs:

  • Students should consider their career goals and look for programs in railroad operations, diesel technology, or diesel mechanics with a focus on locomotive engines.
  • Seek programs that offer mechanics concentrations rather than electrical or conductor concentrations.
  • Programs sponsored by major locomotive companies may provide better job placement opportunities. Some may also provide benefits, such as room and board, tuition reimbursement, or an internship upon graduation.
  • While most programs offer hands-on training with machine tools and welding equipment, you may be required to provide your own basic tool set.

Locomotive Mechanic Training Programs

These programs vary in length from several weeks to more than a year, depending on the type of job training and a student's previous work experience. An apprenticeship program may be offered. Many company-sponsored training programs include continuing education courses to keep workers up-to-date with industry changes, including any new guidelines issued by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).

Diploma Programs in Diesel Technology

Diploma programs in diesel technology can be completed in a few months. Some schools may certify students at the midway point of a program, allowing them to find work as a certified technician while completing their education program. Many programs devote courses and lab training to subjects such as hydraulics, electrical systems, and preventative maintenance.

Associate's Degree Programs in Diesel Technology or Diesel Mechanics

These programs usually include either an internship with a local company within the industry or extensive hands-on training at a school's facility. The curriculum includes general education courses in math and English, as well as major courses such as steering and brakes, diesel engine overhaul, and fluid power.

Associate's Degree Programs in Railroad Operations

In addition to instruction on the functioning of locomotives, these programs educate students on the policies and standards of the FRA. Coursework includes general locomotive mechanics, braking systems, and electrical systems.

Various training programs from certificate to associate's degree are available for individuals hoping to become locomotive mechanics. Considering program concentrations and benefits, practical training and particular job prospects can be helpful for students interested in this field.

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