American industries and companies seek to increase diversity in their workforce, and hiring veterans is one way of fulfilling this. The railroad industry, particularly, offers a number of career fields where veterans can directly apply their military skills and training.
|Job Title||Median Salary (2017)*||Job Growth (2016-2026)*||Applicable Military Skills/Traits|
|Railroad Conductors||$60,300 (Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters)||-2%||Friendliness, professionalism, keen to note changes and anomalies, strength and dexterity, dedication to excellence|
|Mechanical Engineering Technicians||$55,360||5%||Accountable, safe work practices, committed to excellence, teamwork|
|Procurement Clerks||$41,910||-4%||Accurate, dedicated to following rules and procedures, idealistic|
|Locomotive Engineers||$60,990||-3%||Good communicator, keen to take note of surroundings, independent thinker, able to cope with a challenging work environment|
|Transit and Railroad Police||$70,280||6%||Physical fitness, attention to detail, surveillance skills|
|Railroad Construction||$34,530 (Construction Laborers)||12% (Construction Laborers)||Technical skills, accuracy in their work for safety, physically fit|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Railroad Career Options for Veterans
The careers described below are those that use skills acquired during service in the military. Once military service members retire, it is ideal that they transition into the civilian way of life using the skills they have acquired and perfected throughout their military careers. The careers described below are some of the opportunities that veterans can take up in the railroad industry.
A relatively calmer and entirely different work from the military career is the railroad conductor job. This job involves directing the crew and the passengers to ensure their safety. The conductor also ensures that the environment aboard trains is pleasant by following the regulations set by various regulatory agencies and those of the company.
A conductor must be pleasant and cheerful, dedicated to the job, have a professional appearance and able to take note of small issues and details. However, this job also demands physical agility and strength to manage the alternating shifts, which last for many hours every day. Conductors can also be away from home for long hours and work during holidays which veterans may be familiar with.
Mechanical Engineering Technicians
Choosing to work as a mechanical engineering technician will keep you involved in various maintenance activities and in ensuring the continuous improvement of railroad fleets. Mechanical engineering technicians service the train engines and those of cars used to carry passengers around. These tasks are meant to ensure safety and reliability of transport equipment and to comply with the industry's regulatory body requirements. Veterans who have had experience offering technical and engineering services in the military may work as mechanical technicians in titles like a car repairer, electrician, and sheet metal worker, among others.
The military consumes and receives large amounts of inventory, and procurement officers are in charge of the input and output of resources. After retirement, these officers can provide the same clerical services in the railroad sector. A clerical or procurement role in the railroad transportation sector ensures that the railroad company receives and dispatches resources and services the right way, and in the right quantities both for itself and for customers seeking transportation services. Procurement officers are also expected to help the company lower costs of operations and ensure that the company is in line with relevant rules regarding procurement.
A locomotive engineer is a 'train driver'. Choosing to work as a locomotive engineer will make you responsible for the safety and timely arrival of passengers in all circumstances and during various schedules. After a short yet rigorous training, a veteran will be able to take up this job and be responsible for operating the train's controls and monitoring signals to control the train's movement. A locomotive engineer is also tasked with receiving and answering radio calls made from the station, taking note of the condition of the tracks and of signs on the railroad. Locomotive engineers have a rather tight working schedule drawn from the fact that most trains operate 24 hours every day of the week.
Transit and Railroad Police
The primary responsibility of railroad police is to protect the passengers, employees and the cargo in transit. They patrol the cabins, the stations and the yards to ensure that all is well and in case of incidences, conduct investigations to determine the source of the problem or the persons responsible. The railroad company's property is also under the railroad police's protection, and they work with local law enforcement officers to arrest property thieves and trespassers. Veterans are suited for this role for their physical fitness, ability to detect anomalies, as well as combat and surveillance skills acquired during active duty.
Railroad construction workers, also called track workers take on all construction and repair duties on the track. Track workers align tie plates and repair track switches. It is also their duty to erect signs on the side of the railway line and to paint them for increased visibility. Other maintenance duties include cutting grass and bushes along the track lines and ensuring that there are no obstacles for the train. Veterans applying to this job must seek to acquire some technical knowledge of how these tasks are done and an understanding of the rules and regulations that govern the railroad industry. This job is suitable for a veteran because it typically only requires mechanical skills and generally do not need further training.