The education and experience requirements to become a freight conductor vary significantly depending on the company. There are several routes that you may take to enter this profession, and you should narrow your job search to meet your career goals in order to determine a plan that best suits your needs. Some companies only require a high school diploma or equivalent certificate, and they usually provide in-house training for employees. Other companies may require that you have previous vocational training in the field and/or a college degree that is related to the profession. Due to the various methods used to become a freight conductor, researching job descriptions and details will give you a better understanding of the industry.
If you choose a company that only requires that you have a high school diploma, you may want to consider exploring the field on your own through library and Internet sources in order to enhance your knowledge of the industry. There are many vocational programs that can help you become a freight conductor, and the length of these programs differ depending on the certification you are seeking. Some programs are six weeks long, whereas others may take at least a year to complete. These programs generally focus on technical skills, hands-on training, problem solving, teamwork, and railroad mechanics. Some schools may offer job placement after you have successfully completed the program, and these positions are generally higher paid than entry-level careers.
Many community colleges offer coursework that may be needed to become a freight conductor, and you may want to consider enrolling in an associate's degree program that is directly related to your field of interest. You will be required to complete prerequisites in mathematics and science before taking advanced courses that cover topics such as railroad history, mechanical operations, conductor services, and other technical coursework. One of the advantages of participating in college coursework is the opportunity to improve a variety of skills, including technical writing abilities, communication skills, and problem solving abilities.
Experienced candidates usually have a higher pay scale, and entry level conductors usually advance in their careers over time. In order to become a freight conductor with a higher starting pay, you will want to obtain as much training and experience as possible. This profession has an extremely broad job market, and the Internet provides job descriptions, salary details, and requirements for many companies. Before applying for a position, you should make sure that your resume reflects all of your education and experience in this field.