Locomotive Engineers: Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

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Job description

Locomotive Engineers drive electric, diesel-electric, steam, or gas-turbine-electric locomotives to transport passengers or freight. Interpret train orders, electronic or manual signals, and railroad rules and regulations.

  • Interpret train orders, signals, or railroad rules and regulations that govern the operation of locomotives.
  • Confer with conductors or traffic control center personnel via radiophones to issue or receive information concerning stops, delays, or oncoming trains.
  • Receive starting signals from conductors and use controls such as throttles or air brakes to drive electric, diesel-electric, steam, or gas turbine-electric locomotives.
  • Monitor gauges or meters that measure speed, amperage, battery charge, or air pressure in brake lines or in main reservoirs.
Read more about what does a Locomotive Engineer really do at work and what is it like being and working as one.



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Salary

Average salary
$66920 per year

Average hourly wage
$32 per hour


Locomotive Engineers with little to no experience tend to make between $46200 and $54630 while the more experienced ones can earn over $79460 per year.

Top 5 paying states Hourly Annual
WA $41 $85,160
WY $39 $80,610
CA $39 $80,330
SD $37 $77,640
NY $37 $77,150

One of the easiest ways to increase your salary as a Locomotive Engineer is to move to a higher paying state like WA. Right now, the highest paying states for Locomotive Engineers are WA, WY, CA, SD and NY.

However, a higher pay at WA doesn’t guarantee that you will make more because the living expenses at WA might be twice as high than where you are currently at now.

Three other factors that can increase your salary as a Locomotive Engineer is the degree you hold, the industry you work in, and lastly the company you work for.


Requirements

Recommended degree level
High School Diploma (or GED)

We asked other Locomotive Engineers what degree they had when they got the job and most of them said they had a High School Diploma followed by a Post-Secondary Certificate.

Other than that, we also asked them what did they major in and here are the most popular majors that came up.

Railroad and Railway Transportation
Read more about how to become a Locomotive Engineer and the degree, training and education you need.


Pros and Cons

Here are some of the pros and cons of being a Locomotive Engineer.

PROS
Suitable for people who likes practical and hands-on work
Suitable for people who wants to work in a supportive work environment
This career is perfect for people who love to work outdoors.
It is easy to get into this career. Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for this career.
CONS
Not suitable for people who likes to work with designs
Demand for this career is declining
Long working hours (More than 40 hours per week)


What is the job like

Job satisfaction
61%

Is this job meaningful
47%


61% of Locomotive Engineers said they were satisfied with their job and 47% said they feel like their job is making other people’s lives better.


Is this right for me

Best personality for this career
The Builders and The Organizers

You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tends to like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They like working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery..

They also like following set procedures and routines. They like working with data and details more than with ideas.



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Related career information

Locomotive Engineers job description, Locomotive Engineers salary, Locomotive Engineers information, what is the job of a Locomotive Engineer like, pros and cons about Locomotive Engineers, colleges and universities for Locomotive Engineers, is Locomotive Engineers the right career for me, careers in Transportation

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