Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters: Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

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Job description

Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters coordinate activities of switch-engine crew within railroad yard, industrial plant, or similar location. Conductors coordinate activities of train crew on passenger or freight trains. Yardmasters review train schedules and switching orders and coordinate activities of workers engaged in railroad traffic operations, such as the makeup or breakup of trains and yard switching.

  • Signal engineers to begin train runs, stop trains, or change speed, using telecommunications equipment or hand signals.
  • Confer with engineers regarding train routes, timetables, and cargoes, and to discuss alternative routes when there are rail defects or obstructions.
  • Instruct workers to set warning signals in front and at rear of trains during emergency stops.
  • Receive information regarding train or rail problems from dispatchers or from electronic monitoring devices.
Read more about what does a Railroad Conductor and Yardmaster really do at work and what is it like being and working as one.

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Average salary
$66080 per year

Average hourly wage
$32 per hour

Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters with little to no experience tend to make between $44690 and $53490 while the more experienced ones can earn over $78640 per year.

Top 5 paying states Hourly Annual
MD $37 $77,790
CA $36 $75,170
MA $36 $73,950
WY $35 $72,660
NJ $34 $70,500

One of the easiest ways to increase your salary as a Railroad Conductor and Yardmaster is to move to a higher paying state like MD. Right now, the highest paying states for Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters are MD, CA, MA, WY and NJ.

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

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


Recommended degree level
No degree required

We asked other Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters 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 Railroad Conductor and Yardmaster and the degree, training and education you need.

Pros and Cons

Here are some of the pros and cons of being a Railroad Conductor and Yardmaster.

Suitable for people who likes to start and carry out projects
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.
Not suitable for people who likes to work with designs
Long working hours (More than 40 hours per week)

What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Is this job meaningful

48% of Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters said they were satisfied with their job and 39% said they feel like their job is making other people’s lives better.

Is this right for me

Best personality for this career
The Entrepreneurs and The Builders

You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tends to like starting up and carrying out projects. They like leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business..

They also 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.

Learn more about Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters

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Related career information

Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters job description, Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters salary, Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters information, what is the job of a Railroad Conductor and Yardmaster like, pros and cons about Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters, colleges and universities for Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters, is Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters the right career for me, careers in Transportation

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