Regardless of the type of train, a conductor has plenty of responsibilities. But the actual duties depend on the kind of train. A freight train conductor's tasks include:
- Reviewing cargo transport schedules, shipping records, switching orders and waybills
- Distributing cargo weight throughout the train
- Operating the freight cars that use remote control [source: BLS]
On passenger trains, the conductor's tasks include:
- Passenger comfort and safety
- Ticket collection
- Announcements [source: BLS]
Here's how to become a train conductor:
- Earn a high school diploma or equivalency degree. It's a good idea to take courses that teach mechanical skills, like electronics and shop, and communication skills, such as English.
- Decide whether you want to get on-the-job training or take a course in conducting from a community college. Earning a certificate from a community college will give you an edge in finding a job.
- Get experience by looking for an entry-level position with a train company. You'll advance as you gain more experience.
- Check periodically with your employer or with the appropriate government office about licensing requirements. Currently conductors do not need to be licensed, however this may change in the future [source: education-portal].