How to Become a Train Conductor

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Get experience by looking for an entry-level position with a train company. You'll advance as you gain more experience.
  4. 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].