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Eastern Railroad Discussion > What is a good degree to pursue for railroading?


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Date: 03/30/13 15:13
What is a good degree to pursue for railroading?
Author: Defective_Detector

I am getting ready to attend college in the fall and still haven't decided on a major. I enjoy the railroad, but cannot find a "transportation" degree offered near me. I know some people have recommended engineering to me, but I needed a tutor just to get a D in Algebra, so any degree with a lot of math isn't going to work for me. What else is out there? What do railroads look for?

Thanks.



Date: 03/30/13 15:16
Re: What is a good degree to pursue for railroading?
Author: im_trainman

Business management, but if you want to get the real feel of railroading, start from the bottom up. College cannot teach you how to be a railroader, they still promote from within if you are dead set on being management.

Posted from Android



Date: 03/30/13 15:17
Re: What is a good degree to pursue for railroading?
Author: livesteamer

Logistics? Operations Management?

Marty Harrison
Knob Noster, MO



Date: 03/30/13 15:29
Re: What is a good degree to pursue for railroading?
Author: intermodalres

Transportation and Logistics didn't do me any good. Got me one interview, and I was told I was not competitive. When I tried the, from the bottom up route, I was told that if my goal was to get into management, that they didn't do that anymore. After I had some work experience, in transportation management, under my belt, I submitted a resume to the railroad I really wanted to work for. I received a nasty letter basically telling me to stop bothering them. I had friends who pursued degrees in various field in engineering, and they had many interviews, but not much interest in working for a railroad. Looking back on it after 25 years, I think I ended up better off where I am, and I still have a nice hobby of watching trains. Just my two cents worth. Maybe things have changed since then. Good Luck!



Date: 03/30/13 15:31
Re: What is a good degree to pursue for railroading?
Author: Guernseygirl

Save your money from college and hire train service.
If your wife or girlfriend makes the decisions its not a good to have. They do hire from within, but math skills needed.

Posted from Android



Date: 03/30/13 15:37
Re: What is a good degree to pursue for railroading?
Author: robj

1)I think you are looking at this in a reverse process. Look at where your interests are and skills.
2) Contact the AAR. American Assoc of Railroads for some literature.
3) try to find some rail related summer or part time work even if just for a contractor, I think there is a pretty good list of
RR execs who started out with part time jobs.

I remember thinking I liked engineering but found by calc I had maxed out on math. Railroads have lots of
fields, engineering being a traditional. Finance is another. Management, Marketing, LAW, PR. I think you want to enter one you like. Worst case, railroad doesn't work out you are not stuck in a field you do not like.

Pick a college that may be near a major rail hub and have internships. Do some research on schools, you may best starting out local and then going to the right college.

Look at movers and shakers and see where they started out. Try to ferret out employment stats, ie how many of each are employed by railroads.

Lastly, one thing I see and I had to catch up on, when you go to school, that is your business. Research how you can save on costs, think about your path so you succeed, good grades are OK, top grades are better.

Added: develop good communication skills.

Bob Jordan



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/30/13 15:40 by robj.



Date: 03/30/13 15:41
Re: What is a good degree to pursue for railroading?
Author: BN7149

Maybe look into electronics/communications. Or pursue a trade such as an electrician, which could be useful to the railroad for locomotive maintenance or signal and systems maintenance. Might also be helpful for a job with Progress Rail, GE, or something like Sperry. I guess it hinges on your long-term goals: Office work or field work?

-Ryan



Date: 03/30/13 15:43
Re: What is a good degree to pursue for railroading?
Author: a737flyer

Kinda like the flying business. I have a degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Washington and flew airplanes for 35 years...! Made a pretty good announcement, though. :>)

Just remember, railroads are businesses and managers, outside of the operating department are not necessarily railroaders. So a degree in business with emphasis on transportation might be a good way to go.

Good luck.



Date: 03/30/13 15:54
Re: What is a good degree to pursue for railroading?
Author: exopr

Math is going to be hard to avoid in college. The 2-year college I attended had a tutoring center that I visited fairly often to get help with Algebra and I ended up getting an A. As for a degree, I'd consider Transportation Economics or another one related to railroading. There's a few colleges, maybe not close to you, that offer railroad coures, Michigan State University and Michigan Tech are both examples. Maybe you can get a 2-year degree locally then move near a school offering a railroad related degree. Hope this helps.



Date: 03/30/13 15:55
Re: What is a good degree to pursue for railroading?
Author: pdt

If you want to pursue a career as a RR crew member, I'd recommend anything that teaches you how to sit around a wait a lot,
and how to follow management directives, no matter how inane, and to care about mgmt directives with complete
disregard to customer service or getting anything done, or common sense.
It's a lot like working for the Gov't anymore.....show up on time, do the minimum, and if know one knows who you
are after several years, you're doing well.

If you want to be in RR management, I'd recommend a BS degree.

If you are looking for a place where there is still pride in a job well done, there might be a few level headed
regionals or shortlines left...and, of course, they don't pay as well as the big guys...and I'm not saying that
they are all good to work for, either.

BUT I DIGRESS......



Date: 03/30/13 16:02
Re: What is a good degree to pursue for railroading?
Author: Lackawanna484

Th more skill sets you have, the more marketable you'll be. Railroads are like any business, there are ups and downs. And furloughs, maybe for longer than you'd like.

Having a good transferable skill is essential. Whether it's a sales specialty or engineering, or electrician or diesel mechanic, you may want to have the ability to change industries.



Date: 03/30/13 16:23
Re: What is a good degree to pursue for railroading?
Author: Defective_Detector

I'll have to admit, I'm not really looking into operations as the whole 24/7/365 lifestyle doesn't appeal to me. I would possibly consider dispatching as a way to get my foot in.

I'd be more interested in marketing or PR.



Date: 03/30/13 16:48
Re: What is a good degree to pursue for railroading?
Author: Out_Of_Service

EDIT: you posted you post above while i was typing this out but this is for others as well who are pursueing a railraod career

you never specified what area of railroading you want to get into ... here's a few pointers for some railroad employment

train service and or OBS(On Board Service): put your app in and don't act like Ricky Railroader ... emphasize that you believe in getting to work on time and you that have a great and conscientious work ethic and your enjoyment working in an outdoor environment and you work well with others ... emphasize that you understand train service employees are called to work at all hours of the day/night and that long hours and being away from home are expected of you and thatthey are not an issue with you

management: well that also depends in what area you want to pursue ... getting educated in the proper s[pecfic fields is always a plus if not mandatory ... ie accounting, statistics, executive mangament, layout design, emphasize organization and accoutabilty

agreement positions:

dispatching: you definately want to emphasize your ability to work under pressure ... that you have excellent oragizational and communication skills and you possess the ability to think fast and make decisions quickly when situations arise that were not expected

train equipment mechanical dept: this job is basically and OJT(On the Job Training) type of position empahasize you understand working around trains is a dangerous job working in between under and around trains while you'll be performing your duties ... emphasize situational awareness is very important and communication with others involved with your duties is a very important part of the job ... also relay to the interviewer/s your willingness to get the needed training that will be required and that have the ability to comprehend instructions and apply those instructions

C&S(Comminication and Signals ) electronic technical training is very helpful if not mandatory

B&B(Building and Bridges) also getting training in a some sort construction field but these days composite positions are the more than norm than individual trades

MW Dept: training for various equipment operator machines, CDL truck driver licensing

this is for all positions this is the most point you want to convey to your inerviewer/s no matter what position you or field you want to enter ... and i can't emphasize this enough you want ... you want to emphasize that you believe situational awareness in working safely and responsibility and communication between/for you and others around you



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/30/13 16:55 by Out_Of_Service.



Date: 03/30/13 17:14
Re: What is a good degree to pursue for railroading?
Author: czephyr17

There are certainly a lot of jobs in railroad marketing, if that is an area that interests you go for a marketing degree. However, whatever degree you go for, I would also recommend going after a business degree, an MBA. Alternatively, accounting / finance may be another way to get foot in the door.



Date: 03/30/13 17:39
Re: What is a good degree to pursue for railroading?
Author: sd24b

Network network network, I have a B.S. but that only helped after someone with clout twisted some arms to get me the interview, also you need to be willing to deal with getting rejected a lot. Finally don't be a foamer in the interview.

Posted from Android



Date: 03/30/13 18:03
Re: What is a good degree to pursue for railroading?
Author: Lackawanna484

There's a lot of good info in the several posts just put up.

The suggestion to network is a good one in any field. Are there particular schools from which your preferred employer regularly hires or offers internships? Many railroads routinely hire from just a few schools, so find out what they are. Even if you need to call the placement office and ask which companies come on campus, or offer internships to their students. Most schools are happy to share that information.

Your favorite railroad might even be willing to share that info with you. BNSF makes that info public, even the majors it will consider from each school.

http://www.bnsf.com/careers/college/recruiting-events/



Date: 03/30/13 18:14
Re: What is a good degree to pursue for railroading?
Author: 1

CSX has cut way back on internal promotion, just about all managers come from business school now.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/30/13 18:15 by 1.



Date: 03/30/13 19:06
Re: What is a good degree to pursue for railroading?
Author: vardoyardo

Defective_Detector Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I'll have to admit, I'm not really looking into
> operations as the whole 24/7/365 lifestyle doesn't
> appeal to me. I would possibly consider
> dispatching as a way to get my foot in.
>
> I'd be more interested in marketing or PR.

If you are not into the 24/7/365 thing, dispatching is not the way to go either, you will likely spend the first 5 to 10 years on an extra board on call, just like in train service.

Posted from iPhone



Date: 03/30/13 19:18
Re: What is a good degree to pursue for railroading?
Author: PittsburghMike

If you want to get into management, sales and marketing, etc, definitely look at getting a degree in logistics or supply chain management . These degrees are becoming more commonplace, but the most notable and renowned universities offering these programs are Michigan State, Penn State, and Tennessee....many of the class one railroads work with these schools to select intern and co-op students, which is a great path to getting noticed.



Date: 03/30/13 19:27
Re: What is a good degree to pursue for railroading?
Author: Defective_Detector

PittsburghMike Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> If you want to get into management, sales and
> marketing, etc, definitely look at getting a
> degree in logistics or supply chain management .
> These degrees are becoming more commonplace, but
> the most notable and renowned universities
> offering these programs are Michigan State, Penn
> State, and Tennessee....many of the class one
> railroads work with these schools to select intern
> and co-op students, which is a great path to
> getting noticed.

Unfortunately, here in Kentucky, I cannot find a college that offers logistics. I'd be all over that if I could.



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