A career as a locomotive engineer can be an exciting and stable career option. In this article, we shall know about the job description of this profession along with the associated salary.
Engineering jobs have been the most coveted ones in the United States of America. In today’s day and age with machines all around us, engineers are in great demand as they are required in almost all areas for work. One such interesting, yet challenging, job is that of a locomotive engineer.
A locomotive engineer is required to manage and operate freights and trains carrying passengers. These engineers have to inspect and maintain trains with the help of mechanics and assistants before the trains actually run. Ensuring that there are no technical faults and taking care of the various mechanical aspects of the trains is a part of the job.
Locomotive engineers, who are also referred to as railroad engineers are experts in maintaining train controls and measuring pressure. These engineers ensure that the train is riding safely by checking its brakes and gauges and monitoring its speed. This job requires a lot of hard work as these engineers are expected to work at odd hours for ensuring smooth train operations. The following are the requirements to enter this profession:
- You should have successfully completed your high school diploma program
- You should be at least 21 years of age
- You should be physically fit and have no drug or alcohol issues
- Certification from Federal Railroad Administration and obtaining license by clearing state exams is mandatory
According to the U.S.Bureau of Labor Statistics, the salary of a locomotive engineer per hour is between $25.5 to $27.7. On the other hand, the average salary is around $52,000 per year which is quite impressive. In the initial stages of one’s career, the salary of a certified locomotive engineer will be low and one must be prepared for that. This is reflected from the fact that the lowest ten percent of these engineers are making less than $35,000 per year annually.
The salary largely depends on experience of the candidate. Those with one to three years of experience can expect to earn between $30,000 to $37,000 per year. Those with experienced between three to seven years can expect to earn between $45,000 to $58,000 per year. Highly experienced locomotive engineers (with experience of more than ten years) can expect to earn between $60,000 to $82,000. Those with around twenty years of experience in the field can draw anything between $85,000 to $105,000 per year.
The rail transportation department is certainly one of the major recruiters of locomotive engineers. Engineers working for this department are known to earn an average salary of around $52,000 per year. There are openings for these engineers in steel mills and local government bodies too. Engineers working for steel mills can make around $38,000 on an average whereas those employed with the local government make around $48,000 per year. New Mexico, California, Colorado, Wisconsin, Chicago are the places where locomotive engineers make the most money. Experienced engineers working at these places can expect to make over $70,000 per year.
The job outlook for locomotive engineers is extremely positive and stable. It is expected that there would be a 10 % rise in employment for these professionals up to 2018 as per the data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Though the salary figures are impressive, you also need to take into consideration the living costs, transportation costs and state taxes before choosing a city for employment.