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Rail Car Repairers
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Description: what do they do?
Diagnose, adjust, repair, or overhaul railroad rolling stock, mine cars, or mass transit rail cars.
Also known as:
Freight Maintenance Specialist, Locomotive Repairman, Rail Car Maintenance Mechanic, Rail Car Mechanic, Rail Car Repairer, Rail Car Repairman, Rail Car Sandblaster, Rail Car Welder, Railroad Car Repairman, Train Car Repairman

    What does this information tell me?

    This description is a quick overview of what workers in this career might do.

    "Also known as" shows other common names for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from an O*NET database. Learn more on the Help page.

Career video
    Transcript: Keeping the country’s transportation and heavy equipment in motion takes a lot of horsepower… and a crew of highly-skilled technicians and mechanics. Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians, inspect, maintain, and repair vehicles and machinery used in construction, farming, railways, and road transportation. Diesel service technicians and mechanics service buses and trucks, or repair any type of diesel engine. Many work for trucking companies, wholesale trade firms, and government agencies. Farm equipment mechanics and service technicians repair farm equipment as well as smaller lawn and garden tractors. Most work for dealer repair shops, with seasonal variation in job duties. Mobile heavy equipment mechanics maintain construction and surface mining equipment, such as bulldozers, cranes, graders, and excavators. Most work for government, equipment rental shops, and large construction and mining companies. Rail car repairers keep railroad locomotives, subway cars, and other rolling stock in good repair. They usually work for railroad, public and private transit companies, and for manufacturers. These technicians often lift heavy parts and tools, handle greasy and dirty equipment, and work in awkward positions. While many work indoors in repair shops, some specialize in field service and travel to worksites that may be outdoors, in all types of weather. Service technicians generally work full time, sometimes including evenings or weekends. Overtime is common. Most service technicians have a high school education. Formal training and certificates are increasingly preferred by employers. Certificates usually take 1 to 2 years to earn. Once hired, trainees usually reach full qualification after 3 to 4 years.
View transcript
Outlook: will there be jobs?
Image. Employment outlook for this occupation
New job opportunities are less likely in the future.


    What does this information tell me?

    Outlook information can tell you whether a career is expected to be in demand in the future—that is, whether there are likely to be job openings if you choose this career. Please note that this does not account for the impacts of the current pandemic. Many occupations are likely to have very different outlooks due to the rapidly changing economy. When new outlook information is developed, it will be reflected here.

    Careers can have one of three outlooks:

    • A Bright outlook means new job opportunities are very likely in the future
    • An Average outlook means that a small number of new job opportunities are likely in the future (less than an 8 percent increase)
    • A Below Average outlook means new job opportunities are less likely in the future

    You can also view local job listings in this field by clicking "Find job openings". This can help you see if local businesses are hiring—another way of looking at demand.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET Bright Outlook occupations and My Next Move career outlook designations. Note this information is only available at a national level, so even if you selected a state, you’ll see this information for the whole country.

Projected employment
Wisconsin
120
2018 Employment
110
2028 Employment
-8%
Percent change
10
Annual projected job openings
United States
24,300
2019 Employment
23,500
2029 Employment
-3%
Percent change
2,000
Annual projected job openings

    What does this information tell me?

    Projected employment shows how much employment is expected to grow in this occupation over a 10-year period. This can help you decide if this career is a good choice for future job opportunities. You can look at projected employment in your state, or in other states where you might consider living.

    You can see the total number of people employed in this occupation in 2018 (for states) or 2019 (for the United States), the number expected to be employed in 2028 (for states) or 2029 (for the United States), and rate of growth over those years.

    The projections are based on assumptions of unemployment rates and labor productivity growth rates.  While the projected numbers may not be exact, they are helpful to compare one career to another, or one location to another.

    Please note that these projections do not account for the impacts of the current pandemic. Many occupations are likely to have very different projections due to the rapidly changing economy. When revised data are available, they will be published here.

    What is the source of this information?

    State-level data come from Projections Central and each state's Labor Market Information office, 2018-28.

    National-level data come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, 2019-29.

Typical wages

Annual wages for Rail Car Repairers in Wisconsin
This graph displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
This chart displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
LocationWisconsinUnited States
10%$40,980$35,110
25%$47,330$44,160
Median$61,380$57,710
75%$77,000$73,170
90%$84,080$82,760


    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you a range of how much most workers in this occupation earn per hour, in the location that you selected.

    You can select from three views of this data:

    • The Graph shows you wages at the 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th and 90th percentiles. Note that the lowest (10th %ile) wage shown is not necessarily a "starting wage." Instead it means that 10 percent of all workers in this career earn less that this amount, and 90 percent earn more. However, you can assume that you might earn close to the 10th or 25th %ile wages when you start out in most careers.
    • Select "Chart" to see a visual comparison between national wages and wages in the location you selected.
    • Select "Table" to see more wage data the national and local level.

    Please note that wage data are not available at the city or ZIP code level. If you selected a city or ZIP code, you will see wage data for the regional area.

    You can learn more about wages for this and other occupations by clicking “See more wages” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    The wage information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics Program, May 2020 survey. For more detailed state wage data, please find the link to your state's wage data program in the Other Resources box.

Education and experience: to get started
People starting in this career usually have:
  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • No work experience
  • More than 1 year on-the-job training

Programs that can prepare you:

    What does this information tell me?

    This shows you the typical level of education, work experience, and on-the-job training that most people have when they start in this career. Note that these are not requirements for entering this field, but the information can help you understand how qualified you might be.

    Interested in starting in this career? You can search for education programs in your local area by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, Education and training assignments by detailed occupation, 2019.

Typical education
How much education do most people in this career have?
Chart. Percent of workers in this field by education level attained

    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you the range of education levels that people who currently work in this field have. You can use this to see if you fit in this range. Note that this includes ALL people who work in this field and not just those getting started.

    Interested in getting qualified for this career? You can search for programs that lead to the education needed, in your local area, by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, Educational attainment for workers 25 years and older by detailed occupation, 2018.

Certifications: show your skills
Let employers know you have the skills to do well at this job.
Earning a certification can help you:
  • Get a job
  • Get a promotion

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find certifications" you'll see a list of national certifications that are related to this career. From there, you can learn how to achieve one of these certifications to help you enter or get ahead in this field.

    What is the source of this information?

    This collection of occupational certifications is collected and regularly updated by CareerOneStop. Learn more at Certification Finder Help.

Licenses: do you need one?
Some states require an occupational license to work in this career.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find license details in your state" you'll see the license name and contact information for the agency in your state that oversees licensing for this field. If you have not selected a location, you'll see a list of all state licenses for this occupation.

    What is the source of this information?

    Information on licensed occupations is gathered in each state by Labor Market Information units under a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. Learn more at License Finder Help.

Apprenticeships: learn on the job
Apprenticeships combine paid on-the-job-training with classroom lessons.

Activities: what you might do in a day
  • Maintain repair or maintenance records.
  • Inspect mechanical components of vehicles to identify problems.
  • Repair worn, damaged, or defective mechanical parts.
  • Replace worn, damaged, or defective mechanical parts.
  • Inspect vehicles to determine overall condition.
  • Remove parts or components from equipment.
  • Inspect completed work to ensure proper functioning.
  • Adjust equipment to ensure optimal performance.
  • Repair electronic equipment.
  • Disassemble equipment for maintenance or repair.
  • Install vehicle parts or accessories.
  • Repair non-engine automotive or vehicle components.
  • Fabricate parts or components.
  • Measure distances or dimensions.
  • Service vehicles to maintain functionality.
  • Clean equipment, parts, or tools to repair or maintain them in good working order.
  • Inspect structural components of vehicles to identify problems.
  • Test electrical equipment or systems to ensure proper functioning.
  • Repair structural components.
  • Install hardware or other interior fixtures.
  • Rewire electrical or electronic systems.
  • Paint surfaces or equipment.
  • Replace vehicle glass.
  • Seal gaps or cracks to prevent leakage or moisture intrusion.
  • Align equipment or machinery.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical work activities that people in this career might do on the job. You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More activities” to see more detailed examples of activities for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these activities to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET’s Detailed Work Activities.

Knowledge
People in this career often know a lot about:
  • Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Production and Processing - Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of general knowledge areas that are most commonly required for jobs in the career. Knowledge is typically gained through education and related experience.

    This list can help you learn if you are prepared for a job in this career. It can also help you decide on education or training programs that could help you prepare for the career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Knowledge descriptors.

Skills
People in this career often have these skills:
  • Troubleshooting - Figuring out what is causing equipment, machines, wiring, or computer programs to not work.
  • Repairing - Repairing machines or systems using the right tools.
  • Equipment Maintenance - Planning and doing the basic maintenance on equipment.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list the work-related skills most commonly required for jobs in the career.

    This list can help you understand how well your current skills fit this career. It can also help you plan your education or professional development.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Skills descriptors.

Abilities
People in this career often have talent in:
  • Control Precision - Quickly changing the controls of a machine, car, truck or boat.
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness - Keeping your arm or hand steady.
  • Manual Dexterity - Holding or moving items with your hands.
  • Multilimb Coordination - Using your arms and/or legs together while sitting, standing, or lying down.
  • Near Vision - Seeing details up close.
  • Finger Dexterity - Putting together small parts with your fingers.
  • Trunk Strength - Using your lower back and stomach.
  • Reaction Time - Quickly moving your hand, finger, or foot based on a sound, light, picture or other command.
  • Problem Sensitivity - Noticing when problems happen.
  • Static Strength - Lifting, pushing, pulling, or carrying.
  • Perceptual Speed - Quickly comparing groups of letters, numbers, pictures, or other things.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list of personal qualities that might influence work and are most commonly required for success in this career.

    This list can help you understand if your natural strengths and abilities are a good fit for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Abilities descriptors.

Interests
  • Conventional - Occupations related to Conventional interests frequently involve following set procedures and routines. They include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
  • Investigative - Occupations with Investigative interests frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. They often involve research and figuring out problems mentally.
  • Realistic - Occupations with Realistic interests frequently involve practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of work environment-preferences that are most commonly associated with the career. It can help you understand if your natural interests are a good fit for this career.

    Click "Take an interest assessment" for a quick 30-question assessment that can help you understand your interests and see careers that might be good matches for them.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Interest descriptors.

Typical tasks
  • Record conditions of cars, and repair and maintenance work performed or to be performed.
  • Inspect components such as bearings, seals, gaskets, wheels, and coupler assemblies to determine if repairs are needed.
  • Repair or replace defective or worn parts such as bearings, pistons, and gears, using hand tools, torque wrenches, power tools, and welding equipment.
  • Inspect the interior and exterior of rail cars coming into rail yards to identify defects and to determine the extent of wear and damage.
  • Remove locomotives, car mechanical units, or other components, using pneumatic hoists and jacks, pinch bars, hand tools, and cutting torches.
  • Test units for operability before and after repairs.
  • Adjust repaired or replaced units as needed to ensure proper operation.
  • Repair and maintain electrical and electronic controls for propulsion and braking systems.
  • Disassemble units such as water pumps, control valves, and compressors so that repairs can be made.
  • Repair, fabricate, and install steel or wood fittings, using blueprints, shop sketches, and instruction manuals.
  • Measure diameters of axle wheel seats, using micrometers, and mark dimensions on axles so that wheels can be bored to specified dimensions.
  • Perform scheduled maintenance, and clean units and components.
  • Examine car roofs for wear and damage, and repair defective sections, using roofing material, cement, nails, and waterproof paint.
  • Test electrical systems of cars by operating systems and using testing equipment such as ammeters.
  • Install and repair interior flooring, fixtures, walls, plumbing, steps, and platforms.
  • Replace defective wiring and insulation, and tighten electrical connections, using hand tools.
  • Paint car exteriors, interiors, and fixtures.
  • Repair window sash frames, attach weather stripping and channels to frames, and replace window glass, using hand tools.
  • Align car sides for installation of car ends and crossties, using width gauges, turnbuckles, and wrenches.
  • Repair car upholstery.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical tasks that people in this career might do on the job.  You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More tasks” to see more detailed examples for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these tasks to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET‘s Tasks.

    What does this information tell me?

    These are additional online resources related to this career. You may find different or more detailed information at these sources.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information is collected and maintained by CareerOneStop.