To work as a locomotive engineer, you typically need to:
- have a high school diploma or equivalent;
- have one to five years of related work experience
- complete moderate-term, on-the-job training; and
- pass a written and hands-on exam.
Education after high school
No formal education is required beyond high school for this occupation.
In most cases, this is not an entry-level job. Most locomotive engineers start out as a yard laborer or in other railroad jobs such as brake operator or conductor.
Locomotive engineers generally receive two to three months of on-the-job training before they can operate a train on their own. During training, you ride with an experienced engineer who teaches you about a particular train route. You also learn about the track length, where the switches are, or any unusual features of the track.
In addition, railroad companies provide continuing education so that engineers can maintain their skills.