Signal and Track Switch Repairers
Install, inspect, test, maintain, or repair electric gate crossings, signals, signal equipment, track switches, section lines, or intercommunications systems within a railroad system.
Sample of reported job titles: Railroad Signal Maintainer, Signal and Communications Maintainer, Signal Inspector, Signal Maintainer, Signal Maintenance Technician, Signal System Testing Maintainer, Signal Technician, Signalman, Train Control Electronic Technician, Train Control Technician
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Tasks | Technology Skills | Tools Used | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Inspect and test operation, mechanical parts, and circuitry of gate crossings, signals, and signal equipment such as interlocks and hotbox detectors.
- Inspect electrical units of railroad grade crossing gates and repair loose bolts and defective electrical connections and parts.
- Test and repair track circuits.
- Drive motor vehicles to job sites.
- Install, inspect, maintain, and repair various railroad service equipment on the road or in the shop, including railroad signal systems.
- Tighten loose bolts, using wrenches, and test circuits and connections by opening and closing gates.
- Inspect switch-controlling mechanisms on trolley wires and in track beds, using hand tools and test equipment.
- Replace defective wiring, broken lenses, or burned-out light bulbs.
- Inspect, maintain, and replace batteries as needed.
- Record and report information about mileage or track inspected, repairs performed, and equipment requiring replacement.
- Lubricate moving parts on gate-crossing mechanisms and swinging signals.
- Clean lenses of lamps with cloths and solvents.
- Test air lines and air cylinders on pneumatically operated gates.
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- Electronic mail software — Microsoft Outlook
- Facilities management software — Maintenance management software
- Industrial control software — Supervisory control and data acquisition SCADA software
- Internet browser software — Web browser software
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office
- Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
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- Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
- Transportation — Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Public Safety and Security — Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
- Engineering and Technology — Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
- Telecommunications — Knowledge of transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
- Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
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- Troubleshooting — Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
- Equipment Maintenance — Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
- Repairing — Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools.
- Quality Control Analysis — Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
- Operations Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
- Equipment Selection — Determining the kind of tools and equipment needed to do a job.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Operation and Control — Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Time Management — Managing one’s own time and the time of others.
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- Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
- Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
- Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
- Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
- Visual Color Discrimination — The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.
- Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
- Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
- Multilimb Coordination — The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Reaction Time — The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
- Auditory Attention — The ability to focus on a single source of sound in the presence of other distracting sounds.
- Depth Perception — The ability to judge which of several objects is closer or farther away from you, or to judge the distance between you and an object.
- Hearing Sensitivity — The ability to detect or tell the differences between sounds that vary in pitch and loudness.
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Trunk Strength — The ability to use your abdominal and lower back muscles to support part of the body repeatedly or continuously over time without “giving out” or fatiguing.
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- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment — Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or watercraft.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling materials.
- Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Repairing and Maintaining Electronic Equipment — Servicing, repairing, calibrating, regulating, fine-tuning, or testing machines, devices, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of electrical or electronic (not mechanical) principles.
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Detailed Work Activities
- Inspect equipment to locate or identify electrical problems.
- Test electrical circuits or components for proper functioning.
- Repair electrical circuits or wiring.
- Test mechanical equipment to ensure proper functioning.
- Repair worn, damaged, or defective mechanical parts.
- Drive trucks or other vehicles to or at work sites.
- Inspect mechanical equipment to locate damage, defects, or wear.
- Maintain work equipment or machinery.
- Adjust the tension of nuts or bolts.
- Replace worn, damaged, or defective mechanical parts.
- Inspect electrical or electronic systems for defects.
- Record information about parts, materials or repair procedures.
- Lubricate equipment to allow proper functioning.
- Clean equipment, parts, or tools to repair or maintain them in good working order.
- Control power supply connections.
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- Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 99% responded “Every day.”
- Outdoors, Exposed to Weather — 85% responded “Every day.”
- Responsible for Others’ Health and Safety — 68% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 67% responded “Every day.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 70% responded “Every day.”
- Telephone — 82% responded “Every day.”
- Work With Work Group or Team
- In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment — 73% responded “Every day.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 67% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 60% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Very Hot or Cold Temperatures — 69% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 49% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Contact With Others — 27% responded “Occasional contact with others.”
- Exposed to Contaminants — 46% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 51% responded “Very important.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 15% responded “Never.”
- Time Pressure — 50% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 13% responded “Important results.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week
- Spend Time Standing — 59% responded “More than half the time.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — 15% responded “Once a year or more but not every month.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 30% responded “Important.”
- Consequence of Error — 28% responded “Fairly serious.”
- Extremely Bright or Inadequate Lighting — 37% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 17% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled — 38% responded “Every day.”
- Electronic Mail — 29% responded “Never.”
- Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings — 30% responded “Every day.”
- Exposed to High Places — 32% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Spend Time Walking and Running — 29% responded “Less than half the time.”
- Cramped Work Space, Awkward Positions — 30% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 29% responded “Extremely important.”
- Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 38% responded “More than half the time.”
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|Title||Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate’s degree.|
|Related Experience||Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations usually involve using communication and organizational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include hydroelectric production managers, travel guides, electricians, agricultural technicians, barbers, court reporters, and medical assistants.|
|SVP Range||(6.0 to < 7.0)|
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Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
|34||Less than high school diploma|
|29||High school diploma or equivalent
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Interest code: RC Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
- Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
- Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
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- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others’ needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Independence — Job requires developing one’s own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
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- Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
- Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
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Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2020)||$36.64 hourly, $76,210 annual|
|Employment (2020)||6,600 employees|
|Projected growth (2020-2030)||Average (5% to 10%)|
|Projected job openings (2020-2030)||700|
|Top industries (2020)||
Transportation and Warehousing
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020 wage data and 2020-2030 employment projections . “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.
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Job Openings on the Web
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Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- Amalgamated Transit Union
- Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen
- Service Employees International Union
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