National average salary: $32.17 per hour
Primary duties: Also known as "train engineers," locomotive engineers operate diesel-electric and battery-powered trains that transport passengers and cargo. They operate controls—such as throttle and airbrakes—and monitor air pressure, speed and battery voltage. They also collaborate with other railroad workers, update train inspection logs, monitor locomotive equipment and make sure that the train remains on schedule.
Requirements: Individuals must hold a high school diploma or its equivalent to work in a railroad. They may start out in an entry-level position—such as brakeman or conductor—before they can qualify for a locomotive engineering position. In the U.S., most states require aspiring locomotive engineers to complete a certification training program approved by the Federal Railroad Administration before they can work as a locomotive engineer. They must also pass a hearing and vision test, a skill performance test and a knowledge test.