Things to Know Before You Go

Interested in working for the railroad? This section gives a general overview of industry requirements, disqualifying factors, and employee attributes. As with any business, all railroads have hiring requirements specific to their company. For questions about hiring guidelines, prospective candidates should contact the company with which they seek future employment.

While you do not need to meet these requirements to take NARS’ railroad courses, you will need to meet them if you’re looking for a job at a railroad company once you have completed our program(s).

Typical Mandatory Eligibility Requirements for the Railroad Industry

Candidates should:

  • Possess a high school diploma or GED
  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Have the ability to lift 75 pounds
  • Possess a valid driver’s license, or be able to obtain a valid driver’s license within 30 days after being hired
  • Have no more than one “for cause” job termination within seven years
  • Have no instances of driving under the influence (DUI) within the last two years
  • Be able to pass hearing and vision requirements
  • If self-employed, provide verification of self-employment (tax return)

Applicants for railroad employment may be disapproved for any of the following:

  • Nondisclosure of criminal convictions, or any other significant categories (i.e., applicant states “quit” when they were terminated for cause, etc.)
  • Inability to pass any required strength and BMI tests or other requirements
  • Inability to pass an aptitude test, if required

EEOC recommendations for considering whether a particular conviction should serve to automatically disqualify an applicant are as follows:

  • How long ago did the conviction take place?
  • What are the circumstances of the event?
  • How many convictions were there?
  • What is the applicant’s employment record since the conviction?
  • What rehabilitation has the applicant served?
  • Felony convictions, nolo contendere (no contest) pleas, and convictions expunged by deferred adjudication (or other means) for murder, rape, theft (including burglary, forgery, embezzlement), assault with a deadly weapon, aggravated assault, child molestation, spousal abuse, drug distribution, or other serious crime within the last seven years.
  • Employment history discrepancies of greater than three months without a verifiable and satisfactory explanation.
  • Patterns of reckless/unsafe behavior while driving demonstrated by two or more moving violations within the last two years.

In our experience, a successful railroad worker will:

  • Have at least three years’ working experience around heavy equipment/machinery
  • Be strong and alert
  • Be reliable and detail-oriented
  • Be able to work in all weather conditions and enjoy working outside
  • Be able to follow rules and procedures
  • Be concerned with the safety of himself/herself and others, and be able to understand and promote safe practices
  • Be able to stay organized and keep things in order
  • Enjoy working with his/her hands
  • Be able to work independently or with a team equally well
  • Show competency in basic mathematics, reading, and basic computer skills
  • Be willing and able to complete 6 weeks of full-time, uninterrupted NARS training at the JCCC campus in Overland Park, KS.

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“I think NARS gives a candidate with no experience a better chance of getting hired on with the railroad. I do believe NARS was instrumental with getting a job on the railroad!”

former student hired by BNSF