Finding the Right Rail Industry Career Path and Related Education: One of the important decisions for people interested in rail industry careers is to determine their "career preferences". There are multiple ways to enter the industry/to obtain necessary education and training. While choosing one path over another doesn't exclude moving from one path to another while in the industry, it provides clarification on one's selection from different educational opportunities. The paragraphs below provide information on the two main "categories" of rail industry employment and related educational opportunities.
BS, MS & PhD:
Obtaining a degree in higher education allows for concentrated studies in a specific field of study (Michigan Tech and other universities). Individuals whom graduate with these levels of education typically enter the field as management or technical experts. Some examples of these types of degrees are: engineering, marketing, business, accounting/finance, transportation and logistics.
Operational Workforce Education/ Training (Not provided at Michigan Tech):
Operational workforce education and training programs prepare individuals for entry level and lower level management positions. These programs can range from months (certificate / certification training) to a few years (Associate Degree), depending on educational focus. Most programs are offered through community colleges or specialized technical schools. These programs typically train individuals for trades like: conductor, locomotive engineer, first hand mechanical, signals / telecom coordinator, maintenance or operations personnel, first hand management etc.
The figure below illustrates the university and operational workforce paths.