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Career and Education Opportunities for Signal and Track Switch Repairers in Chicago, Illinois

For those living in the Chicago, Illinois area, there are many career and education opportunities for signal and track switch repairers. There are currently 580 jobs for signal and track switch repairers in Illinois and this is projected to shrink 6% to 550 jobs by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for signal and track switch repairers are expected to grow by about 1.1%. Signal and track switch repairers generally install, inspect, or repair electric gate crossings, signals, or intercommunications systems within a railroad system.

The income of a signal and track switch repairer is about $25 per hour or $52,300 yearly on average in Illinois. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $23 hourly or $49,700 per year on average. Compared with people working in the overall category of Railroad, people working as signal and track switch repairers in Illinois earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Railroad nationally.

The Chicago area is home to 180 schools of higher education, including eight within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can get a degree as a signal and track switch repairer. Given that the most common education level for signal and track switch repairers is an Associate's, or other 2-year degree, you can expect to spend about two years studying to be a signal and track switch repairer if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Signal and Track Switch Repairer

In general, signal and track switch repairers install, inspect, or repair electric gate crossings, signals, or intercommunications systems within a railroad system.

Signal and track switch repairers drive motor vehicles to job sites. They also remove faulty wiring or burned-out light bulbs. Equally important, signal and track switch repairers have to examine and test operations, mechanical parts, and circuitry of gate crossings and signal equipment such as interlocks and hotbox detectors. They are often called upon to examine and remove batteries as needed. They are expected to clean lenses of lamps with cloths and solvents. Finally, signal and track switch repairers examine electrical units of railroad grade crossing gates and repair loose bolts and faulty electrical connections and parts.

Every day, signal and track switch repairers are expected to be able to understand events and object details at a distance. They need to evaluate problems as they arise. It is also important that they visualize how things come together and can be organized.

It is important for signal and track switch repairers to lubricate moving parts on gate-crossing mechanisms and swinging signals. They are often called upon to examine switch-controlling mechanisms on trolley wires and in track beds, using hand tools and test equipment. Somewhat less frequently, signal and track switch repairers are also expected to record and report data related to mileage or track inspected, fixes performed, and equipment requiring replacement.

They also have to be able to record and report data related to mileage or track inspected, fixes performed, and equipment requiring replacement and examine electrical units of railroad grade crossing gates and repair loose bolts and faulty electrical connections and parts. And finally, they sometimes have to clean lenses of lamps with cloths and solvents.

Like many other jobs, signal and track switch repairers must be thorough and dependable and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Chicago include:

  • Electrical Line Worker. Install or repair cables or wires used in electrical power or distribution systems. May erect poles and light or heavy duty transmission towers.
  • Television Cable Installer. String and repair telephone and television cable, including fiber optics and other equipment for transmitting messages or television programming.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Signal and Track Switch Repairer Training

City Colleges of Chicago-Richard J Daley College - Chicago, IL

City Colleges of Chicago-Richard J Daley College, 7500 S Pulaski Rd, Chicago, IL 60652-1299. City Colleges of Chicago-Richard J Daley College is a medium sized college located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 9,711 students. City Colleges of Chicago-Richard J Daley College has an associate's degree program in Electrician which graduated five students in 2008.

Coyne American Institute Inc - Chicago, IL

Coyne American Institute Inc, 330 North Green Street, Chicago, IL 60607-1300. Coyne American Institute Inc is a small school located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 840 students. Coyne American Institute Inc has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Electrician which graduated 217 and zero students respectively in 2008.

Prairie State College - Chicago Heights, IL

Prairie State College, 202 South Halsted Street, Chicago Heights, IL 60411-8226. Prairie State College is a medium sized college located in Chicago Heights, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,368 students. Prairie State College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Electrician which graduated nine and eight students respectively in 2008.

College of Lake County - Grayslake, IL

College of Lake County, 19351 W Washington St., Grayslake, IL 60030-1198. College of Lake County is a large college located in Grayslake, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 16,359 students. College of Lake County has an associate's degree program in Electrician which graduated four students in 2008.

Ivy Tech Community College-Northwest - Gary, IN

Ivy Tech Community College-Northwest, 1440 E 35th Ave, Gary, IN 46409-1499. Ivy Tech Community College-Northwest is a medium sized college located in Gary, Indiana. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,701 students. Ivy Tech Community College-Northwest has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Electrician which graduated five and twenty-five students respectively in 2008.

College of DuPage - Glen Ellyn, IL

College of DuPage, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn, IL 60137-6599. College of DuPage is a large college located in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 25,668 students. College of DuPage has an associate's degree program in Electrician which graduated three students in 2008.

Joliet Junior College - Joliet, IL

Joliet Junior College, 1215 Houbolt Rd, Joliet, IL 60431-8938. Joliet Junior College is a large college located in Joliet, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 14,088 students. Joliet Junior College has a one to two year program in Electrician which graduated five students in 2008.

Triton College - River Grove, IL

Triton College, 2000 5th Ave, River Grove, IL 60171-1995. Triton College is a large college located in River Grove, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,547 students. Triton College has a one to two year program in Electrician which graduated one student in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois photo by Dschwen

Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.