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Career and Education Opportunities for Subway Train Operators in Chicago, Illinois

If you want to be a subway train operator, the Chicago, Illinois area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. The national trend for subway train operators sees this job pool growing by about 18.8% over the next eight years. Subway train operators generally operate subway or elevated suburban train with no separate locomotive, or electric-powered streetcar to transport passengers.

The average wage in the general category of Rail jobs is $22 per hour or $45,084 per year in Illinois, and an average of $22 per hour or $46,704 per year nationwide.

The Chicago area is home to 180 schools of higher education, including three within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can get a degree as a subway train operator. Given that the most common education level for subway train operators is a high school diploma or GED, you can expect to spend only a short time training to become a subway train operator if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Subway Train Operator

Subway Train Operator video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, subway train operators operate subway or elevated suburban train with no separate locomotive, or electric-powered streetcar to transport passengers. They also may handle fares.

Subway train operators report delays and emergencies to supervisors or dispatchers, using radios. They also make announcements to passengers. Equally important, subway train operators have to drive and control rail-guided public transportation, such as subways and electric-powered streetcars or trolleys, in order to move passengers. They are often called upon to make use of controls to open and close transit vehicle doors. They are expected to regulate vehicle speed and the time spent at each stop, so as to maintain schedules. Finally, subway train operators greet passengers and answer questions concerning fares and routings.

Every day, subway train operators are expected to be able to respond quickly in general. They need to maintain precise control of objects and devices through a range of movements. It is also important that they judge how far and close objects are from one another and themselves.

It is important for subway train operators to monitor lights indicating obstructions or other trains ahead and watch for car and truck traffic at crossings to stay alert to potential hazards. They are often called upon to collect fares from passengers, and issue change and transfers. Somewhat less frequently, subway train operators are also expected to direct emergency evacuation procedures.

Subway train operators sometimes are asked to greet passengers and answer questions concerning fares and routings. They also have to be able to attend meetings on driver and passenger safety so as to learn ways in which job performance might be affected And finally, they sometimes have to record transactions and coin receptor readings in order to confirm the amount of money collected.

Like many other jobs, subway train operators must be reliable and be able to deal with stress and deal with situations calmly.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Chicago include:

  • Bus Driver. Drive bus or motor coach, including regular route operations, charters, and private carriage. May assist passengers with baggage. May collect fares or tickets.
  • Taxi Driver. Drive automobiles, vans, or limousines to transport passengers. May occasionally carry cargo.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Subway Train Operator Training

City Colleges of Chicago-Harold Washington College - Chicago, IL

City Colleges of Chicago-Harold Washington College, 30 E Lake St, Chicago, IL 60601-2449. City Colleges of Chicago-Harold Washington College is a medium sized college located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 8,342 students. City Colleges of Chicago-Harold Washington College has a less than one year program in Truck and Bus Driver/Commercial Vehicle Operation which graduated 3,183 students in 2008.

Star Truck Driving School - Hickory Hills, IL

Star Truck Driving School, 7701 West 95th St, Hickory Hills, IL 60457. Star Truck Driving School is a small school located in Hickory Hills, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs. It has 53 students and an admission rate of 74%. Star Truck Driving School has a less than one year program in Truck and Bus Driver/Commercial Vehicle Operation which graduated 204 students in 2008.

Star Truck Driving School - Bensenville, IL

Star Truck Driving School, 710 Larsen Ln, Bensenville, IL 60106. Star Truck Driving School is a small school located in Bensenville, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs. It has 38 students and an admission rate of 82%. Star Truck Driving School has a less than one year program in Truck and Bus Driver/Commercial Vehicle Operation which graduated 332 students 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.