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Career and Education Opportunities for Track Layers in Joliet, Illinois

There are many career and education opportunities for track layers in the Joliet, Illinois area. There are currently 1,390 jobs for track layers in Illinois and this is projected to grow 4% to 1,450 jobs by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for track layers are expected to grow by about 14.8%. In general, track layers lay, repair, and maintain track for standard or narrow-gauge railroad equipment used in regular railroad service or in plant yards, quarries, sand and gravel pits, and mines.

Track layers earn approximately $20 hourly or $42,750 per year on average in Illinois. Nationally they average about $21 hourly or $44,220 yearly. Earnings for track layers are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Paving in Illinois and better than general Paving category earnings nationally.

The Joliet area is home to 132 schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Joliet where you can get a degree as a track layer. Given that the most common education level for track layers is a high school diploma or GED, it will take only a short time to learn to be a track layer if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Track Layer

Track Layer video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, track layers lay, repair, and maintain track for standard or narrow-gauge railroad equipment used in regular railroad service or in plant yards, quarries, sand and gravel pits, and mines. They also includes ballast cleaning machine operators and road bed tamping machine operators.

Track layers repair and adjust track switches, using wrenches and replacement parts. They also trim rails to specified lengths, using rail saws. Equally important, track layers have to operate track-wrench equipment to tighten or loosen bolts at joints that hold ends of rails together. They are often called upon to lubricate machines and fill hydraulic reservoirs to specified levels. They are expected to clean and make minor repairs to machines and equipment. Finally, track layers engage mechanisms that lay tracks or rails to specified gauges.

Every day, track layers are expected to be able to maintain precise control of objects and devices through a range of movements. They need to judge how far and close objects are from one another and themselves. It is also important that they lift, push and move large and heavy objects.

It is important for track layers to grind ends of new or worn rails to attain smooth joints, using portable grinders. They are often called upon to patrol assigned track sections so that damaged or broken track can be located and reported. They also operate single- or multiple-head spike driving equipment to drive spikes into ties and secure rails. They are sometimes expected to dress and reshape worn or damaged railroad switch points and frogs, using portable power grinders. Somewhat less frequently, track layers are also expected to turn wheels of machines, using lever controls, to modify guidelines for track alignments and grades, following specifications.

and string and attach wire-guidelines machine to rails so that tracks or rails can be aligned or leveled. And finally, they sometimes have to drive graders and ballast cleaning/spreading equipment to redistribute gravel and ballast between rails.

Like many other jobs, track layers must be reliable and be thorough and dependable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Joliet include:

  • Black Top Paver Operator. Operate equipment used for applying concrete, asphalt, or other materials to road beds, parking lots, or airport runways and taxiways, or equipment used for tamping gravel, dirt, or other materials. Includes concrete and asphalt paving machine operators, form tampers, tamping machine operators, and stone spreader operators.
  • Highway Maintenance Worker. Maintain highways, municipal and rural roads, airport runways, and rights-of-way. Duties include patching broken or eroded pavement, repairing guard rails, highway markers, and snow fences. May also mow or clear brush from along road or plow snow from roadway.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Track Layer Training

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 Construction/Heavy Equipment/Earthmoving Equipment Operation which graduated two students in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Joliet, Illinois

Joliet, Illinois
Joliet, Illinois photo by Joliet82

Joliet is situated in Will County, Illinois. It has a population of over 146,125, which has grown by 37.6% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Joliet, 100, is near the national average. New single-family homes in Joliet are priced at $172,400 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, two hundred forty-four new homes were constructed in Joliet, down from seven hundred sixty-nine the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Joliet are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, public administration, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average commute to work is about 29 minutes. More than 18.6% of Joliet residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 5.7%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Joliet is 12.4%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Joliet residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 53.9%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. All Nation Church of God in Christ, All Saints Greek Orthodox Church and Holy Cross Catholic Church are all churches located in Joliet. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the United Methodist Church.

Joliet is home to the Will County Courthouse and the Timber Ridge Business Park as well as Joliet East Side Historic District and Rock Run County Forest Preserve. Shopping centers in the area include Joliet Mall Shopping Center, Caton Crossing Town Square Shopping Center and Twin Oaks Place Shopping Center. Visitors to Joliet can choose from Great Escapes Travel, Hampton Inn Joliet/I-80- IL and Bel-Air Motel for temporary stays in the area.