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Career and Education Opportunities for Signal and Track Switch Repairers in Columbia, Maryland

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for signal and track switch repairers in the Columbia, Maryland area. The national trend for signal and track switch repairers sees this job pool growing by about 1.1% over the next eight years. Signal and track switch repairers generally install, inspect, or repair electric gate crossings, signals, or intercommunications systems within a railroad system.

A person working as a signal and track switch repairer can expect to earn about $25 per hour or $53,660 annually on average in Maryland and about $23 hourly or $49,700 per year on average in the U.S. as a whole. Compared with people working in the overall category of Railroad, people working as signal and track switch repairers in Maryland earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Railroad nationally.

The Columbia area is home to 109 schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Columbia 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 Columbia 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.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Signal and Track Switch Repairer Training

TESST College of Technology-Beltsville - Beltsville, MD

TESST College of Technology-Beltsville, 4600 Powder Mill Rd, Beltsville, MD 20705. TESST College of Technology-Beltsville is a small college located in Beltsville, Maryland. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 641 students. TESST College of Technology-Beltsville has a one to two year program in Electrician which graduated thirty students in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Columbia, Maryland

Columbia, Maryland
Columbia, Maryland photo by Jeff Kubina

Columbia is located in Howard County, Maryland. It has a population of over 96,421. The cost of living index in Columbia, 100, is near the national average.

The three most popular industries for women in Columbia are educational services, health care, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 30 minutes. More than 59.0% of Columbia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 28.7%, is higher than the state average.

The percentage of Columbia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 49.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Abiding Savior Lutheran Church, Atholton Seventh Day Adventist Church and Long Reach Interfaith Center are all churches located in Columbia. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Columbia is home to the Symphony Woods Office Center and the Rivers Corporate Park as well as Middle Patuxent Environmental Area and Clarksville Environmental Area. Shopping centers in the area include Governor Century Plaza Shopping Center, Atholton Shopping Center and Owen Brown Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Columbia can choose from PFMG, Courtyard by Marriott and Hilton Inn Columbia for temporary stays in the area.