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Career and Education Opportunities for Subway Train Operators in Seattle, Washington

If you want to be a subway train operator, the Seattle, Washington 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 $20 per hour or $40,620 per year in Washington, and an average of $22 per hour or $46,704 per year nationwide.

The Seattle area is home to sixty-five schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Seattle where you can get a degree as a subway train operator. Subway train operators usually hold a high school diploma or GED, so it will take only a short time to learn to be 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 Seattle 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

Bates Technical College - Tacoma, WA

Bates Technical College, 1101 S Yakima Ave, Tacoma, WA 98405. Bates Technical College is a medium sized college located in Tacoma, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 2,807 students. Bates Technical College has a less than one year program in Truck and Bus Driver/Commercial Vehicle Operation which graduated eighty-nine students in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington
Seattle, Washington photo by Dschwen

Seattle is located in King County, Washington. It has a population of over 598,541, which has grown by 6.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Seattle, 126, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Seattle are valued at $206,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, five hundred ninety-five new homes were built in Seattle, down from seven hundred seventy-five the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Seattle are health care, professional, scientific, and technical services, and educational services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, construction, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 25 minutes. More than 47.2% of Seattle residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 17.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Seattle is 7.8%, which is less than Washington's average of 8.7%.

The percentage of Seattle residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Seattle is home to the Berth 5 and the Akli Point Lighthouse as well as Lincoln Park and Myrtle Edwards Park. Shopping centers in the area include Lake City Shopping Center, Westwood Village Shopping Center and Oak Tree Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Seattle can choose from A-1 Motel, Arlington Suites and Marriott Sea-Tac Airport for temporary stays in the area.