According to Union Pacific, as of 2015 the company boasts the following credentials; 32,100 route miles, 44,500 employees, and an annual revenue of $21.81 billion (ranking only slightly behind BNSF Railway in this regard). As such, if you have any interest in a career with the railroad, specifically within transportation or maintenance, please be aware that the company will place you wherever needed. For instance, if you live in Texas, where UP maintains a very large presence, and would like to remain there it may or may not be possible as you could be assigned to a district anywhere across its system from Chicago to California. Also, if you are a college student or plan to work in the management field Union Pacific offers internships, on-campus recruiting, and other events to get your foot in the door. Thankfully, as the largest Class I in North American the company offers a fairly extensive recruiting and internship programs.
To give you an idea of what it means for a railroad to be determined as a "Class I" this is actually just a term it is assigned through the Association of American Railroads (AAR). The ARR breaks down railroads by their annual operating revenue and assigns them a class based on those earnings (Class I, II, and III). It has been adjusted over the years although at one time there were more than 100 Class Is in operation with names that even most in the general probably recognize such as the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe or the Pennsylvania Railroad. For more information about Class I railroads please click here. Of all the major railroads, UP provides perhaps the most extensive careers website. From the main home page you can learn more about the company and its history, job openings, recruiting events, careers for military veterans, and finally its various departments. For purposes of this page, the latter will be briefly highlighted.
All Class I's today, except for Kansas City Southern, break down their available careers within various sectors, and UP is no different albeit doing so on a somewhat broad scale. There are three primary areas; Railroad Operations, Professional, and the company's Operations Management Training Program (entailing entry-level managerial careers). With operations, UP lists several departments including Transportation (perhaps the most well known job in railroading this pertains to the fields of conductor and engineer, the crew which oversees the safe operation of trains between two points); Mechanical (dealing with the maintenance locomotives, cars, and vehicles careers here include Diesel Electrician, Diesel Mechanic, Freight Car Repairer, and Mechanical Service Operator); Engineering (this area deals exclusively with maintaining the railroad's infrastructure and includes the positions of Track Laborer, Assistant Signal Person/Signal Maintainer, Bridge/Building Carpenter, and Work Equipment Mechanic; and finally Administrative/Telecommunications careers.
The Professional sector is the business/corporate level and acquiring a job in this area almost always requires some form of undergraduate/graduate college education. Depending upon your area of interest there are several fields here to choose from including Corporate Relations/Communications/Public Affairs, Finance & Accounting, Human Resources, Information Technologies, Labor Relations, Law, Marketing & Sales, Operations, Supply, Engineering, Mechanical, and Transportation. You can also apply for a position at the Harriman Dispatching Center in such areas as train dispatcher, customer service, or administrative. As a few final thoughts please let me stress the difficulty in being a railroader, in the event you are expressing interest in hiring on in the transportation or maintenance fields. While these areas generally do not require a college education the work can long, hard, with totally unpredictable hours (it is actually quite common to work 12 hours for days and days). As such, it can make a home and family life tough so please think it through before deciding if it is right for you. Of course, it can also be quite rewarding as a railroader with excellent pay, benefits, and retirement.
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Union Pacific Careers