Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some frequently asked questions ― and answers ― about working in Canada’s rail industry.

Do I need a need a college degree to work in the railway industry?

No. New recruits can enter the industry right out of high school and will be given on-the-job training through entry-level positions with railway companies. If you want to pursue a career in railway operations, you can complete the Railway Conductor Program at a number of community colleges across Canada ― it positions graduates as strong contenders for available railway positions.

Do I have to complete an apprenticeship if I want to work in the railway industry?

No. You would only complete an apprenticeship if you were interested in learning a skilled trade. Railways currently hire workers from three different provincially or nationally recognized trades: Heavy Duty Equipment TechniciansIndustrial Electricians and Welders.

If I complete an apprenticeship am I only able to practise that trade in the province that I was certified in?

In some cases, yes. However, some trades are Red Seal certified, which allows you to practise the trade in any province or territory in Canada without having to write further examinations.

I work for a railway outside of Canada but would like to relocate and be considered for work in Canada. What should I do?

Typically, if you are eligible to work in Canada and are interested in working for a Canadian railway you will need to apply directly to job postings at each company. Please note: The Railway Association of Canada does not accept unsolicited resumés, nor do we share them with our members.

How can I find out about job postings in the railway industry?

It’s easy ― just visit our job postings page or visit the careers page on any of our member railways’ websites.

I’m interested in a career as a Conductor. Will I travel in this position?

Possibly. Most Conductors work in rail yards initially, but with sufficient experience are assigned to work on long-haul jobs. To learn more about being a Conductor, visit our Career Options section.

I don’t live in a city or near a major rail station (such as VIA Rail). Can I still work in the railway industry? 

Rail is definitely not just for urbanites or for those who live near major stations. In fact, if you live in a rural area, chances are there is a major train depot or terminal near you ― you just don’t realize it.

For more information about working in the railway industry, please contact:

Janet Greene
Director, Outreach and Education
(613) 564-8109