How to become a train conductor

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • applying directly

College

You could do a college course like a Level 2 Certificate in Customer Service, which would teach you some of the general skills you need. This may help when you apply for jobs.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course

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Apprenticeship

You may be able to get into this career by completing a passenger transport onboard and station team member intermediate apprenticeship with a train operating company.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship

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Work

You may be able to move into this job after first working as a member of the platform or ticketing staff at a train station.

Direct Application

There are no set entry qualifications if you want to apply directly to train operating companies, although employers will expect you to have a good standard of English and maths.

If selected for interview, companies will usually test you on your maths, communication, and customer service skills.

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Career tips

Experience of working with the public in retail or customer service could give you an advantage. It will also help if you have good knowledge of UK geography and the rail network. 

Further information

You can find out more about jobs in passenger transport from Careers That Move.

You'll find train operating companies through the Rail Delivery Group.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • knowledge of transport methods, costs and benefits
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • knowledge of public safety and security
  • the ability to work on your own
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and Requirements

You'll need to:

  • pass a medical check
  • be screened for drugs and alcohol

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

On a typical day you may:

  • check the carriages are clean before the start of a journey
  • make sure equipment, doors and controls are working properly
  • walk through carriages during the journey to check tickets and travel documents
  • answer passengers' questions about routes, arrival times and connections
  • make announcements over the public address system
  • make sure passengers get on and off the train safely
  • deal with unexpected delays or emergencies, for example a passenger falling ill

Working environment

You could work on a station platform or from a vehicle.

Your working environment may be crowded, cramped and outdoors some of the time.

You may need to wear a uniform.

Career path and progression

Train operating companies often promote existing station staff to conductor jobs, so you may be able to transfer from a platform assistant or onboard catering host role.

With experience, you may be able to progress to senior conductor or train manager, or transfer to a driver training programme.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a train conductor right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

Are you interested in becoming a train conductor?

Search for training courses near you.

Jobs In the United Kingdom

The Find a job service can help you with your search for jobs and send alerts when new jobs become available.

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