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Train operator

Get to know every detail of your trains: as railway employee you will control trains, make sure that the passengers stay safe, and you are responsible for any cargo.

Vocational training content

At the beginning of your vocational training, you will learn everything about trains, right down to the individual components they are made of. This ensures that you will have the necessary technical knowledge that enables you to operate trains safely. After all, as a train operator, you will be responsible for the safety of your passengers or the cargo. The vocational training programme will also teach you how to shunt trains. Upon completion of your vocational training, you will also be able to check railcars and make them ready for operation. In addition, you will acquire knowledge about signalling, operating IT systems and the railway system infrastructure.

Special requirements

Operators of locomotives, railcars and other vehicles have a big responsibility. For this job you need to be able to focus. You should also be technically minded and have some mechanical skills in order to be able to carry out maintenance and inspection work on trains and machinery.

Places of study

This is a dual vocational training programme. The theory is taught at a vocational school (Berufsschule), while practical training takes place at a craftsperson’s workshop or an industrial company.

Duration: 3 years

Remuneration corresponding to years of vocational training

1st year     €1,120
2nd year    €1,189
3rd year     €1,258

Remuneration (TVAöD): gross salary before tax and deductions for social security contributions; source: Federal Employment Agency (BA), as of April 2024.

Sector of activities

  • Road and rail traffic (goods and passenger railway companies)
  • Mining, metal production, foundry, railcars (industrial railways in coal mining, iron and steel production or rail car manufacturing)

Your prospects after completion

  • Employment at a railway company
  • Specialisation in staff allocation
  • Acquiring additional qualifications such as IT or foreign language skills
  • Continuing vocational training to obtain a higher vocational qualification in engineering, business administration or as a bachelor professional (Fachwirt)

Further information on this profession:


Information on the web

  1. Federal Ministry of Education and Research – Praktisch unschlagbar! Useful links on vocational training
  2. Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB) Profiles of several occupations requiring vocational training

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