Full-time BCIT/Industry Partnership Certificate 2070ipcert


The Railway Conductor (RWCD) training program has been designed and developed in partnership with the Railway Association of Canada. It is deliveried under the guidance of an Industry Steering Committee comprised of representatives from railway companies in Canada.

Conductors work as members of a train crew in either road or yard service. Conductors are involved with switching cars, making or splitting up trains in yards, or moving cars between yards, sidings or tracks according to instructions originating with yard and train planners. The role of the Conductor is an important link between customer satisfaction and maintaining efficient operations.

Wonder if the railway conductor career path is the right one for you? Check out the self-assessmentto learn more.

Check out BCIT Railway Students at the Port Alberni Practical Site

The Program

The program is 17 weeks long (1 term). The program is presented in a combination of classroom instruction, hands-on training through the use of the BCIT railway yard, lab facilities and work site field trips, and up to three days of immersive practical experience at an operational heritage railroad facility with ten miles of track located on Vancouver Island.

Program Entry

Application processing

Applications are accepted throughout the year.

Entrance requirements

Applicants must meet all entrance requirements and will be accepted on a first qualified basis as long as space remains. When available intakes are full, qualified applicants are wait-listed.

Applicants must meet all entrance requirements prior to applying to this program. If you are uncertain or don’t meet the requirements we strongly recommend you complete any applicable Trades Pre-entry Tests before applying.

Note: See the Industry Partnership section for additional information.

Read more about how to meet BCIT’s entrance requirements

Recommended for success

  • Potential students with medical or physical disabilities should contact the Disability Resource Centre to arrange an interview with the institute's rehabilitation specialist at 604-451-6963 (telephone interview is acceptable for out of town applicants).

Trades Discovery
The Trades Discovery General and Trades Discovery for Women are full-time programs designed to prepare participants to successfully enter and complete a Trades Training program.

Apply to program

BCIT accepts only complete applications. In order to apply:

  • Include proof of meeting all entrance requirements prior to submission
  • Convert all transcripts and supporting documents to PDF files
  • Have a credit card ready to pay the application fee
Apply Now

You can check the status of your application online at any time using the Student Information System.

Scheduled intakes

August and January

*Scheduled intakes are subject to change


Within two business days of submitting your completed application, BCIT will send a message to your personal and myBCIT e-mail addresses. All correspondence regarding your application will be posted to your online myCommunication account at my.bcit.ca. We'll send you an e-mail when a new message is posted. It's important to watch for these e-mails or regularly check your account online.

You can expect to receive communication concerning the status of your application within four weeks.

Costs & Supplies


Tuition fees

Please see the Fees, Payments and Refunds section of the website for information on full-time tuition fees.

Books and supplies

  • Books and supplies costs (including personal protective clothing) are approximately $725
  • Hotel costs for up to three nights (during off-campus practicum activities). Students often bunk together to reduce these costs.

(general estimated cost, subject to change)

CSA approved safety glasses, work gloves, and footwear required. Footwear must be steel-toed, leather, ankle covering boots. Rain gear is also recommended (hoods cannot be worn while in the railway yard).

Financial assistance

Financial assistance may be available for this program. For more information, please contact Student Financial Aid and Awards.


Class hours

0800–1430, Monday through Friday

Note: The established hours of instruction are 0800 to 1430, but the scheduling of academic courses, field trips, and practicum may require some activity to be scheduled outside of these hours.

Program matrix

Required Courses: Credits
  RWCD 1020 Introduction to Computers 1.0
  RWCD 1022 Communications for Conductors 2.0
  RWCD 1024 Railway Culture 1.0
  RWCD 1026 Life and Work Management 1.0
  RWCD 1028 Professional Skills 1.5
  RWCD 1030 Conductors' Duties 1.0
  RWCD 1032 Introduction to Railway Operations 1.5
  RWCD 1034 Movements and Equipment Inspections 1.5
  RWCD 1036 Introduction to Railway Business 1.0
  RWCD 1038 Railway Lab 3.0
  RWCD 1040 Introduction to Industrial Organization 1.0
  RWCD 1042 Preparation for Employment 1.5
  RWCD 1044 Air Brake Systems and Tests 1.0
  RWCD 1046 Switching and Marshalling 1.0
  RWCD 1048 Practicum 2.5
  RWCD 1050 Rules, Authorities and Record Keeping 8.5
  RWCD 1052 Transportation of Dangerous Goods 1.0
  RWCD 1054 Safety Culture 2.0
  RWCD 1056 Crew Resource Management 1.0
Total Credits: 34.0

Transfer credit

Do you have credits from another BC/Yukon post-secondary school? Do you want to know if they transfer to courses here at BCIT? Check out BCIT's Transfer Equivalency Database to find out.

Program Details

Program length

17 weeks, full-time


Student learning is evaluated throughout the program. To complete the program, the minimum passing grade is 70% in each course, except RWCD 1050 and RWCD 1052 for which the minimum passing grade is 85%. To qualify for graduation, students must pass all courses.

Program location

Annacis Island Campus
1608 Cliveden Avenue
Delta, BC
V3M 6M2

Graduating & Jobs

Job Opportunities

The railway industry overall will be facing rates of retirement turnover as high as 70% over the next 8 to 10 years which will result in a demand for graduates. BCIT's Railway Conductor program prepares graduates for employment in Class 1 railways and shortlines in North America, industrial railways, sidings and spurs at grain elevators, dockyards, rail suppliers and regional carriers.

Check on the following links for potential employment:

Graduates can expect good salaries in the starting range of $45,000 - $65,000 per year, and opportunities for advancement to positions of greater responsibility.

For more information visit:

BCIT partnerships

Graduate employment outcomes

The BCIT student outcomes reports present summary findings from the annual survey of former students administered by BC Stats one to two years after graduation. These reports combine the last three years of available results for the 2013-2015 BCIT Outcomes Surveys of 2012-2014 graduates and for Degree 2010-2012 graduates. The reports are organized into three-page summaries containing information on graduates' labour market experiences and opinions regarding their education. More detailed information can be accessed at the BC Student Outcomes website.

To view these results, you may need to have the Adobe Acrobat Reader installed in your Web browser.


Wonder if the railway conductor career path is the right one for you? Check out the self-assessment below to learn more.

Will I enjoy the working conditions of a Railway Conductor?
  • Standard salary pay scale starts from $45,000 to $65,000 per year, and usually with guaranteed pay on “spare board” work. After gaining a few years of experience (and overtime,) you can expect to earn $80,000 or more per year.

  • The job may become a lifelong career with opportunities to advance and network in the railway transportation industry spanning across the continent.

  • Typical employer is a large, seniority based, unionized organization.

  • For the first three to seven years, work is 24/7 on call, mostly on spare board, with two hours of notice. Expect long, odd hours, and shift work including weekends and statutory holidays. Depending on the work location, you may work away from home for up to two days at a time.

  • Outdoor work could be day or night shifts, in all types of weather conditions. Be prepared to supply your own clothing and dress appropriately for sun, rain, wind, sleet and snow.

  • Work is physically demanding. You must be able to lift up to 85 lbs., walk on uneven terrain, and perform work while the train is moving.

  • Work can be dangerous. You need to be safety-oriented, and note that the Conductor is usually the first person who appears at the scene of an accident.

  • Work on and around large, heavy, moving, and stationary equipment is required.

  • Work independently or in small teams with little or no supervision

Do I have the skills needed to be a successful Railway Conductor?
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills to convey accurate information.

  • Proper hand signals, and clear voice, enunciation and proper protocols on radio equipment. It is important to note that the use of radio communication is more frequent than face-to-face communication.

  • Skills such as conflict resolution, coaching and ability to work with small teams of two to three people, with different co-workers in every shift.

  • Mechanical and technical aptitude to operate and carry out basic repairs on freight equipment and track appliances.

  • Commitment to customer service and safe work practices.

  • Carry out inspections and tests in accordance to railway rules and specifications.

  • Use and interpret technical documentation, railway terminology, and railway rules and regulation.

  • Identify and document defects, and make necessary repairs on railway equipment.

  • Basic computer skills to log data, access information, complete self-training and operate computerized locomotive.

What would be required to be employable as a Railway Conductor?
  • A valid class 5 driver’s licence and reliable transportation is an asset as employees are required to arrive at the home terminal within a two-hour call window. Some employers may also require employees to operate company vehicles.

  • All employers require new employees to undergo a criminal record check. Applicants should ensure that they have the ability to pass a criminal record check, or obtain a pardon, prior to entering the program./

  • All railways have a zero tolerance policy towards the use of alcohol and drugs. Applicants should be prepared to submit to a mandatory drug and alcohol test upon employment, and should expect random alcohol and drug use tests throughout employment. BCIT will enforce the same zero tolerance policy during training.

  • There are a number of strict medical rules and requirements that apply to railway employees, and these may exclude certain candidates from employment, for example: colour blindness, and certain prescription medications. Also, there is a mandatory railway medical exam that must be successfully completed upon employment. Please consult Railway Association of Canada website for the Medical Rules Handbook for specific details.

  • High school graduation or GED required.

  • Periodic re-certifications and technical training are required throughout employment.

  • Flexibility to go where the jobs are, with the understanding that jobs may not be in the Lower Mainland, and there may be layoffs in the first years of this career.

  • This program prepares graduates for employment with Class 1 railways and shortlines in North America, industrial railways, sidings and spurs at grain elevators, dockyards, rail suppliers, and regional carriers

Do I have the entry requirements for the Railway Conductor program?
  • Two years of education in English in an English-speaking country with one of the following:
    • English 12 (50%) or
    • Communications 12 (67%) or
    • Three credits of Post-Secondary English, Humanities or Social Sciences (50%) from an accredited institution or
    • BCIT English Trades Pre-entry Test (for applicants who have two years of education in an English-speaking country only).
  • Math: one of the following:

*Subject to change without notice. Please see program page for current information.

Will the program work for me?
  • This is a full time program comprised of 19 courses, with a 40-hour practicum, that spreads over 17 weeks for six hours per day. Upon graduation, you will be awarded an Industry Partnership Certificate from both BCIT and the Railway Association of Canada.

  • The practicum training provides you with real-life railroading experience. Part of the training will be conducted out of town. You are responsible for travel expenses such as fuel, ferry, accommodations, and meals.

  • Training will also take place at other locations outside of BCIT and you will be expected to pay for your travel expenses.

  • To comply with railway industry protocols and for your safety, cell phones or electronic devices are not permitted in the classroom.

  • You must have a reliable watch that indicates hours, minutes, and seconds, and will be required to supply your own Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) ie work gloves, clear protective glasses, and CSA approved 6” high, steel toed, leather lace-up boots, with ankle support, and minimum 3/8” heel height at right angle from the sole.

  • Most courses require a passing grade of 70%, however, two safety-sensitive courses (RWCD 1050 Rules, Authorities and Record Keeping, and RWCD 1052 Transportation of Dangerous Goods) require passing grades of 85%.

  • Exam requirements: 14 of the 19 courses have one or more exams (multiple choice, short answers, essay style, or scenarios) or combinations of exams, written assignments and / or case studies. The other five courses are evaluated through either hands-on activities or written assignments. Homework will be assigned every day.

Contact Us

Monica Serbanescu
Chief Instructor
Railway Conductor program
Telephone: 604-451-6838
Email: Monica_Serbanescu@bcit.ca

Questions or comments?

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The personal information on this form is collected under the authority of the College and Institute Act (RSBC 1996, Ch.52). BCIT will use this information to communicate with you regarding relevant BCIT programs, courses and services. This information is only used by authorized BCIT staff. Email communication sent to and from BCIT is routed through the United States of America. If you have any questions about BCIT's collection and use of this information, please contact BCIT’s manager of Information Access and Privacy.

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I am currently working at PNR Railworks as a Field Engineer and I certainly owe a large portion of my success to my instructors at BCIT ... They are all knowledgeable, passionate, and professional, but most importantly, they care about the students’ futures like it is their own children’s. ... My experience was an exceptional one which I will always cherish and be grateful for...
Tarogh Sayfaei, Railway Conductor program graduate


The program was right to the point as an entry into the railroad industry. The courses were practical and thorough, with both in-class theory and hands-on practice at the facility. The teachers were knowledgeable, patient and approachable. Andrew Chapman , Railway Conductor program graduate


Taking this course has changed my life ... This course gave me strength, confidence, and a solid foundation to start from. I have always worked in the forest industry and never thought of railroading. This course set a great routine and with a solid crew (instructors) made coming to class daily a treat. Hats off to (Chief Instructor) Monica and (her) great crew.
Steve MacLeod, First Nations Class 16 graduate