The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, known as Amtrak, is a medium and long-distance rail service that connects cities throughout the contiguous US as well as nine cities in Canada.
Employing more than 20,000 people throughout America, Amtrak has been providing rail connections for more than 49 years - and every year, 31 million people travel the continent using their services.
Careers At Amtrak Rail
Working at Amtrak has many benefits, whether you are an engineer or a conductor, or even a part of the customer services team.
Aside from unlimited career growth through professional and personal opportunities, the performance-based culture helps to create a good work/life balance.
Alongside this, employees can expect the following benefits:
- Great salary
- Rail pass travel privileges
- Service award trips
- Generous paid vacation
- Family and medical leave
- Medical, vision, dental, and prescription drug plans
- Local perks like theatre and sports tickets, bike shares and theme parks
- Income protection and help with tax-free accounts
- Higher retirement benefits than SSA
- Financial support for further education
- Voluntary benefits like home, auto and pet insurance.
The culture at Amtrak aims to provide safe, efficient and effective travel for all, with friendly, high-quality service that leverages the expertise of employees.
Amtrak Rail Job Types
Job types at Amtrak can be categorised as Operations and Corporate, with roles throughout the business open for internships, Management Trainee Scheme, and experienced hires including veterans and those actively serving.
Roles in operations include:
- Transportation (including conductors
- Network Support
- Amtrak Police
The corporate side of the business include roles in:
- Stations (including customer service)
- Properties and Accessibility
- Enterprise Project Management Office
- Safety, Health and Environmental
- Strategy and Planning
- Government Affairs and Corporate Communications
- Information Technology
How To Get Hired At Amtrak Rail
Getting hired at Amtrak depends on your skills, knowledge and experience - and where your interests lie.
For internships and co-ops, there are some basic qualifications including maintaining a 2.8 GPA minimum and being enrolled as an undergraduate or graduate, and for each advertised role there will be minimum criteria that must be met.
To be successful in your application, you must research not only the role, but the Amtrak business and the wider industry so that you understand what the company wants to achieve in the future.
It is also important to ensure that you align with the values of the business, as these are important factors in the personalities that the recruitment team are looking for.
- Do the right thing
- Put customers first
- Excel together.
With more than 20,000 employees, the Amtrak culture is one of diversity and inclusion, so working together to innovate is important to the business. Without passengers, a railroad is obsolete - so putting customers first is a given. When it comes to doing the right thing, this includes safety considerations as well as looking after the interests of the customers and the business.
Amtrak Rail Application Process
The Amtrak application process depends entirely on your route into employment, but you are likely to find the following steps whether you are applying as an experienced hire or as an intern.
All Amtrak jobs can be found on their careers page, and to apply you must first create a client profile.
This is the hub of your application, containing all the details about you, your experience, qualifications and skills.
Once you have applied for a role, you will receive an email notification that it has been received, and the employment team will review your application to ensure that you meet the minimum criteria. If you have been successful, you will receive an email outlining your next steps.
Pre- And Post-Hire Qualification Assessments
The assessments used through the application process will depend on the role you have applied for, but they are all designed to ensure that you have the right aptitudes, skills and personality traits to be successful at Amtrak, making it easier for the employment team to take the right candidates further in the application process.
Amtrak Cultural Fit Assessment
The bespoke Culture Fit Assessment is an important part of the recruitment process, and is found in the majority of job role applications.
It is a tailored multiple-choice test that is designed to assess your work behaviours, motivations, and experiences to ensure that you have the personality traits that are needed to be successful in the role and in the wider culture of the business.
This assessment is not timed, but usually takes more than an hour to complete. It is similar in style to a personality assessment that you may have encountered elsewhere, in that you need to rate the provided statements based on how much you think they describe you.
This online assessment needs honesty and some deep self-reflection to be completed successfully, and as such, there is no real way to prepare for it - but it is important that you answer as truthfully as you can - not only will untrue answers invalidate the test, but your culture fit is just as important for your enjoyment of the role as it is for Amtrak to find the most successful candidates.
Situational Judgement Test
A situational judgement test is designed to assess the way you solve problems, and how you behave in a work setting.
For this test, you will be provided with some fictional but realistic workplace scenarios that need solving, with several possible solutions provided. You need to decide what the best course of action would be, and how you would choose to deal with the problem
There are no 'right or wrong' answers, instead, your responses are used to compare to an 'ideal candidate' profile to see if your work behaviour matches the values and culture of the business.
Numerical Reasoning Test
Numerical reasoning tests assess your ability to work with data in tables and graphs, as well as how you can apply basic mathematical operators to find a logical answer.
In this type of assessment, you will be provided with a table or graph containing numerical data, often related to the business and/or job role that you have applied for. Each table will be followed by one or more questions with multiple choice answers, and you need to quickly read, understand and analyse the information to choose the right answer.
The calculations needed are usually basic school-level math - multiplication, division, addition, subtraction, percentages and ratios as well as fractions.
Mechanical Reasoning Test
If you are applying for an operations role, especially mechanical or engineering positions, then you are likely to be asked to complete a mechanical reasoning test.
This assessment is a multiple-choice test, where you will be provided with a technical drawing or image that describes a mechanical process or physics 'rule', and there will be a question about what will happen, or what you are seeing in the drawing.
Here, the assessment is of your understanding of physics, concepts like gravity, force, acceleration, electricity, pulleys and levers, as well as gears and hydraulics.
This test is usually timed.
The interview process used at Amtrak is based around your behavior, asking for examples where you can demonstrate that your competencies match both the requirements of the role you have applied for as well as the values of the business.
The interview is a panel format, where you will be asked questions by a number of people. This is likely to include Amtrak employees in recruitment, HR, and your line manager.
During this interview, you will be asked a number of questions about your experience, your resume, and your qualifications.
The interviewers are expecting you to provide succinct examples from your experience that describe the competencies they are looking for - like teamwork, leadership, customer service and any others that are needed for the specific role.
Background Checks & Screening
Usually after the interview, and sometimes after the job offer, you will be required to undergo a thorough background check. This is looking for not only references from previous work, but also checking on your criminal and financial history.
There will also be a drug test administered for certain roles, screening for illegal drugs. You will be informed if the role you have applied for requires a drug screening.
Tips to Get Hired at Amtrak
Prepare For The Assessments
Assessments during the recruitment process are a great way for recruiters to narrow the candidate pool quickly and fairly, but as an applicant, they can be nerve-wracking.
Give yourself the best chance in the assessments by preparing as much as you can - through practice tests, revision of basic physics and mathematical principles, and ensuring that you are well-rested, hydrated and have eaten well.
The tests are administered online, so you can take them at home. Be sure to prepare a test area where you will not be disturbed, turn off notifications and check that your internet connection is strong and secure.
Build Your Confidence
Applying for a new job needs confidence, and one way that you can build yours is to know what you can bring to the role from your previous experience and qualifications.
You will have chosen the role you have applied for because you are interested in the position and working for Amtrak - and you will meet the basic criteria as described in the post. It isn't blowing your own horn when you are letting the recruitment team know what you have already achieved, and you need to be clear when talking about what you can bring to America's Railroad when they employ you, too.
Practice Interview Questions
An important part of the recruitment process is the interview, and for most people a panel-style interview is the most intimidating.
However, practicing your answers and knowing what you are going to talk about when you are in there is a great way to get rid of at least some of those nerves.
Look at the values of the business, and think of an example of your experience where you have demonstrated that value.
Use the STAR method to help you phrase your answer effectively - begin with the Situation, describe the Task that you had to complete, list the Actions that you took, and finish with the Results. This is a simple way to make sure that you get all the necessary information across succinctly.
The Amtrak team wants you to keep your answers below three minutes long, so bear that in mind when you are practicing.
For each value listed above, repeat this process, and look at the competencies listed in the job description so that you know the questions you're likely to be asked.
Research The Company
This is an important step that is often overlooked by applicants, and this means it is a really easy way to impress the recruitment team.
Go beyond knowing the job role inside out - look for information on the Amtrak website about news and relevant stories. Keep an eye on national news for any mention of them, and think about the wider railroad and transportation industry too.
It is likely that you will have the opportunity to ask your own questions during the interview, and insightful questions based on your own research are bound to impress the panel.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Amtrak A Good Company To Work For?
According to job boards, Amtrak is generally a well-regarded place to work, with great opportunities for advancement and excellent benefits, especially when it comes to travel.
Does Amtrak Pay Well?
Although pay rates vary by location and position, the average salary for a Customer Service Representative at Amtrak is around $65,000 (Glassdoor)
How Long Is The Amtrak Hiring Process?
The Amtrak hiring process can take up to 90 days from the initial application. The Amtrak employment team will only get in contact with applicants if they have been successful, so if you do not hear back from them you are welcome to apply for another role.
Where Do Amtrak Workers Sleep?
On long-distance journeys, Amtrak workers can take their breaks in a designated dorm car. They usually have duty time of 12 hours or less, and can sleep on the train during breaks.