Rail Transportation Engineering

Rail Transportation Engineering

Why Major in Rail Transportation Engineering?

Penn State Altoona offers the nation’s first and only bachelor of science degree program in Rail Transportation Engineering (RTE). Our students gain the in-depth engineering and mathematics education required to meet the challenges facing today’s railroad industry. With a worldwide resurgence in rail transportation over the last several decades, there is now a great need to train and educate the next generation of railroad engineering professionals. In the U.S. rail industry alone, it is estimated that the job market has a current demand for about fifty new job openings per year for each graduate of the RTE program. In other words, the demand for qualified engineering students in the rail industry far exceeds the number of graduates that colleges and universities currently are supplying. As a result, many of our students receive multiple job offers in their field prior to graduation.


As an RTE graduate, you can expect to work in management and/or engineering roles in either the private or public sector. Countless rail industry companies and organizations are seeking trained engineering professionals, including: Class I railroad companies; short line railroads; engineering consulting firms; railway suppliers; government agencies; and various research institutions. Based on surveys of recent graduates, starting salaries typically range from $60k to $70k per year.

RTE graduates are prepared for exciting careers in various sectors of the railroad industry including freight, passenger, and transit. While the primary focus of the program is civil infrastructure, students also gain hands-on education and training that will make them marketable for a career in any area of railroad engineering, including: track design and maintenance; construction management; railcar and locomotive design and maintenance; signaling; transportation logistics; and network planning and operations.

If you are a serious engineering-minded student interested in becoming a leader of tomorrow’s railroad industry, the Penn State Altoona RTE program is the right choice for you.