Admission Requirements - Railroad Programs

The following criteria must be met before acceptance into the NARS railroad conductor program. This is not an employment opportunity but strictly an educational opportunity. Signal program applicants, please contact the NARS office for details.

Selection Process and Requirements

  • 10 weeks prior to class start date: Financial Aid must be submitted. Applicants are responsible for checking their student account to ensure all documentation is submitted successfully.
  • 6 weeks prior to class start date: $500 non-refundable deposit due. This deposit goes toward tuition.
  • 4 weeks prior to class start date: Remaining full cost of tuition due.
  • Must be at least 18 years old and possess a high school or general education diploma (GED).
  • Ability to lift 75 lbs.
  • Pass a hearing and vision test. Railroad safety standards require applicants not be color blind. Forms must be completed by an audiologist and ophthalmologist. The Kansas City area offers multiple Corporate Care facilities. Return forms to Gretchen Henderson or fax to 913-469-3864.
  • More info about Employment Eligibility Requirements.

Steps to Apply

  • Choose a session date.
  • Apply online: Application is good for 2 years.
  • Application hints:
    • Under the Academic Major at JCCC section, select Program and search Railroad to select either certificate or A.A.S.
    • The Academic Term is the college semester in which the class session of your choice begins.
  • Once an application has been processed by the JCCC Admissions office, the student should check their email for enrollment status and any necessary action.
  • Class space is limited. Applicants will be notified if their class session choice is full and will be invited to attend the next available class session.

Other costs to consider:

  • Tuition: Between $6,000 - $8,000 (subject to permanent residence)
  • $500 non-refundable tuition deposit due 10 days after receiving certified acceptance letter.
  • Books: Approximately $100
  • Railroad approved footwear: Between $100 - $150
  • Hearing & Vision tests: Approximately $60
  • Lodging: Approximately $1,200 - $1,400


Your Choices:

  • Fast-Track Conductor Certificate: The 16 weeks of classes, as stated above, will earn you a certificate. (Major code 4410.)
  • AAS Degree: 2 years of general education classes, including the conductor certificate requirements, will earn you an Associate’s Degree. (Major code 2980.)
  • Online: 6 month sessions. Only 7 days required attendance on campus.

Conductor program facts:

  • 6 consecutive weeks of classes are held at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas. Classes are held Monday thru Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM including 1 Saturday from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM.
  • Additional 10 weeks allowed for self-paced classes online.
  • All conductor instructors are former railroad conductors who have met industry standards in addition to HLC standards.
  • Students have an opportunity to earn an interview with BNSF, or other opportunities, at the end of the first 6 weeks.
  • Class size is limited to the first 14 students who enroll and pay.

NARS facts:

  • NARS is a partnership between BNSF Railway and Johnson County Community College.
  • Established in 1988, NARS offers training to those seeking a job in the railroad industry.
  • The NARS training facility occupies 130,000 square feet of office, classroom, laboratory and multimedia studio space.
  • Students are exposed to laboratory conditions and simulated situations that duplicate on-the-job requirements.
  • NARS video