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MTA Signal Helper

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has reopened its search for Signal Helpers at the Long Island Rail Road. Applications will be accepted through Nov. 2. There is no fee. Signal Helper is an entry-level position in the Signal Department, which is responsible for the equipment and circuitry that operates crossing gates, signals and switches. Wages progress to an hourly rate of $25.97. Signal Helpers work out of the LIRR facility at Hillside, Queens.

One Application is Plenty

The MTA advises that if you applied earlier this year you should not apply again. Your previous application may still be under consideration. A Signal Helper performs physical labor that includes but is not limited to excavating for installation cables, airlines and foundations; trimming trees and cutting brush; painting various types of signal equipment, driving company vehicles; and providing protection for gangs (equipment arranged to operate together in a group) in accordance with LIRR Rules and Roadway Worker Rules.

Signal Helpers work indoors and outdoors in all types of weather and conditions. They often deal with confined spaces and heights. Basic qualifications include a high school diploma or GED; some experience, on-the-job training or technical-school training in electronics; knowledge of Ohm’s law and series/parallel circuits; ability to use hand tools; ability to perform tasks involving heavy lifting, and a valid driver’s license. Preferred qualifications include some college work in electronic technology, work with electronics in the military or in other railroad or transit signal departments, experience as a construction helper or in a job requiring heavy lifting, mechanical experience in a job such as auto or airplane mechanic, and strong troubleshooting skills.

What to Shoot For

Signal Helpers must complete computerized training within 40 hours of computer time or face termination. They also must qualify as Assistant Signalmen within four years of being hired or face termination. The selection process may include, but is not limited to, a pre-screening assessment (i.e. physical, written and/or practical evaluation) and interview. Candidates forfeit further consideration if they fail to participate in any step of the process when scheduled. The LIRR warns that not every qualified applicant will be interviewed. In addition, LIRR employee applicants must be in their current position for the 12 months immediately before the application deadline and must possess a satisfactory work history, including attendance and discipline record. This requirement may be overridden by a supervisor and the Human Resources Department.

A background investigation, medical examination and safety-sensitive drug/alcohol test may also be required.

Apply on Computer

You may apply electronically by going online to the MTA page at and clicking the “Employment” button at the bottom left corner of the page. That will take you to a list of agencies. Click on “Long Island Rail Road” and follow the job listings until you get to Signal Helper. Select the “Apply Now” button.

You must attach a resume during the application process. You should receive a confirmation e-mail that your application was accepted. If you encounter problems, call the BSC Customer Management Center at (646) 376-0123 Monday throughFriday (except MTA headquarters holidays) from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The job ID is 80431.

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