Career Advice on How to Become A Nuclear Engineer

General Career Information

Despite what you may have seen in the movies, working in a nuclear power plant or nuclear facility does not give one super powers.  Yet, nuclear engineers are working in many more fields than people might suspect.  The image of the nuclear engineer as strictly being the white suit wearing, goggle loving science nerd are really a thing of the past.  Nuclear engineers are finding that their career paths are leading them to all sorts of different jobs, such as working in the medical industry or even in the development of spacecraft.  The bottom line is that the role of the nuclear engineer in the world of engineering and science has expanded and may be poised to expand ever further.

Career Facts:

Nuclear engineers can be found working in various careers related to nuclear power and nuclear energy.  Not all nuclear engineers are working in nuclear power plants, but for those who do, the work focuses on safely processing nuclear material and making sure that serious safety measures are maintained.

Interestingly, many nuclear engineers are employed aboard nuclear powered naval vessels.  Military ships have been using nuclear power for decades successfully.  Other nuclear engineers have worked on such exciting programs as spacecrafts.  Spacecrafts are excellent candidates for nuclear power, due to the fact that nuclear fuel can effectively power a craft for years while it is on a mission.


Career Opportunities and Job Outlook- Average:

The overall job outlook for nuclear engineers is approximately average with nuclear engineers expecting an eleven percent job growth between 2008 and 2018.  Many of the new hires will be in the direction of working on developing new types of reactor designs and devising ways to more effectively deal with nuclear waste.

It is important to note that while the job growth for nuclear engineers is expected to be average, it should be fairly easy for new nuclear engineers to find work.  Retiring engineers will open up new job openings for nuclear engineer graduates in the coming years.

Job Outlook is Fair

A Day in The Life:

The average day for a nuclear engineer may vary considerably depending upon what aspect of the field they are employed.  Nuclear engineers working on military vessels will obviously have a drastically different workday than their counterparts working in a nuclear facility or a medical facility.

For those looking for a mentally challenging work environment, a career as a nuclear engineer may be a perfect fit.  Clearly, this is a career that expects tremendous attention to detail.  Since the tolerances for accidents is zero, this means that working as a nuclear engineer, at least in most positions, comes with a degree of stress that may not be for everyone.


Average Salary:

The average salary for a nuclear engineer is about $97,000.



Career Training and Qualifications:

In general, engineers are expected to hold a bachelor’s degree in engineering.  Graduate degrees are also common.
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