Nuclear Technician Education Requirements and Career Info
Nuclear technicians specialize in nuclear energy. They operate and maintain equipment in nuclear power plants and may assist scientists with nuclear research.
Education Requirements for Nuclear Technicians
Nuclear technicians, who are a type of science technician, usually need 2-4 years of postsecondary education. Employers may look for nuclear technicians who have earned a certificate or an associate's degree in an area like nuclear technology. Coursework includes nuclear physics, chemistry, electricity, radiation and mathematics. Programs may also include supervised experiences in the field.
Although nuclear technicians may be able to find work with just a high school diploma, those without postsecondary education need to receive extensive on-the-job training. They should also have completed several advanced math and science courses while in high school. Some nuclear technicians receive prior training from the U.S. Navy, which operates nuclear ships and submarines. Nuclear technician trainees are supervised by experienced technicians. They learn how to service the nuclear equipment at power plants and ensure that safety procedures are followed.
Nuclear technicians operate nuclear equipment, monitor radiation levels, provide quality control support and assist nuclear physicists in research activities. After working as trainees, nuclear technicians may move into positions that have more responsibility and less supervision. With more experience, some nuclear technicians can become supervisors. Because of the nature of their work, nuclear technicians risk exposure to radiation.
Nuclear technicians must have strong communication skills and be able to work well with others. They should be organized, detail-oriented and mechanically adept. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), nuclear technicians held approximately 6,400 jobs in 2008. More than half worked for utilities like nuclear power plants. A nine percent job growth rate is expected between 2008 and 2018. Opportunities will exist mostly in research, development and green energy.
According to PayScale.com, median hourly wages for nuclear technicians with 1-4 years of experience ranged between $18.49 and $33.70 per hour in 2010. Nuclear technicians with 20 or more years of experience earned between $28.45 and $35.44 per hour. The BLS reported median wages of $32.64 per hour in 2008. According to PayScale.com, the most popular states for jobs in nuclear technology include Texas, California, Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Georgia and North Carolina.
Related to Nuclear Technician
- Recently Updated
Nuclear technicians often work as assistants to other professionals and have many safety responsibilities on-the-job. In...
Online degree programs for individuals interested in nuclear technology are rarely offered and extremely hard to find. For...
With the growing use of nuclear energy as a source of electricity as well as powering medical equipment such as x-ray machines...
Research the requirements to become a nuclear power plant technician. Learn about the job description and read the step-by-step...
- Become a Wetland Technician: Step-by-Step Career Guide
- Railroad Technician: Duties, Outlook and Salary
- Become a Studio Technician: Education and Career Roadmap
- Job Description of an Industrial Cleaner
- Adoption Caseworker: Job Description and Education Requirements
- Online Quicken Class and Course Overviews
- Bachelors Degree in Criminology: Program Summary