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How do I Become a Nuclear Engineer?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
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  • Last Modified Date: 03 December 2016
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Typically, a minimum of four years of college is required for becoming a nuclear engineer. Many employers will expect you to have at least a bachelor’s degree in engineering if you want to become a nuclear engineer, while others may prefer job candidates who possess advanced degrees instead. You may choose to study nuclear, mechanical, or chemical engineering in undergraduate school and then go on to study nuclear engineering in pursuit of a master’s or doctoral degree. Hands-on training may also help you to prepare for success in this career. Additionally, many jurisdictions have licensing requirements for nuclear engineers.

You can start preparing to become a nuclear engineer while you are still in high school. Taking classes in advanced sciences while you are in high school may prepare you well for a career in this field. Math skills are also important for this career, so taking advanced math courses may provide critical preparation. A high school diploma is usually preferable when you are seeking admission to college to study engineering, but a general educational development (GED) diploma is usually acceptable as well.

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Once you have enrolled in a college or university, you will usually have to seek a bachelor’s degree in engineering to become a nuclear engineer. If the school you attend offers a bachelor’s degree program in nuclear engineering, this may be a good choice for pursuing a career in this field. You do not have to earn a nuclear engineering degree to begin a career in nuclear engineering, however. You may also be well qualified for this job if you earn a degree in chemical or mechanical engineering instead.

Some employers may have a preference for new nuclear engineers who have advanced engineering degrees in addition to undergraduate-level degrees. For example, you may earn a master’s or doctoral degree in nuclear engineering or a related major. A master’s degree in mechanical engineering, for instance, may be just as suitable as you work to become a nuclear engineer.

You will likely need hands-on training and licensing to become a nuclear engineer. You may get this training through an internship or college training program. Many employers offer on-the-job training as well. Your college education will likely fulfill some of your jurisdiction’s licensing requirements, but you may also have to pass an exam. Additionally, you may need a security clearance to work on some types of projects in this field.

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Discuss this Article

anon293580
Post 4

I'd like to be one, but I don't know what to study.

nextcorrea
Post 3

I'm just finishing up high school and I really want to go into nuclear engineering. This has been a goal of mine since I was 9 or 10 and I saw a documentary on TV about nuclear power. Nothing has ever seemed so cool.

I want to prepare myself as best I can to get a job when I am done with school. It sounds like there are a lot of different programs and some give you more hands on experiences and on the job training than others do. It seems like this would be the best thing I could get from education.

So does anyone know which schools and programs offer this kind of focus? And is this the best way to get a job or should I go more for a prestigious school? If anyone has any experience in this area I would love some feedback.

chivebasil
Post 2

Getting a nuclear engineer job is not easy. Even candidates who have exceptional skills, references and educational backgrounds will face stiff competition when they begin applying for jobs.

This is because there are a relatively limited number of nuclear engineering jobs. More than you might expect but not nearly as many as a lot of the other engineering disciplines.

So to anyone that wants to know how to become a nuclear engineer I would say find any and every way to set yourself apart. It is a tight pack of candidates and you have to find a way to rise above.

summing
Post 1

My neighbor a few doors down is a nuclear engineer and he seems to do just about nothing but work.

I see him leave the house every morning at 6AM. He probably doesn't come back until 8 or 9PM most nights and he also works on a lot of weekends.

He is married but had no kids and I don't see a lot his wife either. Its obviously a hard job. I hope that anyone who is thinking of getting into it knows what kinds of time they will have to put in.

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