Nuclear Engineer Job Description
Nuclear engineers research and develop ways that we can benefit from using nuclear energy and radiation. For example, radiation is used in a lot of the medical equipment that doctors rely on for treating and diagnosing diseases. This equipment wouldn’t be possible without the work of nuclear engineers.
Not all nuclear engineers are focused on the healthcare industry, though. They also use their expertise to help solve problems in energy, agriculture, science, and other industries. Many are also employed in academia, where they serve as professors and conduct research.
Some nuclear engineers supervise the operation of nuclear energy plants, where they are responsible for ensuring the safety of the plant and supervising a team of other engineers or technicians who help keep the plant running efficiently and safely.
Work Environment and Schedule
Most nuclear engineers work in office environments, but some work in power plants. Nuclear engineers who work in the consulting world may need to spend a lot of time traveling, depending on where their clients are located.
People in this occupation work for many different types of employers. Engineering firms, consulting firms, power companies, and the government employ the majority of people in this occupation.
It’s very common for nuclear engineers to work hours that go far beyond the typical forty hour work week, though the exact working schedule varies greatly from position to position.
For instance, an engineer at a power plant or consulting firm is more likely to work overtime than one who does research in an office for a government agency.
How to Become a Nuclear Engineer
A minimum of a bachelor’s degree in nuclear, mechanical, or chemical engineering is required for entry-level nuclear engineer positions, though a master’s is required for some management roles.
If you’re still and high school and you’re thinking about a career in this occupation, it would be wise to take as many math and science courses as you can. Physics, chemistry, biology, calculus, and trigonometry all have real world applications for nuclear engineers.
Before you enroll in an nuclear engineering program, it’s important to make sure that it’s accredited by ABET. If the school is not accredited, the degree you earn will not help you get a job.
There are no licensing requirements for nuclear engineers who work in nuclear power plants, but getting licensed as a professional engineer can help your career development. The first step to becoming licensed is to take the Fundamentals of Engineering exam after graduation. After obtaining some work experience, passing the Principles and Practice of Engineering exam is the final step obtaining a licensed as a professional engineer.
There are currently 19,100 nuclear engineers in the United States, with 620 new nuclear engineer job openings created each year.
Nuclear Engineer jobs are not expected to see much growth beyond their current levels in the next decade.
Nuclear Engineer Salaries
Nuclear Engineer salaries can vary depending on your experience, the location, company, industry, and benefits provided. Nationwide, most nuclear engineers make between $83,300 – $120,500 per year, or $40.03 – $57.92 per hour.
Career as a Nuclear Engineer – Description, Income, & Qualification
Nuclear engineers work in different industries; the most promising one is nuclear power generation. Many countries are now using nuclear plants to generate electricity. Nuclear power plants have very low greenhouse emissions; this is one of the reasons why many nations are using this technology to produce electricity. The increase in the number of nuclear power plants is boosting job growth in this sector.
In industrial nuclear engineering jobs, you design and build different components that nuclear power plants use; for instance, the nuclear reactors and the cooling system. Another important job nuclear engineers do is monitor safety measures across power plant to insure that there are no health hazards/risks. Nuclear plants are very efficient electricity producer, but they do carry a fair bit of health hazards/dangers.
Preventing accidents in a nuclear plant is an extremely important task. Nuclear engineers not only design and build power plants, they also do maintenance work. They keep the reactors, boilers, coolers, and everything else in working order. A well run nuclear plant can produce electricity for a year or more without any interruption; this makes it one of the most reliable source of electricity.
Handling of radioactive material is a dangerous affair; nuclear engineers ensure that employees are using standard safety procedures to carry all activities. They keep an eye on everything to ensure that no accident ever occurs. They also monitor how nuclear waste is disposed.
Nuclear engineers, who are working in research centers, use their knowledge, experience, and skills to design and test new methods and equipment to increase the efficiency of power plants.
Nuclear engineers also work in other industries including Medicine and Aeronautics.
Work Conditions and Timings
The work environment depends on the kind of job you are doing. For instance, if you are designing some equipment for a medical center, then you would spend most of your time in your office using computer software and your knowledge to get the job done.
Doing maintenance work at nuclear power plants requires your presence at the site every day. This is one of the toughest jobs in nuclear engineering. It also carries potential health hazards as your job involves dealing with radioactive material on regular bases. You need to follow standard safety procedures to avoid any ill outcomes.
This is a full-time job.
Basic jobs in this field require a bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering. Good paying jobs may require a master’s or a doctorate degree plus work experience. The study program teaches a variety of subjects including chemistry, math, and physics. Students also do practical work in laboratories. They also learn the safety procedures of how to handle radioactive material.
Check following links for more information, these are ABET accredited programs:
There are [approximately] 17,000 nuclear engineering jobs in USA. Some recent events have raised questions about safety of nuclear plants; for instance, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster [caused by Tohoku earthquake tsunami.] This disaster did not took any human’s life, but the radiation it released is going to have adverse effects [such as cancer] on people in years to come.
Nuclear power plants are still a desirable electricity generation source, but BLS predicts a reduction in overall demand due to safety concerns. According to data provided by BLS, the number of nuclear engineering jobs are expected to reduce by 4% from 2014 to 2024.
Nuclear engineering is one of the top paying occupations in USA. Nuclear engineers are making $66,700 to $152,500 annually. The median salary is approximately $103,000 per year.
This is a full-time job.