How To Become a Nuclear Engineer in 6 Steps

How to Become a Nuclear Engineer in 6 Steps
  1. Step 1: Study Chemistry, Physics, and Math in High School. …
  2. Step 2: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Nuclear Engineering. …
  3. Step 3: Consider a Master’s Degree in Nuclear Engineering. …
  4. Step 4: Get State Licensure. …
  5. Step 5: Gain Practical Experience in the Field.

Become a Nuclear Engineer in 2021? Salary, Jobs, Education

What do nuclear engineers do?

Nuclear engineers primarily create, develop, integrate, and maintain nuclear instruments and equipment. The energy and fuel industries, nuclear medicine, and the defense industry are a few sectors that use these kinds of nuclear instruments. Even within these various sectors, a nuclear engineer will frequently be in charge of many of the following duties:

What is a nuclear engineer?

A nuclear engineer is in charge of developing the procedures, controls, operations, and machinery used to harness nuclear energy. Nuclear engineers are highly skilled technically and have a thorough understanding of nuclear physics, chemistry, and radioactive materials, equipment, and applications. The field of nuclear engineering requires particular abilities and knowledge in order to succeed due to the highly technical aspects and volatile elements these engineers work with.

Average salary for nuclear engineers

For starters, a nuclear engineer with just a bachelor’s degree who is just starting out may make less money than a nuclear engineer with a master’s degree and several years of work experience.

Where you live is another element that may have an impact on your income potential. Some states may offer higher salaries on average than others. Where you work can also affect your average income. For instance, a nuclear engineer employed by a hospital may make more or less money than a nuclear power plant engineer.

How to become a nuclear engineer

A bachelor’s degree in the subject is required to start a career as a nuclear engineer. How to enter this career field is explained in the steps that follow:

1. Earn your bachelors degree

To work as a nuclear engineer at the entry level, you must have at least a bachelor’s degree. Nuclear physics, mathematics, computer applications, fission systems, and even radiation imaging are among the subjects covered in a nuclear engineering bachelor’s degree program.

Your degree will prepare you for a position as an entry-level engineer, but many employers demand nuclear engineers to hold graduate degrees. Additionally, taking part in an internship can advance your knowledge of the industry and help you when it comes time to finish your master’s degree.

2. Complete your graduate degree

Since many employers demand that nuclear engineers possess a master’s and occasionally even a Ph D. to advance in your career, you might need to finish your graduate degree. Another educational choice to think about is the five-year programs that combine the bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

At this point, you can choose to specialize in different fields like nuclear medicine since a masters program in nuclear engineering will typically include coursework and practical studies that explore the topics from your bachelors program.

3. Take the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam

Engineering students can take the FE exam as soon as they are enrolled in their bachelor’s program. You can apply to take the FE exam as soon as you finish your training and develop your skills. You must pass the test to receive your FE certification, which is necessary to later sit for the Professional Engineering exam.

4. Gain work experience

By securing a position at the entry-level, you can increase your knowledge as a nuclear engineer. You will be qualified to apply to take your Professional Engineering exam as your abilities and work history as a nuclear engineer advance. Although certification for engineers is not required for nuclear power plants, many states may do so as a condition of employment, and obtaining national certification for engineers will require several years of work experience.

5. Take the Professional Engineering (PE) exam

You can take the PE exam once you’ve completed the necessary number of years of nuclear engineering experience. You will receive your professional certification after passing this exam from the NCEES, the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying. Once you have this certification, you can call yourself a licensed professional engineer.

6. Obtain your state licensure

Some states may demand that you possess both your PE certification and a state-issued professional license. Additionally, you will need to renew both your state license and your national certification on a yearly basis. Both certifications may require you to complete a predetermined number of hours of continuing education in order to be renewed.

Frequently asked questions about nuclear engineering

The following frequently asked questions about the technical field of nuclear engineering can offer some additional insight:

What kinds of jobs are there for nuclear engineering majors?

There are many different career opportunities for nuclear engineering majors. Engineers with degrees in nuclear engineering, for example, can work as equipment technicians, accelerator operators, medical physicists, nuclear medicine technologists, radiation technologists, nuclear reactor operators, and even in educational and teaching roles.

Where do nuclear engineers work?

Despite being one of their most frequent workplaces, nuclear power plants aren’t the only places where nuclear engineers can be found. In addition to government organizations, private energy companies, consulting firms, and hospitals that use medical imaging equipment, nuclear engineers may also find work.

What skills do you need to be a nuclear engineer?

Nuclear engineers must, first and foremost, be extremely skilled in the skill sets they learn during their education and training. These professionals also possess strong mathematical and logical reasoning skills. To work with radioactive materials and equipment, one also needs to have good attention to detail and analytical and problem-solving abilities. Engineers use two sets of soft skills to interact and forge relationships with their peers: communication and interpersonal skills.

What is the work environment like for nuclear engineers?

The work environment can vary, depending on where you work. For instance, a lot of nuclear engineers work in the energy industry, and their work in nuclear power plants is very different from their office jobs. The same is true for nuclear engineers who supervise the use of medical imaging equipment and frequently work in clinical and hospital settings.

The majority of engineers work a standard 40-hour workweek, but they occasionally work longer hours depending on the difficulty of the projects they handle. Additionally, because they frequently work with radioactive materials, nuclear engineers must wear the proper safety gear in order to perform some aspects of their jobs.

Can engineers in other disciplines become nuclear engineers?

You can work as a nuclear engineer if you have a degree in engineering. For instance, nuclear engineers can and do frequently work as mechanical or electrical engineers. In general, many engineering principles are transferable between disciplines. The majority of engineers who switch to nuclear engineering quickly pick up the new skills they require.


How long does it take to become a nuclear engineer?

Finding an entry-level job and earning your first degree will take between four and eight years if you want to become a nuclear engineer. To become a fully qualified engineer with the ability to work independently, obtain research grants, and reach your full potential in this fascinating and fulfilling career, it will take you between eight and twelve years.

What qualifications do you need to be a nuclear engineer?

You’ll need:
  • knowledge of engineering science and technology.
  • maths knowledge.
  • knowledge of physics.
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail.
  • thinking and reasoning skills.
  • design skills and knowledge.
  • analytical thinking skills.
  • excellent verbal communication skills.

Is Nuclear Engineering a good career?

Nuclear engineering focuses on the creation and use of nuclear energy as well as the applications of radiation and radioactive materials. Nuclear Engineering job outlook is quite good. The majority of nuclear engineers create, build, and run nuclear power plants that produce electricity.

What is a nuclear engineer salary?

Nuclear engineering focuses on the creation and use of nuclear energy as well as the applications of radiation and radioactive materials. Nuclear Engineering job outlook is quite good. The majority of nuclear engineers create, build, and run nuclear power plants that produce electricity.

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