Nuclear Engineering Degree

A nuclear engineer researches and designs the procedures and equipment related to acquiring energy from nuclear power and radiation. They offer invaluable services to the public by maintaining power plants, developing nuclear energy options and even monitoring nuclear equipment that allows for the diagnosis and treatment of severe medical problems.

Nuclear engineers work on many fronts from developing nuclear fuel to designing power sources in ships and spacecrafts. They explore and develop the nuclear processes involved with industry and the medical field.

Nuclear Engineering Degrees

Nuclear Engineers earn degrees based on their area of specialty and the level of work they’d like to do, including:

  • Bachelor’s degree in a science field such as physics or engineering that opens doors to jobs with utility companies, regulatory agencies, and power contractors, providing the first step toward a higher level degree required for nuclear medicine and advanced nuclear engineering positions
  • Master’s degree in nuclear engineering or related specialized field in order to acquire a position that involves innovative research and development
  • Doctorate degree for greater job opportunities and income in a particular aspect of nuclear engineering

While it’s possible to find a position with a bachelor’s degree, most companies utilizing nuclear engineers prefer a master’s level of education.

Nuclear Engineer Job Description

A nuclear engineer’s primary job description varies depending on the area of expertise, but most are expected to use their knowledge and abilities to solve complex nuclear energy problems. Whether they’re working in the design, construction, development or research aspect of the industry, nuclear engineers apply their specialized knowledge of how nuclear energy is produced and the properties of radiation.

Nuclear engineers are employed in various specialty fields, including:

  • Private research and development laboratories
  • Government research
  • Utility companies
  • Nuclear power plants
  • Nuclear equipment or weapons factories
  • Hospitals (nuclear medicine and radiation)
  • Cancer treatment facilities
  • NASA (nuclear engineering related to space travel)
  • U.S. Navy (design, repair and problem solving related to nuclear submarines)

Nuclear engineering provides a wide array of opportunities for candidates who enjoy solving problems, often interacting with a team and working on the cutting edge of nuclear technology.

Nuclear Engineer Salary

The greatest area of growth for nuclear engineers will be in research and development, according to the Federal government. Among engineering professionals, nuclear engineers are some of the highest paid with salaries starting at $68,000 and peaking out at $137,000, as noted by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. The average salary for a nuclear engineer starting out with only a bachelor’s degree is $61,000, which is significantly greater than many other professions for an entry-level position.

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