Nuclear engineering training begins at the collegiate level and never ends. Emerging technologies and global demands for reliable, eco-friendly energy sources require today's nuclear power professional to learn more at every opportunity, and resources for continuing education abound for novices and seasoned nuclear professionals, alike.
Seek nuclear power education and training through a variety of sources to ensure that your educational base is well-rounded and remains up-to-date.
1. Begin with a nuclear power education at a U.S. college or university.
2. Enhance your professional education with continuing education (CE) courses through official licensing bodies and professional groups.
3. Attend nuclear power training seminars hosted by private companies, government agencies and professional organizations.
Pursue undergrad and advanced collegiate education and training for nuclear engineers
Most commercial nuclear industry training is based on the educational programs completed by engineers and physical scientists. To get the most out of your nuclear power career, complete at least an undergraduate education program before beginning your career and licensure efforts. Nuclear plant operators with college degrees have much more opportunity for advancement than those who only have on-the-job training.
(online), the U.S. Navy's nuclear education and career program and the Bismarck State College
National Energy Center of Excellence.
Complete nuclear power training for licensure or CE credit
Professional nuclear energy training must continue on an annual basis for a plant operator or engineer to maintain facility licensure. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) will not grant an Operator's License until the employee has three years of experience in a nuclear power plant, of which the operator must have been working six months at the plant they'll be licensed to operate. Licensure takes about a year of extensive education, training and test preparation after the initial Generic Fundamentals Examination (GFE). Licensed operators must then complete a certain number of hours actually operating the reactor each quarter. Employers and state authorities set CE requirements for each facility.
Stay ahead of industry technology, regulations with nuclear power seminars
Government and professional organizations sponsor regular nuclear energy seminars on a variety of topics ranging from licensing a new nuclear reactor facility to recovering and disposing of used uranium. Attend seminars on nuclear power to earn continuing education credits, study for licensure exams and keep your power plant in line with the world's nuclear power industry.
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
, the body that licenses and oversees nuclear power plants and operators in the United States. The American Nuclear Society offers meetings and seminars that specifically address nuclear power education and new technology applications, such as the industry-leading Conference on Nuclear Training and Education (CONTE).
- Attend seminars on atomic energy at least annually to refresh your skills base, but remember that each nuclear reactor has policies and procedures that differ from others. Your NRC Operator's License is valid only with the facility you operate at the time you're licensed and cannot be transferred to another facility. It will automatically expire after six years, or at any time in which you don't meet minimum active-operating hours requirements per quarter.