A nuclear technician tests for radioactive contamination and levels of radiation in the air, water, ground, and environment (such as nuclear energy plants). There are some that may work in laboratories. They must operate and maintain the equipment used to do such testing and also make sure that a power plant’s reactors and equipment operate safely and effectively. A nuclear technical may also be called a monitoring technician or a radiation protection technician.
How to Become a Nuclear Technician
According to the Nuclear Energy Institute, nuclear power plants directly employ nearly 100,000 people in high-quality, long-term jobs and each plant employees 400-700 workers. To become a nuclear technician, you would need to earn an associate’s degree in nuclear science or another nuclear-related technology. Community colleges and technical schools may offer these programs, but not all, so you’d have to do your research. In school, you’d take courses in math, physics, and chemistry and also learn about nuclear energy, radiation, and the equipment to do your job.
If you have military experience in the field, this may also be considered equivalent to earning an associate’s degree. When applying for a job, expect a background check as well. Once employed, you’d receive additional on-the-job training and be supervised by someone more experienced.
Job Description of a Nuclear Technician
Nuclear technicians must monitor what the radiation levels are in their work environment to ensure staff are safe and the surrounding area (such as a town) is safe. If they notice rising radiation levels, they also have safety processes in place that they must implement. These technicians are responsible to recommend and update a facilities decontamination plan and emergency plan as well. Along with monitoring radiation, they are also skilled to repair and maintain special equipment used at the facility. Outside of a nuclear power plant, you can also find nuclear technicians working in the waste management industry or even working in labs to help other scientists conduct research.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Nuclear Technicians.
National Center for O*NET Development. 19-4051.00. O*NET OnLine.
Nuclear Energy Institute. Jobs.