Nuclear technicians assist physicists, engineers, and other professionals in nuclear research and nuclear energy production. They operate special equipment used in these activities and monitor the levels of radiation that are produced.
In nuclear power plants, nuclear technicians typically work in offices and control rooms where they use computers and other equipment to monitor and help operate nuclear reactors. Most nuclear technicians work full-time, variable schedules in the nuclear power industry. Their schedules may include working nights, holidays, and weekends. Nuclear technicians must take safety precautions to avoid exposure to radiation.
How to Become a Nuclear Technician
Nuclear technicians typically need an associate’s degree in nuclear science or a nuclear-related technology. Nuclear technicians also go through extensive on-the-job training.
Employment of nuclear technicians is projected to decline 5 percent from 2014 to 2024. Although technicians will be needed to help maintain and upgrade the existing stock of nuclear power plants, traditional forms of power generation will likely come under increasing pressure from alternative forms of energy.
This occupation supported 8,100 jobs in 2012 and 6,800 jobs in 2014, reflecting a decline of 16.0%. In 2012, this occupation was projected to increase by 14.8% in 2022 to 9,300 jobs. As of 2014, to keep pace with prediction, the expected number of jobs was 8,300, compared with an observed value of 6,800, 18.1% lower than expected. This indicates current employment trends are much worse than the 2012 trend within this occupation. In 2014, this occupation was projected to decrease by 4.9% in 2024 to 6,400 jobs. Linear extrapolation of the 2012 projection for 2022 results in an expected number of 9,500 jobs for 2024, 48.4% higher than the 2014 projection for 2024. This indicates expectations for future employment trends are much worse than the 2012 trend within this occupation.