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Engineer or Engineering aide
« on: Oct 05, 2008, 02:00 »
I'm about to start my career.  Have a nuc e degree. Been offered a job as AO at utility.   Might also be getting offer from another company for engineer or engineering aide.  Which one would be more beneficial to my career?  I'd appreciate some input.  I'm not sure which one I would take.  I think money is comparable. 
« Last Edit: Oct 06, 2008, 09:51 by Rennhack »

Offline G-reg

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Re: help me!
« Reply #1 on: Oct 05, 2008, 03:42 »
Which one would be more beneficial to my career?

A more important question is, "Which career do you want?"  I wouldn't sweat pay difference too much, just think about which job/career you would rather have at this point.  And keep in mind that there is often some room for moving between specialties if you're patient.

Think it through.  The "best" job for you can only be defined by you.
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Offline tr

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Re: help me!
« Reply #2 on: Oct 05, 2008, 02:50 »
On the "engineer or engineering aide" part of the question, there really shouldn't be any question in your mind.  While the tradeoff on engineer versus AO is pretty complicated (starting engineers usually make more money than an AO, don't have to do shiftwork, but don't get the overtime that can jack up an AOs salary significantly, and don't usually feed into the SRO pipeline), the engineer vs engineering aide is really a no-brainer.  You went and got the degree, and would probably be real unhappy if you took the aide position (especially at payday).

Offline Smooth Operator

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Re: help me!
« Reply #3 on: Oct 05, 2008, 09:26 »
Know that once you become an AO, you have left the life on an engineer. Its a sweaty job with a 6 month to 1 yr training program. The OT does not factor in until you are fully qualified and we are talking (your positional quals, fire brigade, safe shutdown, first aide, etc). This is of course based only on my experience to date. Fully qualled guys are going to get OT before partially qualified guys. Its only fair. Basically don't count on more than your base hourly, especially the first year.

I don't think AO will prep you for engineer if you decide to switch. Sure having practical knowledge and walk-down experience of systems is a plus, but nothing is stopping you as a young engineer from going into the plant to walk down systems and following operators around.

You can get to the control room from the engineering ranks as an Instant or STA.

Just make sure you get the big perspective before putting your NE degree on the shelf. You're not going to be using it at all if you go AO.

We had 1 NEng in my NLO class. He struggled through training and eventually took an Rx Eng job in NY. Just saying I think it was a culture shock for him. He was wired for design, theory, and rx testing, not memorizing specs and settings...and cleaning up oil.

Good luck with your choices.

Offline dinutt

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Re: help me!
« Reply #4 on: Oct 05, 2008, 09:56 »
 ;D fastyetti this is good advice from Jason k if the  money is comparable is this important heck yeah!!  so now what career path for you ?  only you can decide and the options were given here for you somewhat but it truly is which one is best for you.Did they really offer you a "engineering aide position" excuse me for being ignorant but what the heck is that ?? a gofer?
AO is really pretty much what Jason has expressed to you so  I wont repeat myself ..Wish you all the best and hope you make the right decision for you and your family in your career path.keep us posted and welcome to nukeworker!!

Good Luck   ;D


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Re: help me!
« Reply #5 on: Oct 06, 2008, 02:45 »
I earned a degree in Nuclear Engineering from Texas A&M University in 2004.  I took a job as an AO in 2005.  I became a fully qualified NLO and I am now in a RO class.  I would recommend going the AO route every time.  Getting a license will be a big plus for you in your future career. 

Don’t worry about “leaving” the engineering life behind.  You will never enter a plant and know how to do the job that you were hired for.  You will go through a qualification process before you ever matter.  You can always jump over to engineering at a later date from Operations.  Your degree will always be something you earned. 

Offline RDTroja

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Re: help me!
« Reply #6 on: Oct 06, 2008, 09:49 »
...Did they really offer you a "engineering aide position" excuse me for being ignorant but what the heck is that ?? a gofer?...

Good guess. My first position in the nuclear field was "Engineering Aide" and I had no degree or experience. I did learn a lot but I also did a lot of gofer stuff... not too bad for barely 20 years old, but not what I recommend for anyone that already has a degree and other options.
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