Career Path > Getting in

Getting In [Power Plants] FAQs - Read Before Posting

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These Frequently Asked Questions pertain to those seeking to "Get Into" the commercial Nuclear Industry.
  -Many answers have been obtained primarily from the collective wisdom of the forums.
  -Your other questions may have been answered if you just use the "search" function.
  -If you have questions about the Navy, try the Getting In, Staying In, and Getting Out Navy Forums here on

Browse through the FAQs.
Browse thread headings or search to find similar questions.
READ them.
Then ask your questions.

Q. I heard most workers in the nuclear industry are reaching retirement age, does this mean there are a lot of jobs available?
Not necessarily.  While many in the nuclear industry are surely reaching retirement age, there is still going to be tough competition for the openings that do occur.  

Q. What kind of jobs are available in the Nuclear Industry?
There are over 500 job categories on the resume database.  Union trades, Computer Programming, Human Resources, Auditing, Supervising, Management, and many others play a role.  The members of this website are primarily in the Radiation Protection, Health Physics, and Operations Departments.  Other common jobs include Chemists, Maintenance Technicians, and most disciplines of Engineering.  These cover the most common entry level jobs hired all year round by Nuclear Utility Companies.

Q. What employment is available outside of Utilities?
The Department of Energy, Union Craft Contractors, Decontamination Contractors, Evaluation Organizations (such as INPO or Consultant firms), Industrial Equipment Vendors, as well as Maintenance, Health Physics and Radiation Protection Contractors are important parts of the Nuclear Power Industry.  While many contractors support Utilities and the DOE all year round, a large boost in job opportunities occur during outages.

Q. What happens during an Outage?
During an outage, a nuclear reactor shutdown to be refueled.  Repairs are also made to equipment that is unable to be worked on during normal plant operation.  Outages generally occur every 18 months during the fall or spring months.  The refueling portion requires many extra contracted Radiation Protection Technicians and Health Physicists.  The repair and construction that may occur during outages brings a wide variety of skilled tradesmen and laborers.  For more info on outages, check this short FAQ or check the Nukeworker Outages Forum.

Q. So how do I actually get employment?
Check the job boards often.  Check the Utility websites that you are interested in.  Find an appropriate listing?  Great, apply.
Step 1: Application - Your resume and/or application is what impresses the company to invite you to test or interview.
Step 2: Testing (if applicable for job) MASS/POSS/TECH, etc
Step 3: Interview - Nail your Behavioral Interview.

Q. Why do most postings require education?
There are many entry level jobs that actually do not require a college education.  Much of it is on the job training alongside classroom lessons.  Even after the first years getting your license or certification, you continue training and re-certifying.  Having a college degree with high GPA shows your scholastic aptitude.  They are looking for a strong background in Math and Science, so they prefer a Bachelor's or Associate in Science or experience in the Nuclear Navy program.

Q. Why do most postings require experience?
It's costly to train new workers, so a great number of listings are looking for experienced workers.  This can be discouraging for someone looking for entry level work.  On the other hand, it shows how plentiful the opportunities can be when you have the experience.  As the need for experienced workers increases, the opportunities for entry level will increase.

Q. What if I have no experience or education?
If you can't invest in yourself, why should a company invest in you?  You have to look appealing to them.  If you live near a Nuclear Plant, check for a local community college or other company that provides relevant training.  Check into their placement ratio, internships, tuition assistance and accreditation (such as ABET).  Choose wisely, as these programs don't guarantee employment.  One positive note is that Utilities do prefer to hire locally.

You should also be aware that some career pathways require certain education levels to advance.  For example, you will need a relevant bachelor's degree to become a Certified Health Physicist (CHP).

Q. What should I do while in school?
Study hard, develop your contacts, apply for internships and join your local student chapter of ANS.  Visit the campus sponsored job fairs.  Don't stress.  Enjoy your time in college.

Q. I've applied to several places, now what?
Follow up.  Give them a call after a week.  Ask about internships or opportunities to get experience.

Q. What can I expect if/when they call back?
Expect scheduling for an interview or pre-employment test.  Operations candidates are expected to pass a Plant Operator Selection System (POSS) Test.  Some may just require an interview.  Check the POSS & Other Tests forum for information and tips for pre-employment testing.

Q. What can I expect from my interview?
Modern interviewing methods engage the candidate in ways that highlight their past behavior, critical thinking, and problem solving.  They might ask you to describe a time in which you disagreed with your superior or a time in which you took charge of a situation.  Do an internet search for "STAR method" or "Targeted Selection Interview" to get an idea of the general format.  This allows you to prepare to share relevant life experiences.  As far as dress, one level above the normal dress code for the applied job seems to be the norm.

Q. What's this about UA and FFD?
After the interview, employment is contingent on you passing a background check, drug test, and medical evaluation.  This is to determine whether you are Fit For Duty (FFD) and should be granted Unescorted Access (UA).  Be honest.  Don't hide anything about your past.  Consider yourself ineligible from the industry should your integrity be called into question.  See the Security, FFD forum.

Q. What else?
There is a lot of good information around the forums.  I would suggest reading the thread titles and first choosing those that appear relevant.  Take your time and absorb.  

Again, if you have further questions, try the search function or browsing the appropriate forum.  We encourage you to ask (in the appropriate forum) after you've exhausted these options.

Please make an effort to spell, punctuate and craft grammatically coherent sentences.  
The effort you put into your post may determine the effort (helpfulness) of the reply.  
You've been warned.
Welcome to the Forums.  Enjoy!

Great job!  Thanks bunches!! +K +K

Q: How do Union trade/craftsman get a job at an outage/shutdown?

A: Typically the union trade/craftsman find out what outages are happening from an outage schedule, where the facilities are located, then find the contact info for that locals BA, and get on the books for that hall and hope for a call out.  Additionally, you might want to check out the facility ratings and the company ratings as well as our lodging and facility info pages before you head there.

Send me to the correct post , if necessary. I tried the search box ,  w/o a good response.

What are commercial Power Plants looking for in a resume when they post a House Tech. position ?
How would you modify a resume , from road tech. ex. Bartlett, to a house position, i'm talking RP/HP ?

Any help would be appreciated .

I am working with a recruiter to be placed as a new hire for the fall outages.  I have CPR/AED certification for rescue, and would like to know if taking the 10 hr or 30 hr OSHA training would be helpful in getting in.  The recruiter said to wait, that it isn't necessary to get the traiing. now.


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