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Offline SouthernSteel

Career Path(s) Going Forward
« on: Aug 12, 2014, 08:29 »
Good Evening All,

I currently work as a compliance tech for radioactive gauges for an oil company (nearly a year now), and prior to that I worked on a vehicle scanning system in Afghanistan as an RSO/Rad Safety Trainer/etc for about a year. I've now gone through and have successfully passed three separate RSO cert courses. Likely do another here in a couple of months.

I like my company well enough (which is a first for me), but there's no real room to advance from where I am. I sort of lie outside the traditional ladder to move up and there's really just no place for this position to go. As such, I have begun to consider where I can go and what I can do with my skill set/experience. I have considered that health physics is the most closely associated education option from where I am, although I already have a BA and MA (in history - yes, I know) and am not overly keen on making a further investment to that end unless the potential results are quite good and quite certain.

However, I have been advised by a consultant my company uses (for our training and specific license needs, as we are GL) that this field overall is not a good place to look or plan to go into. I have already forgotten his specific rationale, but he made it clear in no uncertain terms that it was not a place to seek (to the point he even turned his own sons away from pursuing it, and he owns the place). He is a very knowledgeable and straightforward guy, so I have no reason to doubt him, but I was certainly not expecting his answer as this field seems to be at least holding steady.

My question (if you will forgive me being verbose before even getting to the question at hand), is: what are my options from here? I understand all that I have been exposed to (and can elaborate more, if desired, but otherwise I will spare all of you) and feel I can handle the material easily. I am open to any and all possibilities in the nuclear field, although I will say that an engineering degree is basically out of the question for me and the Navy route is also out. I definitely don't do anything challenging where I am now, and while the pay is good (relative to what I do), I'd like to keep moving on to bigger and better things and actually engage my brain a bit more.

Any thoughts are much appreciated.

Offline cheme09

Re: Career Path(s) Going Forward
« Reply #1 on: Aug 13, 2014, 09:50 »
I don't know your reasons for not wanting to go engineering, but it does seem like you have a technical background as far as work is concerned. Here's my take: if you start working at a plant and don't have an engineering degree or obtain an SRO license, then you'll most likely end up working at the plant until you retire. Without either of those credentials there will be very little chance of going to the corporate side. Is there upward mobility at the plant? Sure there is. If you desire to go into management at the plant, an SRO license is most likely required.

If you want to explore health physics, that doesn't only mean working at a plant. You could go to the medical side too, although that might require more schooling. Or even into technical side of medical health physics where you work on the imaging equipment, but that may or may not require a technical degree too.

Offline SouthernSteel

Re: Career Path(s) Going Forward
« Reply #2 on: Aug 13, 2014, 11:03 »
I'd have to say offhand that, aside from being a bit of a daunting task, advanced math and I do not get along well at all - arithmetic and so forth I'm fine with (the math done for the RSO courses is fine) but calculus and above I've never done well in, and as such I figure engineering to be fairly well out of reach. From what reading I've done, I assume getting the SRO would require at least some background there, if not an engineering degree as well, correct?

I'm glad to know there'd be some mobility in a plant environment, but I guess then I'd be looking at some sort of glass ceiling, as it were (without the degree)? I don't really have an interest in the medical side of the industry (save so far as the rad safety stuff is concerned), and I don't know whether techs for medical equipment make decent money, etc. or not. I'm not looking to shock the world with my salary or anything, but I would like to be in/move into a place where I could earn maybe 60-70 year (eventually). I know I have some relevant background and some quite irrelevant, so I'm trying to keep my expectations realistic.

Cheers cheme.


  • Guest
Re: Career Path(s) Going Forward
« Reply #3 on: Aug 14, 2014, 10:31 »
Nuclear compliance has become a burden for many corporations and utilities. We (RP professionals) keep management out of trouble and allow safe operation. But, RP is treated as a cancerous blight on the overhead. The RP budget is generally the first to be cut (since the effect is not immediately apparent). I have been to many facilities with equipment older than most of the technicians (RO-2 and RO-2A). Outage RP support has been cut to the bone (20% cuts at some).  :'(
DOE is different because of deep pockets.

You are young and smart. Get your MBA and PMP (Project Management Professional) certification. Complete a 6 Sigma Green Belt course and you will be set. +K

Radiation protection is D-E-A-D.  :o

Unless you can get a government or house job, 3-4 months of intense outage work a year will not cut it. Most outages are down to less than 30 days and you are lucky to string two back to back.

Good Luck,

BA  8)


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