Help | Contact Us
NukeWorker.com
NukeWorker Menu Looking for advice about working as a Health Physics Technician

Author Topic: Looking for advice about working as a Health Physics Technician  (Read 7467 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline jflanakin

Hi! I am a 21 year old college student looking into working as a contracted health physics tech in order to pay for school. I don't have an official degree, but I do have over 90 credit hours of classes with focuses on math and physics. The only work experience I've got is from a couple retail jobs I got because I knew someone at the time and academic work - tutoring and internships. If this was a resume I'd say I have experience working in an environment with radiation hazards and am familiar with certain PPE practices and safety standards, but working in a laser lab doesn't exactly count in this field.

I don't know too much about the job, aside from that my step-father used to work as such and made off pretty well. As far as I understand, the qualifications are an Associates degree or other two year certification and some university level knowledge of math and physics. I can grab a couple of those from my university if I go through some loopholes. I also know there is an extensive background check for the security clearance needed to work in a nuclear power plant and probably a NDA about everything in the plant. The work is simple enough in the scope of a nuclear plant, monitor radiation levels of people and equipment while understanding the safety practices and procedures in case something happens. I do not have any technical knowledge of the work, just a basic idea. That I can fix myself though by searching through here and learning what to read and understand. I'd like to say that I'd be confident enough to start thinking of what I'd say at the interview in a month or two.

There's a few catches though. I'm currently jobless, which makes finding a job much harder to begin with. I understand that it takes a while for a person to even finish the application since you have to transcribe everything you've done in the past five years or so, and I'm sure it takes longer for someone to read and verify everything that is sent in. The only thing I'm worried about concerning the background check is a traffic infraction concerning expired stickers in a city two hours away - all my money goes into getting my car to work and it is not much money to begin with. That's not the real issue though, I don't think there are any security issues caused by a broke college student being unable to pay a traffic ticket. I'm more worried about spending several months preparing and then waiting to hear back from someone without being able to really commit to another job, and then actually moving to the city closest to the site if I do get the job. 

I was hoping to catch the eye of someone who's been in a similar spot. I plan to use the forum and learn what I can but it wouldn't hurt to ask for some extra advice about the application, relocation, and what to do in the meantime. Like I said, I'm jobless and as a result not able to go to school. I've got to work to go to school and all my real jobs have been working at the school, it's a Catch-22 situation resolved only by money in the bank. I'm burning through my savings like a brush fire. Currently I could either make a several hundred mile trip or have an apartment for a month, but not both. The possibility of moving for the job on my own dime is growing smaller by the monthly bill cycle. I'm not going to try for the spring outage since I'd rather take the time to prepare and be able to pass the certifications when I hand in the application, and gamble on more open positions in the summer. I'm hoping to get an intermediate job in the meantime but the entire reason I'm looking into this field is because I live in is a podunk backwater town on the border of Texas and Mexico. The biggest thing that has happened here in the last ten or twenty years is SpaceX choosing the area to build a launch pad, but I'm not a systems or fluid dynamics engineer. Second to that is agriculture and maybe working on an oil rig. Most other the jobs here only exist to give people jobs. It's all retail as far as the eye can see, and the pre-requisites are to have lived here your entire life, speak and understand Spanish better than English, and know someone who will get you the job sans interview. I happen to fail at two of them and my friends are starting to move up and out of this place.

I plan on reading through the forum to pad my resume and find literature to peruse and books to start studying. My only real skill is schoolwork so it should be easy enough. If someone happens across this and could throw some advise my way or is open to networking and Q&A about the job I'd greatly appreciate it. Thanks for taking the time to read this, and thank you in advance if you reply.

Offline SloGlo

  • meter reader
  • Very Heavy User
  • *****
  • Posts: 5752
  • Total likes: 186
  • Karma: 2641
  • Gender: Male
  • trust me, i'm an hp
iffen it was that simple, half the forum pages wood knot exist. that sayed, why wood yew pass on spring outages if yore sew broke yew are choosing between rent, gas, n paying parking tix? aye say, make up you're crap n call 2-800-nukejob.
quando omni flunkus moritati

dubble eye, dubble yew, dubble aye!

dew the best ya kin, wit watt ya have, ware yinze are!

Offline jflanakin

I'll be honest man, it takes a ridiculously long time to do the application. It'd be my first time applying and I'd have to track down and document everything I've done since I turned 18 because I'd need unescorted access for the job.

That aside I might as well give it a go. By the way, I've got the distinct feeling you're messing with me.
« Last Edit: Feb 08, 2016, 10:56 by jflanakin »

Offline 61nomad

Waste Control Specialists in Andrews, TX always seems to be looking for HP techs.  Seeing how you are from that part of the world it may not be a culture shock for you.  After doing 2-3 years there, you would have some marketable skills.  Never worked there, never will, but in my opinion it is best to knock out your junior time at a permanent job rather than working 3-4 months a year doing outages in commercial nuclear.

Offline retired nuke

  • Family Man
  • Very Heavy User
  • *****
  • Posts: 1508
  • Total likes: 33
  • Karma: 3536
  • Gender: Male
  • No longer a nuke
I'll be honest man, it takes a ridiculously long time to do the application. It'd be my first time applying and I'd have to track down and document everything I've done since I turned 18 because I'd need unescorted access for the job.

That aside I might as well give it a go. By the way, I've got the distinct feeling you're messing with me.
Slo isn't messin with ya - he's just that way...
Contracted HP tech, without degree or experience - you would be better off money wise working retail right now - Juniors / newbie deconners (entry level) are not much more than minimum wage, and seldom get living expenses covered. Unless you are traveling as someone's GF, you will be broke.
Yes, you will need to do the background paperwork for unescorted access. If you miss the spring outage season, you are looking at September before anything comes up again. Summer work goes to experienced available, ready people, not newbies.
61Nomad has good advice - look for a permie location to do your Jr time (lookup ANSI quals, read about experience requirements on the forum). WCS is growing, and does provide experience if you can get in. Probably not fun to work there, and it is in the anus of Texas, but it is a paycheck, and you will learn something. DOE and shipyards are another option. The likelihood of getting on long term or permanent at a nuclear plant without a degree or experience are slim.... real slim. Plants are shutting down (3 in NE currently) and experience qualified people are looking for jobs.
Good luck. Your perception of HP tech work may be skewed by seeing someone that was qualified work on the road. YMMV.
Remember who you love. Remember what is sacred. Remember what is true.
Remember that you will die, and that this day is a gift. Remember how you wish to live, may the blessing of the Lord be with you

Offline jflanakin

Thank you both for the reply. I know I'm coming in with outdated info, I learned about the job through my step-dad. He started in the 90's and stopped for family. Went back in 2010-2012 and got out again for personal reasons. My info is at least 4 years out of date.

I figured it was too good to be true. I'd still like to give it a go, the last retail job I worked where I live was at a nationwide orange colored hardware store. Right now they have two thirds the number employees from when I was working there and got rid of many older employees for cheaper newbies that don't know anything. I'd rather gamble on industry because that'll always be around and is an applicable skill for the degree I'm going for.

I don't want some pansy made up degree and an office. I saw two research internships while I was still in school and still can't figure out what the purpose of their programs are for or what they actually produced. Or rather I'm smart enough to get in them but not enough to contribute, ha ha. Best stick with what's already going on.

I'll check out the waste control specialist position. I'm also thinking about the Optics industry and where else I can go when I apply for my Associates in the summer. Thanks again for the advice, I'm planning on spending the next few days here looking up qualifications and reading material to see what exactly I can do and what is a pipe dream at the moment.

chuckdhuff

  • Guest
I'll be honest man, it takes a ridiculously long time to do the application. It'd be my first time applying and I'd have to track down and document everything I've done since I turned 18 because I'd need unescorted access for the job.

That aside I might as well give it a go. By the way, I've got the distinct feeling you're messing with me.
If by application you mean the Personal History Questionnaire (PHQ), it shouldn't take a "ridiculously" long time to complete. 18 to 21 is a blink of an eye. All you need is your list of employers, list of residences greater than 30 days, criminal history (if you have one), and secondary education information. If you're still living in the relatively small town that you graduated high school from it should be fairly simple. I couldn't imagine it taking more than an eight hour day maximum to figure all that out.

Offline retired nuke

  • Family Man
  • Very Heavy User
  • *****
  • Posts: 1508
  • Total likes: 33
  • Karma: 3536
  • Gender: Male
  • No longer a nuke
Thank you both for the reply. I know I'm coming in with outdated info, I learned about the job through my step-dad. He started in the 90's and stopped for family. Went back in 2010-2012 and got out again for personal reasons. My info is at least 4 years out of date.

I figured it was too good to be true. I'd still like to give it a go, the last retail job I worked where I live was at a nationwide orange colored hardware store. Right now they have two thirds the number employees from when I was working there and got rid of many older employees for cheaper newbies that don't know anything. I'd rather gamble on industry because that'll always be around and is an applicable skill for the degree I'm going for.

I don't want some pansy made up degree and an office. I saw two research internships while I was still in school and still can't figure out what the purpose of their programs are for or what they actually produced. Or rather I'm smart enough to get in them but not enough to contribute, ha ha. Best stick with what's already going on.

I'll check out the waste control specialist position. I'm also thinking about the Optics industry and where else I can go when I apply for my Associates in the summer. Thanks again for the advice, I'm planning on spending the next few days here looking up qualifications and reading material to see what exactly I can do and what is a pipe dream at the moment.

Look, nuclear is dying. I know, I'm at one of the shut down plants.
HVAC / Solar / Waste / site remediation - fields that, while they don't pay the big bucks, don't take much education, and you can make a living.
https://www.google.com/webhp?gws_rd=ssl#q=texas+hvac+training
http://www.indeed.com/q-HVAC-Technician-l-Texas-jobs.html
http://www.indeed.com/q-Solar-l-Texas-jobs.html

again, good luck
Remember who you love. Remember what is sacred. Remember what is true.
Remember that you will die, and that this day is a gift. Remember how you wish to live, may the blessing of the Lord be with you

Offline Rerun

PHQ takes at the most 40 minutes. The application takes maybe 10. By no means ridiculously long.

Offline jflanakin

If by application you mean the Personal History Questionnaire (PHQ), it shouldn't take a "ridiculously" long time to complete. 18 to 21 is a blink of an eye. All you need is your list of employers, list of residences greater than 30 days, criminal history (if you have one), and secondary education information. If you're still living in the relatively small town that you graduated high school from it should be fairly simple. I couldn't imagine it taking more than an eight hour day maximum to figure all that out.

It's a bit complicated. I started college full time at 16 through a program, and even before that had college credits that count towards my degree. My college itself has changed names several times in the past few years. UTB/TSC to UTB to UTRGV - Brownsville campus, so both my job info and academic info are muddled and hard to get at. Most of the people that worked there when I began where fired or layed off, even tenured professors, so I'm just a name in a drawer without context. When the semester began in August they couldn't provide a clear transcript to anyone and had messed mine up so bad that I spent two weeks just to register for one class. I can't imagine it has gotten any better.

Offline jflanakin

Look, nuclear is dying. I know, I'm at one of the shut down plants.
HVAC / Solar / Waste / site remediation - fields that, while they don't pay the big bucks, don't take much education, and you can make a living.
https://www.google.com/webhp?gws_rd=ssl#q=texas+hvac+training
http://www.indeed.com/q-HVAC-Technician-l-Texas-jobs.html
http://www.indeed.com/q-Solar-l-Texas-jobs.html

again, good luck

Thank you. Everything is going downhill from my perspective haha. Can't get into research because they can't afford undergrads, grades are not good because I've had to work every day I've gone to university so grants are out too. Now I'm looking into industry like I said above to try and make enough to finish my degree without $50k in debt. I'll give those a look and keep poking around here.

chuckdhuff

  • Guest
It's a bit complicated. I started college full time at 16 through a program, and even before that had college credits that count towards my degree. My college itself has changed names several times in the past few years. UTB/TSC to UTB to UTRGV - Brownsville campus, so both my job info and academic info are muddled and hard to get at. Most of the people that worked there when I began where fired or layed off, even tenured professors, so I'm just a name in a drawer without context. When the semester began in August they couldn't provide a clear transcript to anyone and had messed mine up so bad that I spent two weeks just to register for one class. I can't imagine it has gotten any better.

“If you want something you've never had, you must be willing to do something you've never done.”

 


NukeWorker ™ is a registered trademark of NukeWorker.com ™, LLC © 1996-2021 All rights reserved.
All material on this Web Site, including text, photographs, graphics, code and/or software, are protected by international copyright/trademark laws and treaties. Unauthorized use is not permitted. You may not modify, copy, reproduce, republish, upload, post, transmit or distribute, in any manner, the material on this web site or any portion of it. Doing so will result in severe civil and criminal penalties, and will be prosecuted to the maximum extent possible under the law.
Privacy Statement | Terms of Use | Code of Conduct | Spam Policy | Advertising Info | Contact Us | Forum Rules | Password Problem?