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Author Topic: Getting my foot in the door - M.S. in Physics, no experience, career changer  (Read 2930 times)

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Offline quanta137

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My wife and I have been reading through tons of threads, trying to educate ourselves about the nuclear industry. It seems like it is a tough industry to get into, and I was hoping someone could help me figure out how to improve my chances.

I have an M.S. in Physics, though I have taken all the PhD coursework, as well. I have a high GPA. For the last 8 years, I have been teaching high school science and math. I am wanting to change careers and would especially like to move to the north east, to be closer to family. Currently, I am living in Las Vegas.

I would like to become an NLO, eventually becoming licensed. However, I have no experience in the industry. I have a wife, also a teacher, and 2 young children, so getting my foot in the door by taking a job, such as a janitor (mentioned in other threads on this site), just wouldn't pay the bills.

I am open to other positions, as well.

I took an old version of the POSS test (untimed) and scored 98% my first attempt (my first try I didn't realize how it worked). I will continue practicing for the timed version so I am prepared if I am able to get that far. I am also studying the STAR interview process. But these things will only help if I can get noticed in the fist place.

Does anyone have any suggestions for how to help me stand out? Are there any online courses I can take that would get companies to look at me? Will my age work against me? Also, I was wondering if there's a particular time of year I should be looking for listings?

Final question (for now). If I did get lucky enough to land a job, I understand it is expensive to train NLOs. How long would I need to stay at a plant before I look into moving to a different plant? I do not wish to ever put an employer in a bad position or take advantage of them and am asking so that I know how to narrow down where I would like to work. For example, if I need to stay at a plant for 5 years, I might be willing to move more places and stay for 5 years than if it takes 10 years. 10 years would make choosier about location.

Offline MMM

Listings for NLOs are posted throughout the year, based on the need of the site. I'm not sure how old you are (I'm guessing mid-30s), but won't have an impact, the lack of experience is going to be the bigger hurdle. To stand out you might want to look at an engineering tech degree of some sort, that might make up for a lack of experience, or go with engineering and apply for engineering positions.
The second hurdle is that, to the best of my knowledge, a lot of companies won't pay relocation for NLOs, so you're on your own to move, probably halfway across the country (at least).
The qual process takes 2-3 years for NLOs. You're not locked into a plant at all, but if you move to a new location you have to start over, with the associated drop in pay.

Offline SloGlo

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it wood seam two me that wit lots of education, butt know experience, a move too nuclear power mite bee difficult at best. may bee staying in education and changing venues could be moor e-z. a college stint oar private training (like a nuke plant, oar a fleet position) could utilize experience and training quicker.
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Offline MMM

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Who should we report potential identity theft to? This is way more helpful than normal. :)

Offline quanta137

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Thank you all for taking the time to reply.

MMM - I'm 43. Got a late start to college, and then fell into teaching after graduation when my PhD funding fell through.  You mentioned getting another degree - what level do you think? A.S., B.S., M.S.? I have to confess I was hoping to take some classes, but not go for a full on degree (I have a M.S. in education, in addition to physics), simply because I am still paying off my student loans. But if I can figure out a way to make it happen while still providing for my family, I'm willing to do whatever it takes. Would an online degree work against me? I wouldn't be able to give up having my job at the same time due to finances. As for no relocation, that's okay with me, as long as it's for a career move. We're willing to make short term sacrifices (if we can swing it) to reach a long term goal. Thank you for the help!

SloGlo - I have considered staying a teacher, and will if that's what it takes to provide a stable home for my family. But I am hoping to get out of teaching. It's also difficult for both my wife and I to be hired as teachers at the same time, in a location that leaves us a commute that works with our kids' daycare, and soon, school. We cannot survive financially on only one teacher's salary while the other is looking for work. In addition, once you get experience and have higher degrees, teachers cost more. Many districts won't hire teachers with a lot of experience because they cost too much. I fall into that category. I was wondering if you could clarify what you meant by "a college stint oar private training (like a nuke plant, oar a fleet position) could utilize experience and training quicker"? Thank you!

TVA - I sent you a message. Thank you!

Offline MMM

Online degrees are fine, as long as they're accredited. If you need it, an A.S. is generally fine. You might be able to leverage the A.S. into an instructor position with your background. Your age won't be an issue, there are two of us at my plant that just started as NLOs at 40.

 


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