Career Path > Getting in

Young and new grad needs advice.

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I recently graduated with a degree in Nuclear Engineering and have been looking for work.  I want to get my feet wet and get a career started.  I sent out about 64 letters 2 weeks ago to every power plant in the USA and addressed it to the HR department.  I have had very small success in getting responses and have had several letters come back to me undeliverable.  Am I approaching this all wrong? 

I made a big mistake by turning down an internship and lost a great opportunity to network while in school and regret this very much.  I was an ignorant young kid.  Can anyone give me any good advice on how to get exposure to the correct people?

My goals are to become a licensed operator and learn all I can about the nuclear power production industry.  I am willing to relocate and can move within 2 weeks, sooner if my current employer releases me before the 2 weeks are up.

Roll Tide:
Your attitude will make you successful in this industry if you can maintain it for the long term. HR departments do not hire; they weed out stuff going to the people that do hire. You need to get with your alumni department and get some real names of contacts in the industry that would be willing to help you out since you have the same school.

I would recommend looking for a position in Nuclear / Fuels Engineering, and tell them when you interview you are willing to license if needed by the department. The alternative is to find an OPS position that is hiring for a field operator. It takes a few years to get into a license class with either of those routes.

I know you technically qualify for direct hire into a license class, but those positions are very rare. Check each nuclear utility website for positions weekly as part of your search.

Good luck!

I will call up some of my old professors and see what they say.  I am very motivated and ready to start a career.  I am still doing what I was doing in high school before I earned my degree :'( .  I am prepared for long hours at bad times of the day and dealing with stress.  The last 6 years I worked 30+ hours a week trying to make ends meet while I was in school, I can keep doing it till I get my foot in the door and settled in to a new job.  I sometimes wonder if I would have been better off had taken more loans out rather than work so much.

I have wanted to work nuclear reactors since the age of 12 when I visited Commanche Peak on a Boy Scout Trip.  Later against the wishes of my parents I changed in to nuclear engineering from chemical engineering in my junior year.  It caused such a problem that my dad refused to talk to me for a year.

Just for all readers to know my goals:

I want to become a licensed reactor operator.  After getting enough experience I want to take on more responsibility and management type roles and become a Sr. operator.  I really believe nuclear power is going to blossom and become a very hot field.  I want to be a part of this nuclear renaissance.  Anyone reading this that knows anyone with a job please let me know.  I WILL relocate.

I have a degree in Nuclear Engineering from Texas A&M University with a minor in Math.  157 hours total.

I was very involved in extra curricular activities and held several leadership roles.  They include:

Fund raising officer for ANS.

Member if the Corps of Cadets 4 years and served as supply, IM and accountability officer.

I also worked about 30 hours a week, sometimes more, to pay for school as a licensed pharmacy technician.

I have maintained my license for 4 years now.

If a background check is performed you will see nothing except for a speeding ticket I received in New Mexico on my way to Philmont when I was 17.  My credit is excellent.

To become a Reactor Operator you legally have to be qualified as a Non Licensed Operator at the facility for a certain length of time (Normally 3 years including training).
There's no way around this.

If you choose to go that route let me suggest looking for Auxiliary Operator Jobs. Use

Odds are with no experience in the Navy or as a Utility Engineer that you'll find Instant SRO Positions few and far between, especially since INPO is pinging on putting proven successes in these positions.


I do not have a problem working as a non-licensed operator.  I am just pointing out I desire to move up and take on more roles after I get training and experience.  We all have to start some where and I am just looking to get my foot in the door.  I want to make a career out of this.  When the generation 4 reactors start to be built I want to be in a position to train the next generation of operators and really be a part of this industry‚Äôs growth.


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