Career Path > General

midlife switch into nuke -- is it too late?


Hi, my first post....   This website has great information, so I'm hoping some of you out there can give me advice on a career transition into nuke.

I'm a 45-year-old mechanical engineer with zip, zilch experience in the nuclear industry -- all my experience is in semiconductor and computer manufacturing.   

I would like to switch careers into nuclear but have no idea how to start or even if its realistic now.    If I can make the switch, I'd like to stay in nuke permanently and work there the next twenty years.

Some questions:   
1)   What training programs are out there for engineers looking to switch into nuke?     What is a good foot in the door for a mechanical engineer with no nuke background?    I'm very willing to start with a position for which I'm overqualified and work my way up.

2)    What is the general job market like?    Do you see the overall job market getting better, stagnant or worse over the next few years?

3)   How common are layoffs?

3)   Is it even worth making the switch at this time of my life, or is it unrealistic given the nature of the industry?

Thanks a lot for your input.

Layoffs not too bad, job market SHOULD get better considering our current energy crises and the general attitude shift going on right now on nukeplants.  Not unrealistic at all right now, considering you have a degree in mechanical engineering.  As long as they can look past your age, which I've seen plants do plenty of times, then you should be able to secure a job in operations as a non-licsensed operator (A.O. or aux operator). Once you get your feet wet in the nuclear industry (foot in the door as well), you can move on to what you really want to do, whatever that is.  Heck you might even be able to get into engineering right off the bat, but I'm not sure about that one.  Indian Point was scrounging for operators; know the history on some of the guys they recently hired and a guy with a ME has got a leg up on many of them....Might have to be willing to relocate quite a bit.  Nuclear maintenance MIGHT have a place for you, but usually those guys have some sort of experience in maitenance, like working on Diesel Generators.  I'd say OPs would be your best bet, do 2 years, keep eyes open, and decide what you really want to do from there.

take a diesel mechanic school, or just a some nuke eng classes, you should have no probs getting in. the aging workforce will allow for openings. in HP for example- we are seeing technicians in their late 50's and 60's working and keeping employed.

   Thanks for the replies to my questions, they've been very helpful.   This seems like a field with a big potential for the future -- any other words of advice welcome.

My father was retired and bored...I got him a job as a Jr RP at age 62.  He continued to work some 10 years and had a nice little career out of it.  This is the least age discriminating field I have ever seen.  Maturity is a good thing in the nuclear environment. 


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