NukeWorker Forum

Career Path => Training, Tests & Education => Topic started by: DipDog3 on Jul 22, 2005, 11:54

Title: Over educated & over ignorant?
Post by: DipDog3 on Jul 22, 2005, 11:54
Hey All,

I just finished graduate school with a Master's Degree in Nuke Engr.
I have no industry experience.

I applied for many jobs and recently got a call back for an Auxiliary Operator position.
The job description only requires a BS, so I wanted to know if I was over qualified for this position?

I am having a hard time finding information on what exactly the job duties of an AO are.
1.  What are the job duties?
2.  What are the advancement choices?
3.  Average starting pay?

So if anyone can relieve me of my ignorance, I would appreciate it.
Title: Re: Am I over educated and over ignorant?
Post by: MLew44 on Jul 23, 2005, 05:13
I am somebody who doesn't believe somebody can be "overeducated". Here is a true story...

A friend and co-worker of mine came into the nuclear industry with a masters in nuclear engineering. He started the business about 14 years ago as an Aux Operator. Most of the rest of us who worked with him were ex-Navy or had some similar practical experience. This guy, however, did not, but was willing to learn, and of course, was smart enough to do the job and also had good practical sense. He did not flaunt his educational advantage, and was certainly willing to "do his time". Aux Operator (which, as you probably know, is the entry level in nuclear operations) also pays very well, so this guy never felt like he was wasting his time. After a few years, he moved up and got his SRO license. Now he is a Shift Manager, and is poised to move up through company management. This guy is probably going right to the top; there is no limit, and he's only in his mid-thirties now.

Average starting pay for Aux Operator is very competetive ---- varies from location to location and is highly overtime dependent. But, once qualified, an AO can expect to earn from about 65K to 120K yearly gross. At many plants, this is a bargaining unit position. Job duties: have to be willing to do the "grunt work". No prima donnas allowed. It includes all plant operations outside the Control Room --- taking readings, rounds, operating equipment. Some physical prowess needed. Can expect to sweat most days, especially in the summer. Advancement choices: unlimited in the nuclear field. Best place to start, whether goal is to move up in plant management, engineering, or dozens of other areas.
Title: Re: Am I over educated and over ignorant?
Post by: alphadude on Jul 23, 2005, 07:41
No you are in a position to move up the ladder very rapidly. As a "virgin" you have to start some where and that is the place. You will be watched for your skills and methods, then moved out in the first wave and then up and on. If you are so-so, you will trudge along. Expect 3 years in the learning position mode- usually after you go through training you will be able to bid out.  A lot of plant managers started in the coal yards-and know what it takes to run a utility,  and those that didnt, those social butterflys ... well you can tell!
Title: Re: Am I over educated and over ignorant?
Post by: DipDog3 on Jul 24, 2005, 04:56
Wow, thank you for your very informative responses.

AO sounds like a good starting position. 
I have no problem putting in "my time" and working hard so I think that this position will fit me really well.

If anyone has any additional information, please let me know.
Title: Re: Am I over educated and over ignorant?
Post by: halflifer on Jul 24, 2005, 07:36
You may be 'over educated' in that you have an education that will qualify you for 'higher' jobs. That will not disqualify you from being an AO at any plant that is worth going to. You very attitude shows that you realize the limits on classroom education and proves conclusively that you are not over, under, median or any other kind of ignorant.
Don't overlook positions as Shift Engineer or core engineer. Also, try to get some experience in the maintenance dept. It doesn't matter how good your ops staff is, if the plant components break, you can't stay on line, and that's what it's all about in the wild and rewarding world of commercial nuclear power.
Good luck....not that you won't make your own.
Karma, m'man, karma on ye.
Title: Re: Am I over educated and over ignorant?
Post by: halflifer on Jul 24, 2005, 07:43
also, if you do go AO, you will find you have a lot of time to study, particularly on back shift. getting an additional degree in Business Mgmt or Personell Mgmt will help open doors to the highest levels of plant management.
Title: Re: Am I over educated and over ignorant?
Post by: JnyMac on Jul 25, 2005, 03:48
I am an AO.  Great position to start in.  I did the RP gig for 13 years.  At our plant if you have a good atttude, do your job, keep you mouth closed and ears open, and your nose clean you can advance rather quickly.  We have guys in our AO ranks with multiple degrees, SRO licensed at other facilities, and supervisors from other departments.  The AO gig is a pretty good job.  I have no complaints.
Title: Re: Am I over educated and over ignorant?
Post by: thenuttyneutron on Jul 26, 2005, 06:23
I just started this week as an AO.  So far I love it.  You know when 8 hours flies by that the job you are in is good.  I have a Nuclear engineering degree and would not have it any other way than to go AO.  In the last 2 days I have learned so much and I like the people who are training me.  Good luck.
Title: Re: Am I over educated and over ignorant?
Post by: hamsamich on Jul 28, 2005, 10:40
I was an AO and chem tech before deciding to do the traveling HP gig.  Advancement is sometimes the ONLY thing available.  What I mean is, AOs are expected to move up at some plants, or they have to bid out of ops, or go somewhere else.  I didn't want to take the next step (RO) so I moved to chem tech.  The "fish bowl" just wasn't for me.  Take a good look at what ROs and SROs do and make sure you are ready for that kind of life and commitment.  I'd work as an AO again, but 5 months vacation isn't available.  Too bad there aren't many contract AO positions.  I liked some parts of the job.
Title: Re: Am I over educated and over ignorant?
Post by: raymcginnis on Jul 29, 2005, 12:09
I agree with all of the posts here DipDog.  Listen to the advice of the elders.  Let me put my two cents in, for what it is worth.  I am a middle aged dude who just recently got his Masters degree.  My company paid for it to make me a better worker, but if you had gone through the same program with me, as a newcomer, they would rather lay me off and hire you.  They like new people because they are cheaper and have the same credintials.  You have it made!  Young man with a Masters, oh yeah!

You can go your own course, although the nuclear channel is shallow, because noboby is building any new ones.  There are more operating plants than those in D&D now, but that may change in your lifetime. 

You should look at the topic "How hot is clean" under "Nuclear Q&A" and weigh in as a recent Masters recipient.  Fresh college knowledge from you would refresh this discussion.  In the meantime, us oldtimers will respond to you on based on the beginnings, as we know it.

BTW, we oldtimers all hate that we are being replaced.  We spent years honing our craft by being in nuclear facilities all over the country.  Now we are being told that we are obsolete, because we did what was right.

Oops, I meant to encourage you.  I jumped on the wrong soapbox.  Nuclear stuff is fine!  Don't worry about it.  Follow your heart and you will end up on the right path.  Congrats on your degrees! ;)

Title: Re: Over educated & over ignorant?
Post by: thenuttyneutron on Jul 29, 2005, 03:57
Education means almost nothing as an AO.  I have a BS in nuclear engineering and can say that I learned alot in school but know nothing!  It will take me about 2 years to become fully qualified as an AO.  I want to go through the RO and SRO track eventually.  From there who knows what I will do.  I might get a masters and decide to get into design work :P .  The nuke industy is a sleeping giant that is going to dominate the energy needs of tommarow. 

-Clean coal is like edible shit, hard to find and most likely the idea of a crazy person.
-You might think gas is good.  If you like unstable fuel prices then by all means go to gas.
- I won't even say anything about solar or wind.

Not much else to build on.  I think there will be more work than avaible people in the future.  Get in now for some valuable experience and I think you will have more trouble in the future deciding on what job to take rather than where to find a job.
Title: Re: Over educated & over ignorant?
Post by: Rad Sponge on Jul 29, 2005, 05:53
"edible shit".......priceless.

Title: Re: Over educated & over ignorant?
Post by: cincinnatinuke on Jul 29, 2005, 07:06
-Clean coal is like edible shit, hard to find and most likely the idea of a crazy person.

Been in many a coal plant here on the Ohio river and I think I have met that crazy guy in WV or KY.
Title: Re: Over educated & over ignorant?
Post by: DipDog3 on Jul 30, 2005, 04:31
I passed the POSS Test and had my interviews.
I should find out in about a week if they will give me a job.

Thanks for the help everyone.
Title: Re: Over educated & over ignorant?
Post by: DipDog3 on Aug 11, 2005, 12:18
I was offered the job today.

Thank you everyone for all your help!!!   :)
Title: Re: Over educated & over ignorant?
Post by: Jams on Jan 26, 2006, 01:29
On eadditional thing to go along with all the other good advice is that some plants only hire in through Operations unless there is a specific need for an Engineering Position that has to be filled from outside the company.  So if you start as a NLO you get your foot in the door.