How to Become a

Nuclear Technician

The complete career guide to be a Nuclear Technician: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $78,850
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • -5.9%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Good Entry Level Salary
    Career Attribute
  • Growing Industry
    Career Attribute

Nuclear technicians operate and maintain equipment in nuclear power plants and on government ships and vessels.  They also assist other scientists with nuclear research often times in the medical field.

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What is a Nuclear Technician?

The following responsibilities are common for individuals in the Nuclear Technician field:

  • Monitor employees radiation levels in work areas and practice safe operating procedures
  • Calculate and measure safe radiation exposure times for personnel
  • Collect samples of air, water, animals, plants, etc. to determine levels of radioactivity contamination
  • Prepare samples for testing and analysis
  • Decontaminate objects and materials with solvents, wire brushes and machines

A Day In The Life

There are several types of nuclear technicians.  And some technicians do more than one type of work.  Nuclear reactor technicians maintain and control the nuclear reactor and control the nuclear reaction processes.  They often spend their day working on remote-control instrument panels.  They also keep records and data and keeps track of safety standards and regulations to secure the nuclear reactor facility and its employees maintain healthy radiation levels within the established safety limits.

Decontamination technicians use special equipment to measure radiation exposure and radioactivity.  They work to decontaminate work areas, tools, work spaces, personnel and other materials to bring radiation levels back to safe working conditions.

They also work in a wide variety of other different jobs.  Some technicians measure radiation in the environment, while others trace radioactive isotopes in scientific experiments.  Others work in the healthcare industry.  Radiation treatments, for example, help treat patients with cancer.

Typical Work Schedule

Generally a full-time, 40 hour work week is required for this position.  Some over-time may be required.  Travel may also be required for this position.

Projected Job Growth

The job growth is fair.  Most jobs will be concentrated in the medical, waste management and safety standard control areas.

Typical Employers

Nuclear Technicians typically work for a range of different industries.  Some of them include government agencies like the Navy, power companies, laboratories and nuclear power plants.

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How To Become a Nuclear Technician

Most companies prefer an employee with an associates degree in nuclear technology or a related field.  Employees will also require on-the-job training in addition to their formal schooling.

Nuclear reactor technicians are required to be licensed by the federal government.  Licensing must be renewed every two years.



Nuclear Technician Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range




High Range


National Hourly Wage

Low Range




High Range


How do Nuclear Technician salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Nuclear Technician's can make an average annual salary of $78,850, or $38 per hour. On the lower end, they can make $63,830 or $31 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #146 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Average Salary Nationally

Programs and Degrees

Here are the most common degrees for becoming a Nuclear Technician. a is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.

Highest Education Among Nuclear Technicians

  • 0.8%   Doctorate
  • 5%   Masters
  • 24.7%   Bachelors
  • 13.1%   Associates
  • 25%   College
  • 28.6%   High School
  • 2.9%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Nuclear Technician job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of -400 jobs for a total of 6,400 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a -5.9% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Above Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #713 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Avg. Growth Nationally

What Companies Employ The Most Nuclear Technicians

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Electric power generation, transmission and distribution 4,200 -400 0%
Self-employed workers 300 --- ---
Engineering services 200 --- ---

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