Nuclear Industry Generates New Demand for $50,000 per Year Technicians

Consider training for a job in the growing nuclear industry, which could pay off with a starting salary of $50,000 annually.
As our country continues to search for alternative energy sources, the field of nuclear technology becomes a larger piece of the pie. The knowledge, land and resources are in place to open nuclear plants across the country – but there is one element lacking. Skilled technicians will be needed to work in these new plants, particularly in light of the fact that thousands of current nuclear technicians are slated for retirement over the next five years, according to a recent report in the New York Times.

As many as 40 community colleges across the nation have heeded the call and are now providing programs to train a new generation of nuclear technicians. These programs can be completed in a fraction of the time of a standard four-year degree, with most associate's degrees earned in two years or less. Both high school graduates and adults looking for a career change can capitalize on these programs, moving into an industry that pays well and is much more secure in terms of growth and stability.
 
What is a Nuclear Technician?
 
Education-Portal describes the role of a nuclear technician as one who operates and maintains equipment in nuclear power plants. As specialists in nuclear energy, they might also assist scientists in the field of research.
 
Many professionals get their foot in the nuclear door with just a two-year associate's degree, and their first job could earn around $50,000 per year. The New York Times estimates that experienced nuclear technicians may make as much as $80,000, and those with a four-year degree can bring in six figures.
 
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a nine percent growth rate in jobs between 2008 and 2018, as interests turn to alternative energy sources. However, this prediction is based on the current nuclear plants open for business today. The job outlook with the addition of new nuclear plants would undoubtedly increase tenfold, particularly as one-third of the current work force is reaching retirement age.
 
A Piece of the Action
 
Where do you go to get a piece of the action? While community colleges across the country are offering nuclear technician programs, there are a few key areas to monitor when weighing the job prospects for this industry.
 
Georgia
Atlanta-based Southern Co. believes it is ready to break ground on the first nuclear plant in 30 years – if it can staff the plant to keep it running. A report in The Daily Record in Maryland states that Southern Co. predicts they will be able to provide 850 new jobs to the local community by 2017, as long as there are workers trained to take those positions at that time. The Daily Record also indicates that plans to build a wave of nuclear reactors would require the addition of 12,000-21,000 new workers. Augusta Technical College is one of the institutions in Georgia offering training in this area.
 
Texas
The South Texas Project in Bay City currently operates two nuclear plants and plans to begin construction on two more by 2012, according to the New York Times. Clarence Fenner, work force development coordinator for the South Texas Project, told the New York Times that available jobs and good starting salaries were just the beginning of the opportunities for these community college graduates. Fenner said, "We tell these young people, and they understand, that they are becoming part of something important. This nuclear renaissance is important for our community, our state and our country."
 
Ohio
First Energy in Ohio has posted a page on their website encouraging individuals to invest in a training program that may land them a position in their company right out of school. In addition to jobs as nuclear workers, First Energy is also recruiting the following:
 
       ·         Line workers
 
       ·         Substation electricians
 
       ·         Fossil and nuclear operators

The company website includes a listing of colleges in the area that offer programs in these specific fields of study. Lakeland Community College in Lakeland, Ohio, is offering a nuclear training program.
 
As community colleges begin partnering with the industries in their communities, they can offer students a solid education and better job prospects after graduation. In the case of the nuclear power industry, it appears those prospects will continue to improve well into the future.

Additional Resources [+]
 How to Start Your Aquarium Science Career at Community College
How to Start Your Aquarium Science Career at Community College
Crack into Cyber-Security Training at Community Colleges
Crack into Cyber-Security Training at Community Colleges
comments powered by Disqus
Recent Articles
Freshman Year in College Looks More and More Like High School
Freshman Year in College Looks More and More Like High School
Nearly 52 percent of community college students in the United States begin their freshman year in at least one remedial class. These courses, which help students acquire knowledge and skills they should have acquired in high school, do not count toward their degree requirements. As a result, students are taking longer than ever to obtain their degree, if they obtain one at all.
Federal Student Loans – Unavailable at 20% of Community Colleges
Although a community college education is inexpensive when compared to tuition and fees at a four-year institution, some students still need financial assistance to pay their education bills. Yet, some community colleges don’t participate in the federal student loan program, putting some students in a financial bind.
Post-Recession Cliff Looms for Community Colleges
While many factors have contributed to the current decline in community college enrollment, the recovering economy is chief among them. As more and more people return to the workforce, fewer students enroll in courses at community colleges. Many institutions must now deal with budget shortfalls in the face of double-digit declines in enrollment.

Get Your Degree!

Find schools and get information on the program that’s right for you.

Powered by Campus Explorer

Career Training

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY CAREERS

Indeed, science and technology careers, ranging from cyber-security to nano-technology, can all start from community college training. Get your feet wet with waterbotics, crack into cyber-security or dive into marine biology at your local community college.