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What Degree Do You Need To Be A Nuclear Engineer

By David Krug 2 minute read


In fields like electric power generation and medicine, nuclear energy is critical. Nuclear engineers are those who study and develop ways to utilize nuclear energy and radiation in industrial and medicinal applications. There are several obligations that come along with working in nuclear engineering. 

In the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report, nuclear engineers design the procedures, equipment, and systems that are used to develop and control nuclear energy.

Among its accomplishments are the creation of nuclear reactor core technology as well as nuclear power plant construction and the development of medical diagnostic and treatment equipment like positron emission tomography (PET) scanners.

According to the BLS, nuclear engineers are responsible for overseeing nuclear power plant operations and maintenance for both safety and compliance reasons, as well as writing guidelines for the safe treatment of nuclear waste.

In the event of a nuclear emergency, nuclear engineers are responsible for shutting down dangerous nuclear reactors and implementing measures to resolve the issue. In order to prevent future disasters, they study what happened after the threat has gone.


A formal college degree is required to pursue a profession as a nuclear engineer. Programs approved by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) combine classroom, laboratory, and field study experiences to educate students on the fundamentals of mathematics and engineering, according to the BLS. 

Even undergraduate degrees, which are necessary for entry-level employment in this field, typically provide students with the opportunity to get significant job experience through co-op programs.

Students with a higher aspiration might also look for recognized colleges that offer five-year programs that combine a bachelor’s and a master’s degree, or that allow for longer co-op periods of five to six years.

According to the BLS, professional engineer certification is not required for nuclear engineers working in power facilities. Many nuclear engineers, on the other hand, choose to get certified. 

Two examinations have required the Fundamentals of Engineering and Professional Engineering (FE and PE) exams, as well as a degree from an ABET-accredited institution with at least three years of relevant professional experience.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Senior Reactor Operator Class certification is also available to nuclear engineers.


To put it another way, nuclear engineers make more than three times the average yearly compensation of all engineers, which is $86,200, according to the BLS, with a median salary of $104,270.

They might expect to earn more money if they work in fields like scientific research or architectural and engineering services.

The BLS expects a nine percent rise in employment prospects for nuclear engineers over the next decade, despite the fact that nuclear engineers are paid far more than engineers in other fields. 

Nuclear power facilities and nuclear medicine, in particular, are expected to provide considerable employment opportunities in the future.

Bottom Line

A bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering can open the door to a fulfilling profession and a six-figure yearly compensation if you have excellent problem-solving, analytical, and logical thinking abilities.

David Krug