Nuclear Engineering

Kevin Wang

What is Nuclear Engineering?

Nuclear engineering is the branch of engineering concerned with nuclear energy and how to harness that energy for human use. Nuclear engineers apply nuclear energy to many uses such as propulsion systems, power plants, medical scanning technology, and defense equipment. I am interested in nuclear engineering because of the potential it has as a power source for buildings, electrical systems, and vehicles in the future.


What's a typical day like?

Most nuclear engineers work in an office and research ways to utilize nuclear energy. However, there is no 'typical day' as a nuclear engineer. A person with a degree in nuclear engineering could find a job anywhere from in a nuclear power plant, in a lab designing equipment such as radiation shielding, reactor cores, or even medical instruments, or even on a nuclear submarine. Nuclear engineers can also examine previous nuclear accidents and find ways to prevent them in the future, develop better methods to dispose of radioactive waste, or supervise a nuclear facility. As nuclear energy becomes safer, more reliable, and more productive, the list only keeps growing.


What's the pay?

The mean starting pay for a nuclear engineer is $104,630 annually, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What do you need to know?

At least a bachelor's degree in nuclear engineering is required. Most colleges offer a 4-year bachelor's degree program, although some colleges also offer 5 or 6-year programs for a master's degree as well as experience in the field along the way. It is recommended to take many mathematics and science classes in high school if you are reaching to become a nuclear engineer.