Nuclear Engineering Schools Colleges & Universities

Although an education at one of the leading nuclear engineering colleges encompasses much more than simply nuclear power, the worldwide focus on this growing energy source makes it a smart choice for career-minded college students.

Nuclear Engineering Colleges: Providing 16 percent of the world's energy, nuclear power is becoming even more important in the 21st century--and that's just part of what makes degrees in nuclear engineering such useful tools for a career in today's workforce. Although an education at one of the leading nuclear engineering colleges encompasses much more than simply nuclear power, the worldwide focus on this growing energy source can make it a smart choice for career-minded college students.

Nuclear engineering involves sub-atomic physics and the breakdown of atomic nuclei. It's a field rife with possibilities for new theoretical research and development in practical areas, providing everything from nuclear power plants to nuclear weapons to medical applications.

Applying to Nuclear Engineering Schools: Entry into a nuclear engineering college depends mainly on strong science grades--particularly in physics, chemistry, and mathematics. Requirements will always include Biology and English. Specific prerequisites will depend on the individual school and program, as well as the type of degree.

  • Undergraduate degrees in nuclear engineering require a high school diploma, as well as a complete course of the basic sciences and grade 12 math. Some of these can be made up as high-school level courses offered in college, but it's best to plan ahead and save money by taking advantage of high schools that offer the necessary science curriculum.
  • Graduate degrees in nuclear engineering usually require a bachelor's degree in this or a related science field, such as chemical or biochemical engineering, physical chemistry, or physics. Additional coursework may be requested to make up for any gaps in previous education as you enter a masters or doctoral program.

Those who excel in nuclear engineering are typically very focused, delighted by intricate puzzles, and have the patience to work deliberately through the most minute equations and physical concepts. Many of them have always had a gift for chemistry and physics, or a fascination with energy and creating tools that serve people and protect the environment.

Careers in Nuclear Engineering: Degrees in nuclear engineering open the door to a variety of jobs and career opportunities, from nuclear waste disposal to medical applications of radioactivity. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 16,900 nuclear engineers were employed in 2008, and that number is expected to rise to 18,800 in the 2008-18 decade--an increase of 11 percent.

Nuclear engineering professionals are some of the highest paid engineers in the United States, earning a mean of $97,080 annually according to 2008 figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The highest paid 10 percent of nuclear engineers bring home $136,880 annually, while the lowest paid 10 percent earn only $68,300 on average.

Because most of the major careers in this field require at least a master's degree, there is a shortage of professionals with the training and expertise to work as nuclear engineers, making students who excel at a reputable nuclear engineering college in high demand for lucrative, vital jobs in the United States and abroad.

Melissa Rudy.

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