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Career Profile: Nuclear Technicians

Assist nuclear physicists, nuclear engineers, or other scientists in laboratory, power generation, or electricity production activities. May operate, maintain, or provide quality control for nuclear testing and research equipment. May monitor radiation.

Salary and Outlook

According to the US Department of Labor, there are 6,600 people employed as nuclear technicians in the United States. The median annual salary is $84,200. Entry level employees earn approximately $53,570 per year and senior employees earn approximately $116,680 per year.

Estimates do not include other potential benefits such as health insurance, overtime pay, or retirement benefits that may be offered by employers.

Job Duties

  • Measure the intensity and identify the types of radiation in work areas, equipment, or materials, using radiation detectors or other instruments.
  • Communicate with accelerator maintenance personnel to ensure readiness of support systems, such as vacuum, water cooling, or radio frequency power sources.
  • Set control panel switches to route electric power from sources and direct particle beams through injector units.
  • Identify and implement appropriate decontamination procedures, based on equipment and the size, nature, and type of contamination.
  • Decontaminate objects by cleaning them using soap or solvents or by abrading using brushes, buffing machines, or sandblasting machines.
  • Prepare reports to communicate information such as contamination test results, decontamination results, or decontamination procedures.
  • Collect air, water, gas or solid samples for testing to determine radioactivity levels or to ensure appropriate radioactive containment.
  • Follow nuclear equipment operational policies and procedures that ensure environmental safety.
  • Conduct surveillance testing to determine safety of nuclear equipment.
  • Monitor nuclear reactor equipment performance to identify operational inefficiencies, hazards, or needs for maintenance or repair.
  • Test plant equipment to ensure it is operating properly.
  • Apply safety tags to equipment needing maintenance.
  • Follow policies and procedures for radiation workers to ensure personnel safety.
  • Modify, devise, or maintain nuclear equipment used in operations.
  • Monitor instruments, gauges, or recording devices under direction of nuclear experimenters.
  • Perform testing, maintenance, repair, or upgrading of accelerator systems.
  • Adjust controls of equipment to control particle beam movement, pulse rates, energy or intensity, or radiation, according to specifications.
  • Warn maintenance workers of radiation hazards and direct workers to vacate hazardous areas.
  • Calculate equipment operating factors, such as radiation times, dosages, temperatures, gamma intensities, or pressures, using standard formulas and conversion tables.

Career List

Job Outlook


Total Current Jobs:
6,600
Annual Openings:
700
Increase in Openings by 2030:
-12%
Annual Salary Range:
$53,570 - $116,680
Education Requirements:
Associate's degree