Nuclear Technicians: Salary Overview
Nuclear technicians typically work in nuclear energy production or as assistants in nuclear research.
They may use special equipment to monitor the level of radiation.
A nuclear technician’s job description typically includes monitoring the performance of the equipment used in power generation or nuclear research.
He/she may also measure the level of radiation produced by activities that involve power generation and nuclear experiments and test water, soil, and air for radioactive contamination.
Nuclear technicians may also be responsible for instructing other personnel of radiation safety and warn them of radiation hazards.
Depending on the job they do, nuclear technicians may have different job names.
Operating technicians are responsible for monitoring the performance of systems in nuclear power plants and for monitoring the level of radioactive contamination in water systems.
Radiation protection technicians protect workers in nuclear power facilities and the environment by monitoring the level of contamination.
Regardless of the place of employment, this profession also involves job hazards.
Nuclear technicians have to follow very strict safety procedures to make sure that they are not contaminated with radioactive materials.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for nuclear technicians was $82,080 in May 2019 which tells us that half of the workers in this occupation earned less than this and half earned more.
Experience, education, and the industry of employment are only some of the factors that can determine a nuclear technician’s salary.
The report shows that the top 10 percent made more than $117,480 while the lowest 10 percent earned less than $52,860 a year.
Nuclear Technician Salary by Industry
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nuclear technicians held approximately 7,600 jobs in the United States in 2018, most of them being employed in the field of electric power generation, transmission, and distribution.
The average annual salary reported by nuclear technicians employed in this field was $89,800.
The second-biggest employer for this profession was the industry of scientific research and development services, a field that paid nuclear technicians, on average, with $75,720 per year.
Nuclear technicians who worked in the field of management, scientific, and technical consulting services earned, on average, $76,020 per year.
The average annual wage reported by the nuclear technicians who worked in the industry of architectural, engineering, and related services was $82,560.
Those employed by colleges, universities, and professional schools reported an average annual wage of $61,640.
In conclusion, the biggest employer for nuclear technicians, the field of electric power generation, transmission, and distribution, is also the field that offers the highest average annual salary.
However, your earnings as a nuclear technician also depend on your education and experience.
Holding an associate’s degree in nuclear energy or a related field or having equivalent experience in the military can help you start a career as a nuclear technician but your entry-level wage will typically be closer to the minimum for this profession.
Another thing that can increase your earning prospects is earning a certificate offered by the Nuclear Energy Institute.
The American Society for Nondestructive Testing also offers certification in Industrial Radiography and for Radiation Safety Personnel.
Another institute that offers certification in this field is the National Registry of Radiation Protection Technologists; here you can apply for certification as a Registered Radiation Protection Technologist.
After earning a few years of experience your salary will increase and as a senior-level nuclear technician, you can make more than $100,000 a year.
Also, with additional experience and special training, you can become a nuclear power reactor operator at a nuclear power plant- a profession with a median wage of over $85,000.
By earning a bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering you can also become a nuclear engineer- a profession that is paid on average with more than $110,000 per year.
* Based on information from the May 2021 salary report from the BLS. The figures represent accumulated data for all states of employment for Nuclear Technicians. BLS data represents averages and medians for workers at all levels of education and experience. This data doesn't represent starting salaries.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.