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Nuclear Engineering Major

Nuclear engineering is a major that typically falls into the Engineering category.

There are 0 programs available throughout the country that offer an associate’s degree in nuclear engineering, 22 that offer a bachelor’s degree, and 31 that offer a master’s degree. There are also at least 28 schools in the nation where you can get your doctorate degree in the field.

Who Is Getting a Nuclear Engineering Degree?

This is a less frequently chosen major. Only 600 students graduated with a bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering in 2017. This major attracts more men than women. About 84.4% of the graduates in this field are male.

Racial Distribution

At the countrywide level, the racial distribution of nuclear engineering majors is as follows:

  • Asian: 5.9%
  • Black or African American: 3.9%
  • Hispanic or Latino: 8.9%
  • White: 69.3%
  • Non-Resident Alien: 6.3%
  • Other Races: 5.7%
Nuclear Engineering Majors Ethnic Diversity Statistics

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in nuclear engineering. About 6.3% of those graduating in 2017 were international students. The most popular countries sending nuclear engineering majors to the U.S. are China, Saudi Arabia and India.

What Will You Learn as a Nuclear Engineering Major?

An O*NET survey asked people with careers related to nuclear engineering to rate how important certain subject areas were to their job. The following are some of the results of that survey. Importance was rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.

Knowledge Areas for Nuclear Engineering Majors

A major in nuclear engineering should prepare you for careers in which you will need to be knowledgeable in the following areas:

Important Knowledge Areas for Nuclear Engineering Majors

Skills for Nuclear Engineering Majors

A major in nuclear engineering prepares you for careers in which the following skill-sets are crucial:

Important Skills for Nuclear Engineering Majors

Abilities for Nuclear Engineering Majors

Some of the most crucial abilities to master while a nuclear engineering student include the following:

Important Abilities for nuclear engineering Majors

What Can You Do With a Nuclear Engineering Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with nuclear engineering:

Careers Related to Nuclear Engineering
Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary

Architectural and Engineering Managers



Nuclear Engineers



Engineering Professors



Nuclear Engineering Major Salary

Nuclear engineering majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $111,000 to $149,000. This range includes all degree levels, so you may expect those with a more advanced degree to make more while those with less advanced degrees will typically make less.

To put that into context, the typical high school graduate makes between $29,000 and $57,000 a year. The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $44,000 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,000 and $120,000.

Average Salary for a Nuclear Engineering Major  ( 111000 to 149000 )
Average Salary for High School Graduate  ( 29000 to 57000 )
Average Salary with Bachelor's Degree  ( 44000 to 99000 )
Average Salary with Advanced Degree  ( 55000 to 120000 )

The area of the country you choose to work in will also affect your career and salary prospects. Getting a graduate degree may open up more options with higher salary potential.

Amount of Education Required for Nuclear Engineering Major Jobs

Some careers associated with nuclear engineering may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. Whatever the case may be, pursuing more education usually means that more career options will be available to you.

Find out what the typical degree level is for nuclear engineering careers below.

Education Levels for Careers Associated With Nuclear Engineering
Level of Education Percentage of Workers

Less Than a High School Diploma


High School Diploma or Equivalent


Post-Secondary Certificate


Some College Courses


Associate's Degree or Equivalent


Bachelor's Degree


Post-Baccalaureate Certificate


Master's Degree


Post-Master's Certificate


First Professional Degree


Doctoral Degree


Post-Doctoral Training


Online Nuclear Engineering Programs

There are 22 colleges that offer a bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering, with 0 of them offering at least some courses online.

Online learners must listen or watch video lectures, participate in group chats or forums, submit papers and assignments electronically, take tests, and meet deadlines.

Online learners benefit from being able to watch lectures remotely and complete coursework on their schedule, but they also take longer to graduate than average and are more likely to dropout.

Is a Nuclear Engineering Major Worth It?

The median salary for a nuclear engineering grad is $114,000 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 192% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $1,495,600 after 20 years!

nuclear engineering salary compared to typical high school and college graduates over a 20 year period


Bureau of Labor Statistics
National Center for Education Statistics
O*NET Online
Image Credit: Siemens Pressebild via License

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