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Career and Education Opportunities for Nuclear Engineers in Columbia, Missouri

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for nuclear engineers in the Columbia, Missouri area. The national trend for nuclear engineers sees this job pool growing by about 10.9% over the next eight years. In general, nuclear engineers conduct research on nuclear engineering problems or apply principles and theory of nuclear science to problems concerned with release, control, and utilization of nuclear energy and nuclear waste disposal.

Nuclear engineers earn about $47 hourly or $98,400 yearly on average in Missouri and about $46 per hour or $97,080 annually on average nationally. Incomes for nuclear engineers are better than in the overall category of Engineering in Missouri, and better than the overall Engineering category nationally. Jobs in this field include: radiation protection engineer, reactor engineer, and atomic process engineer.

The Columbia area is home to thirteen schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Columbia where you can get a degree as a nuclear engineer. Nuclear engineers usually hold a Bachelor's degree, so you can expect to spend about four years studying to be a nuclear engineer if you already have a high school diploma.


Nuclear Engineer video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, nuclear engineers conduct research on nuclear engineering problems or apply principles and theory of nuclear science to problems concerned with release, control, and utilization of nuclear energy and nuclear waste disposal.

Nuclear engineers keep abreast of developments and changes in the nuclear field by reading technical journals and by independent study and research. Finally, nuclear engineers monitor nuclear facility operations to pinpoint any layout or operation practices that violate safety regulations and laws or that could jeopardize the safety of operations.

Every day, nuclear engineers are expected to be able to listen to and understand others in meetings. They need to read and understand documents and reports. It is also important that they prioritize information for further consideration.

It is important for nuclear engineers to examine accidents to obtain data that can be used to lay out preventive measures. They are often called upon to write operational instructions to be used in nuclear plant operation and nuclear fuel and waste handling and disposal. They also synthesize analyses of test results, and use the results to ready technical reports of findings and recommendations. They are sometimes expected to layout and develop nuclear equipment such as reactor cores and associated instrumentation and control mechanisms. Somewhat less frequently, nuclear engineers are also expected to initiate corrective actions or order plant shutdowns in emergency situations.

They also have to be able to direct operating and maintenance efforts of operational nuclear power plants to insure efficiency and conformity to safety standards And finally, they sometimes have to synthesize analyses of test results, and use the results to ready technical reports of findings and recommendations.

Like many other jobs, nuclear engineers must be thorough and dependable and have exceptional integrity.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Columbia include:

  • Agricultural Engineer. Apply knowledge of engineering technology and biological science to agricultural problems concerned with power and machinery, electrification, structures, soil and water conservation, and processing of agricultural products.
  • Chemical Engineer. Design chemical plant equipment and devise processes for manufacturing chemicals and products, such as gasoline, synthetic rubber, and pulp, by applying principles and technology of chemistry, physics, and engineering.
  • Civil Engineer. Perform engineering duties in planning, designing, and overseeing construction and maintenance of building structures, and facilities, such as roads, railroads, airports, bridges, harbors, channels, dams, irrigation projects, pipelines, power plants, water and sewage systems, and waste disposal units. Includes architectural, structural, and geo-technical engineers.
  • Computer Engineer. Research, design, and test computer or computer-related equipment for commercial, industrial, or scientific use. May supervise the manufacturing and installation of computer or computer-related equipment and components.
  • Electrical Engineer. Design, develop, or supervise the manufacturing and installation of electrical equipment, components, or systems for commercial, industrial, or scientific use.
  • Electronics Engineer. Research, design, and test electronic components and systems for commercial, industrial, or scientific use utilizing knowledge of electronic theory and materials properties. Design electronic circuits and components for use in fields such as telecommunications, aerospace guidance and propulsion control, acoustics, or instruments and controls.
  • Equipment Engineering Technician. Apply electrical theory and related knowledge to test and modify developmental or operational electrical machinery and electrical control equipment and circuitry in industrial or commercial plants and laboratories. Usually work under direction of engineering staff.
  • Industrial Engineer. Design, develop, and evaluate integrated systems for managing industrial production processes including human work factors, quality control, inventory control, logistics and material flow, cost analysis, and production coordination.
  • Manufacturing Engineer. Apply knowledge of materials and engineering theory and methods to design, integrate, and improve manufacturing systems or related processes. May work with commercial or industrial designers to refine product designs to increase producibility and decrease costs.
  • Mechanical Engineer. Perform engineering duties in planning and designing tools, engines, and other mechanically functioning equipment. Oversee installation, operation, and repair of such equipment as centralized heat, gas, and steam systems.


University of Missouri-Columbia - Columbia, MO

University of Missouri-Columbia, 105 Jesse Hall, Columbia, MO 65211. University of Missouri-Columbia is a large university located in Columbia, Missouri. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 30,130 students and an admission rate of 85%. University of Missouri-Columbia has a master's degree and a doctor's degree program in Nuclear Engineering which graduated nineteen and four students respectively in 2008.


Registered Radiation Protection Technologist: A Radiation Protection Technologist is a person engaged in providing radiation protection to the radiation worker, the general public, and the environment from the effects of ionizing radiation.

For more information, see the National Registry of Radiation Protection Technologists website.



Columbia, Missouri
Columbia, Missouri photo by Grey_Wanderer

Columbia is situated in Boone County, Missouri. It has a population of over 100,733, which has grown by 19.2% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Columbia, 85, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Columbia are valued at $171,800 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, three hundred thirty-five new homes were constructed in Columbia, down from six hundred fifty-three the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Columbia are educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is educational services, accommodation and food services, and health care. The average travel time to work is about 15 minutes. More than 50.5% of Columbia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 24.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Columbia is 6.8%, which is less than Missouri's average of 8.9%.

The percentage of Columbia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 40.9%, is less than both the national and state average. Sugar Grove Church, Fairview Church and Emmanuel Church are among the churches located in Columbia. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

Columbia is home to the Columbia Country Club and the Columbia Plaza as well as Nickell Park and Stephens Park. Shopping centers in the area include Whitegate Shopping Center, North County Shopping Center and Biscayne Mall. Visitors to Columbia can choose from Churchill's, Columbia Super 8 Motel and Arrow Head Motel LLC for temporary stays in the area.