More Information

Responsibilities

Responsibilities depend on your specialization.

Surface Warfare Officer (Nuclear)

Aircraft carriers are at the core of our national defense strategy because of their ability to project Naval superiority to any location in the world. Nuclear Surface Warfare Officers ensure that Sailors in their department maintain and operate the ship’s complex reactor and power generation systems safely and efficiently.

Surface Warfare Officers form the backbone of fleet leadership. Prior to a tour aboard an aircraft carrier, you will sail in the conventional fleet of cruisers and destroyers conducting missions vital to national security, visiting foreign ports around the globe and leading talented Sailors and officers while completing initial qualifications. Your responsibilities could include:

  • Directing personnel operations aboard Navy vessels, including aircraft carriers
  • Managing shipboard vertical launch systems
  • Using high-tech weaponry and advanced technology in battle and ship defense
  • Providing support to Navy expeditionary forces, Theater Missile Defense operations, anti-submarine warfare, surface-to-air warfare and support and supply missions

Nuclear Submarine Officer

Submarine Officers are involved in all aspects of submarine operations from supervising the reactor plant to running the ship both in port and at sea. You could be in charge of any of the following:

  • Operating a nuclear reactor, power generation and propulsion systems
  • Maintaining onboard weapons systems
  • Managing all life support systems
  • Driving the ship and charting its position
  • Operating sonar, radar, fire control, communications and specialized mission equipment

Naval Reactors Engineer

Naval Reactors Engineers have oversight of the Navy's entire fleet of nuclear powered ships as well as shore-based prototypes and nuclear propulsion support facilities for America’s Navy. The wide array of technical areas involved in the Naval Nuclear Propulsion program include:

  • Reactor and fluid systems design
  • Reactor physics
  • Materials development
  • Component design such as steam generators, pumps and valves
  • Instrumentation and control of reactor, steam and electric plants
  • Testing and quality control
  • Shielding
  • Chemistry and radiological controls

As a Navy Engineering Officer stationed at Naval Reactors Headquarters in Washington, DC, you will provide technical oversight while managing projects ranging from reactor design to fleet operations to de-fueling and decommissioning warships.

Nuclear Power School Instructor

Nuclear Power School Instructors teach officers and enlisted personnel the theories and fundamentals behind the design and operation of Navy nuclear reactors and power plants. These teachers are essential in preparing servicemembers for their work in the fast-paced and competitive nuclear power field.

Naval Nuclear Power School is a 24-week course of instruction in science, technology and power plant operations designed to provide theoretical background knowledge of nuclear power. Areas of instruction include:

  • Physics, Chemistry, Algebra and Calculus
  • Heat Transfer and Fluid Dynamics
  • Reactor Theory
  • Mechanical and Electrical Systems Design
  • Radiological Controls and Health Physics

Nuclear Power Training Unit Instructor

Nuclear Power Training Unit Instructors provide hands-on training and direct oversight to nuclear-trained officers and enlisted personnel while operating a nuclear reactor. They are essential in ensuring the safe operation of shore-based nuclear power plants and in preparing the officers and enlisted personnel for their future in the nuclear power field.

Naval Nuclear Power Training Unit is a 26-week course of instruction spent applying the knowledge of nuclear power plant operations in order to attain certification as a nuclear operator. Areas of instruction include:

  • Reactor start-up, steady-state operations and shutdown
  • Chemistry analysis and control
  • Maintenance review and approval
  • Casualty response
  • Reactor safeguard systems

Surface Warfare Officer (Nuclear)

There are no part-time jobs available for this career track.

Nuclear Submarine Officer

There are no part-time jobs available for this career track.

Naval Reactors Engineer

There are no part-time jobs available for this career track.

Nuclear Power School Instructor

There are no part-time jobs available for this career track.

Nuclear Power Training Unit Instructor

There are no part-time jobs available for this career track.

Work Environment

Surface Warfare Officer (Nuclear)

Nuclear Surface Warfare Officers are exposed to a variety of different work environments, from academic settings, to training on prototype units, to sea tours and shore assignments. The time spent on conventional ships and nuclear-powered aircraft carriers involves deployments of several months at a time. Fully-qualified members may go on to hold positions that involve instructing, advising, consulting, recruiting or commanding surface ships in addition to time spent operating nuclear reactors aboard aircraft carriers.

Nuclear Submarine Officer

Submarine Officers are exposed to a variety of different work environments, from academic classroom settings, to training on prototype units, to sea tours and shore assignments. Deployments on Navy submarines last a few to several months and include conducting missions vital to national security.  Learn more about life on a sub.

Naval Reactors Engineer

Preliminary training and eventual staff assignments center around Naval Reactors headquarters at the Navy Yard in Washington, DC. At headquarters you will be a part of a stream-lined, elite staff of roughly 500 people who oversee the entire Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program from cradle-to-grave.

Even junior level Naval Reactors Engineers assume responsibility for key technical work in a variety of state-of-the-art facilities, including:

  • Two Department of Energy laboratories
  • Two nuclear prototype/training sites
  • Nearly 100 nuclear-powered ships and submarines
  • Six shipyards
  • More than 1,000 firms that support the Naval Reactors Program

Nuclear Power School Instructor

Serving at Naval Nuclear Power School (NNPS) in Charleston, SC, you’ll work in an academic setting for up to 5 years. You will study the same curriculum that you eventually teach and facilitate the same collaborative learning environment that you first experienced in your own training. In this demanding environment you will teach, mentor and lead students through a difficult course of instruction both inside and outside the classroom. Much of the curriculum is highly classified and demands the utmost discretion.

Nuclear Power Training Unit Instructor

Serving at Naval Nuclear Power Training Unit (NPTU) in Charleston, SC, you’ll work in a unique environment combining classroom instruction and self-paced study with real-world operations. Much of your work will take place in the nuclear power plant of a moored submarine, providing valuable hands-on training. You will study the same curriculum taught to the Submarine and Surface Warfare Officers and then go on to teach it, facilitating the same collaborative learning environment that you first experienced in your own training. This assignment requires dedicated leaders committed to the success of their students. The curriculum is highly classified and demands the utmost discretion.

Surface Warfare Officer (Nuclear)

There are no part-time jobs available for this career track.

Nuclear Submarine Officer

There are no part-time jobs available for this career track.

Naval Reactors Engineer

There are no part-time jobs available for this career track.

Nuclear Power School Instructor

There are no part-time jobs available for this career track.

Nuclear Power Training Unit Instructor

There are no part-time jobs available for this career track.

Training & Advancement

Surface Warfare Officer (Nuclear)

Upon graduation from college, the formal training process of becoming an officer in the Naval Nuclear Propulsion program is officially underway. For those going the Surface Warfare Officer (Nuclear) route, the first step is Officer Candidate School (OCS) – a 12-week course of instruction in Newport, RI, that is tailored to train and prepare college graduates to commission as Unrestricted Line Officers in the Navy.

Following OCS, newly-commissioned Ensigns serve their first sea tour as a Division Officer on a conventional ship, commanding a team of Sailors responsible for everything from electronics to weapons to engineering systems. Here, officers work towards their Surface Warfare Officer qualification on a tour that lasts approximately 18 months.

After their first sea tour, officers will attend Naval Nuclear Power School (NNPS) in Charleston, SC. This 24-week graduate-level course of intensive study covers a variety of science and technology-based subjects, from calculus to thermodynamics to reactor dynamics. NNPS provides the foundational knowledge necessary for a theoretical understanding of nuclear propulsion.

Next comes Nuclear Power Training Unit (NPTU), often referred to as Prototype, in either Charleston, SC, or Ballston Spa, NY. This 26-week course of instruction involves hands-on training with several operational reactor prototypes. Here, officers apply the concepts learned at Nuclear Power School – studying systems and components of a nuclear propulsion plant and working with all the associated systems of a full-scale operating plant. The training culminates with qualification as Engineering Officer of the Watch.

Following nuclear power training, officers are assigned as a Division Officer in the engineering plant of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.

After completing their sea tours, Surface Warfare Officers may fill positions anywhere from Nuclear Power School and Prototype to other jobs ashore. They may be selected to serve on high-level staffs, work on strategic projects, or further their education by taking advantage of the many graduate school opportunities the Navy has to offer. The ultimate goal for many: to one day command their own surface ship.

Nuclear Submarine Officer

Submarine Officers must complete specific qualifications as part of their training during fleet tours and are expected to pursue advanced education opportunities. Promotion opportunities are regularly available but competitive and based on performance. It’s also important to note that specialized training received and work experience gained in the course of service can lead to valuable credentialing and occupational opportunities in related fields.

Upon graduation from college, the formal training process of becoming an officer in the Naval Nuclear Propulsion program is officially underway. For those going the Submarine Officer route, the first step is Officer Candidate School (OCS) – a 12-week course of instruction in Newport, RI, that is tailored to train and prepare college graduates to commission as Unrestricted Line Officers in the Navy.

Upon completion of OCS, newly commissioned Ensigns move on to receive the advanced training that is at the core of Navy Nuclear Propulsion, starting with Naval Nuclear Power School (NNPS) in Charleston, SC. This 24-week graduate-level course of intensive study covers a variety of science and technology-based subjects from calculus, to thermodynamics to reactor dynamics. NNPS provides the foundational knowledge necessary for a theoretical understanding of nuclear propulsion.

From there, Submarine Officers attend Nuclear Power Training Unit (NPTU), often referred to as Prototype, in either Charleston, SC, or Ballston Spa, NY. This 26-week course of instruction involves hands-on training with several operational reactor prototypes. Here, officers apply the concepts learned at Nuclear Power School – studying systems and components of a nuclear propulsion plant and working with all the associated systems of a full-scale operating plant. The training culminates with qualification as Engineering Officer of the Watch.

Next comes the Submarine Officer Basic Course (SOBC), a 12-week course of instruction located in Groton, CT. There, officers learn all about submarine operations, including safety, damage control, seamanship and sonar systems along with the responsibilities of leading an advanced submarine crew as a division officer before reporting to an assigned submarine.

The roughly 15 months of shore-based training ends with an assignment as a Division Officer on a submarine, managing a team of highly trained Enlisted Submariners. Officers work toward a rigorous submarine qualification program that culminates in being designated as “Qualified in Submarines,” earning the right to wear the coveted Gold Dolphins insignia and take on all the responsibilities that go with it. Typically, this is a 32-month tour alternating between deployments, patrols, various ports of call around the world, as well as periods of time at home port conducting maintenance, training, local operations or taking leave.

After the first sea tour comes a shore assignment lasting approximately two years. During this period, officers fill positions anywhere from Nuclear Power School to Prototype to Submarine School. They may be selected to serve on high-level staffs or strategic projects, or further their education by taking advantage of the many graduate school opportunities the Navy has to offer. The ultimate goal for many is to one day command their own submarine.

Naval Reactors Engineer

Upon graduation from college, the formal training process of becoming an officer in the Naval Nuclear Propulsion program is officially underway. For those pursuing a Naval Reactors Engineer position, the first step is Officer Development School (ODS) – a 5-week course of instruction in Newport, RI, that provides a comprehensive and intense introduction to the responsibilities of being a Naval Officer.

Upon completion of ODS, newly commissioned Ensigns move on to receive initial training at Naval Reactors Headquarters in Washington, DC (9 weeks of instruction) and Nuclear Power Training Unit (2 weeks of instruction) that form the basis for more advanced academic work. Officers then attend Bettis Reactor Engineering School (BRES), a 6-month postgraduate-level education in nuclear engineering at Naval Nuclear Labs just outside Pittsburgh, PA. This is followed by approximately three weeks spent gaining a working background at one of the Navy’s shipyards in either Newport News, VA or Bremerton, WA.

Following the training pipeline, Naval Reactors Engineers are then assigned a Nuclear Engineer position with the group responsible for managing all technical aspects of the Naval Nuclear Propulsion program—reviewing, approving and confirming the design, operation and maintenance of nearly 100 nuclear reactors. Continuing education is required for the next six months as Engineers start in a junior role under a supervisor and rapidly advance to take on increasing responsibilities and complete their 5-year commitment.

Nuclear Power School Instructor

Upon graduation from college, the formal training process of becoming an officer in the Naval Nuclear Propulsion program is officially underway. For those pursuing a Nuclear Power School Instructor position, the first step is Officer Development School (ODS) – a 5-week course of instruction in Newport, RI, that provides a comprehensive and intense introduction to the responsibilities of being a Naval Officer.

After ODS, prospective Nuclear Power School Instructors move on to Naval Nuclear Power School (NNPS) in Charleston, SC. This 24-week graduate-level course of intensive study covers a variety of science and technology-based subjects, from calculus to thermodynamics to reactor dynamics. While at NNPS, these prospective instructors assume an intense workload focused on the subjects they will eventually teach. Subjects range from mathematics and physics to thermodynamics and electrical engineering.

Upon completion of NNPS, the student becomes the teacher. Nuclear Power School Instructors then take the lead in administering the advanced curriculum, working closely with both the officer and enlisted personnel who come through their classrooms. Promotion opportunities are regularly available during the first years of service, but become competitive and based on performance after promotion to Lieutenant. It's also important to note that specialized training received and work experience gained in the course of service can lead to valuable credentialing and occupational opportunities in related fields.

Nuclear Power Training Unit Instructor

Upon graduation from college, the formal training process of becoming an officer in the Naval Nuclear Propulsion program is officially underway. For those pursuing a Nuclear Power Training Unit Instructor position, the first step is Officer Development School (ODS) – a 5-week course of instruction in Newport, RI, that provides a comprehensive and intense introduction to the responsibilities of being a Naval Officer.

Upon completion of ODS, newly commissioned officers move on to receive the advanced training that is at the core of Navy Nuclear Propulsion, starting with Naval Nuclear Power School (NNPS) in Charleston, SC. This 24-week graduate-level course of intensive study covers a variety of science and technology-based subjects, from calculus to thermodynamics to reactor dynamics. NNPS provides the foundation of knowledge necessary for a theoretical understanding of nuclear propulsion.

From there, Nuclear Power Training Unit Instructors attend additional training at their ultimate duty station, Nuclear Power Training Unit (NPTU), often referred to as Prototype, in Charleston, SC. This 26-week course involves hands-on training with several operational reactor prototypes. Here, officers apply the concepts learned at Nuclear Power School – studying systems and components of a nuclear propulsion plant and working with all the associated systems of a full-scale operating plant. The training culminates with qualification as Engineering Officer of the Watch.

Upon completion of training at NPTU, the student becomes the teacher. Nuclear Power Training Unit Instructors then take the lead, working closely with both officer and enlisted personnel. Promotion opportunities are regularly available during the first years of service, but become competitive and based on performance after promotion to Lieutenant. It's also important to note that specialized training received and work experience gained in the course of service can lead to valuable credentialing and occupational opportunities in related fields.

Post-Service Opportunities

With any of these career paths, you will have incredible post-service prospects. The highly-selective nature of the program combined with world-class advanced training and qualifications means your skills and knowledge are in high demand. Adding "Navy Nuke" to your list of accomplishments will make you a top candidate for a variety of future careers including civilian engineering and management jobs after you complete your service.

Surface Warfare Officer (Nuclear)

There are no part-time jobs available for this career track.

Nuclear Submarine Officer

There are no part-time jobs available for this career track.

Naval Reactors Engineer

There are no part-time jobs available for this career track.

Nuclear Power School Instructor

There are no part-time jobs available for this career track.

Nuclear Power Training Unit Instructor

There are no part-time jobs available for this career track.

Education Opportunities

For current undergraduate students who meet the prerequisite background – especially those pursuing preferred majors such as mathematics, engineering, physics or chemistry – there’s all of the above to look forward to – plus the chance to get paid while finishing school through the Nuclear Propulsion Officer Candidate (NUPOC) program.

Surface Warfare Officer (Nuclear)

If accepted into the NUPOC program as an aspiring Surface Warfare Officer (Nuclear), you can:

  • Receive a salary in excess of $4,000 per month for up to 30 months prior to your college graduation   
  • Receive an immediate one-time sign-on bonus of $15,000 plus an additional $2,000 bonus upon completion of nuclear propulsion training
  • Enjoy military health-care benefits while you are a student in the program

Interested candidates should contact a local recruiter to discuss the opportunity to participate in a fleet visit to see if this career is right for you. The fleet visit is an all-expenses paid 3-day trip to San Diego, CA, to visit an active surface ship and meet with currently serving Surface Warfare Officers. These trips are conducted every month and there is no obligation to join the program in order to attend.

Nuclear Submarine Officer

If accepted into the NUPOC program as an aspiring Submarine Officer, you can:

  • Receive a salary in excess of $4,000 per month for up to 30 months prior to your college graduation
  • Receive an immediate one-time sign-on bonus of $15,000 plus an additional $2,000 bonus upon completion of nuclear propulsion training
  • Enjoy military health-care benefits while you are a student in the program

Interested candidates should contact a local recruiter to discuss the opportunity to participate in a fleet visit to see if this career is right for you. The fleet visit is an all-expenses paid 3-day trip to San Diego, CA, to visit an active submarine and meet with currently serving Submarine Officers. These trips are conducted every month and there is no obligation to join the program in order to attend.

Naval Reactor Engineer

If accepted into the NUPOC program as an aspiring Naval Reactors Engineer, you can:

  • Receive a salary in excess of $4,000 per month for up to 18 months prior to your college graduation 
  • Receive an immediate one-time sign-on bonus of $15,000
  • Enjoy military health-care benefits while you are a student in the program

Interested candidates should contact a local recruiter to discuss the opportunity to participate in a Naval Reactors visit to see if this career is right for you. The visit is an all-expenses paid 3-day trip to the Navy Yard in Washington, DC, to visit with currently serving Naval Reactor Engineers. These trips are conducted twice a year and there is no obligation to join the program in order to attend.

Nuclear Power School Instructor

If accepted into the NUPOC program as an aspiring Naval Nuclear Power School Instructor, you can:

  • Receive a salary in excess of $4,000 per month for up to 30 months prior to your college graduation 
  • Enjoy military health-care benefits while you are a student in the program

Interested candidates should contact a local recruiter to discuss the opportunity to participate in a Nuclear Power Instructor visit to see if this career is right for you. The visit is an all-expenses paid 3-day trip to Nuclear Power School and Prototype in Charleston, SC, to visit with currently serving staff and instructors. These trips are conducted three times a year and there is no obligation to join the program in order to attend.

Nuclear Power Training Unit Instructor

If accepted into the NUPOC program as an aspiring Naval Nuclear Power Training Unit Instructor, you can:

  • Receive a salary in excess of $4,000 per month for up to 30 months prior to your college graduation 
  • Enjoy military health-care benefits while you are a student in the program

Interested candidates should contact a local recruiter to discuss the opportunity to participate in a Nuclear Power Instructor visit to see if this career is right for you. The visit is an all-expenses paid 3-day trip to Nuclear Power School and Prototype in Charleston, SC, to visit with currently serving personnel and instructors. These trips are conducted three times a year and there is no obligation to join the program in order to attend.

Postgraduate Education Opportunities

Regardless of career path, once you’re out of school you’ll have a position waiting as a respected professional and officer affiliated with the most accomplished nuclear program on earth. Beyond undergraduate and formal Navy training and education, you can pursue additional graduate education by:

  • Pursuing opportunities at institutions such as Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) or Navy War College (NWC)
  • Completing Joint Professional Military Education (JPME) at one of the various service colleges

There are also opportunities to pursue international and federal certifications, as well as state nuclear licensures.

Surface Warfare Officer (Nuclear)

There are no part-time jobs available for this career track.

Nuclear Submarine Officer

There are no part-time jobs available for this career track.

Naval Reactors Engineer

There are no part-time jobs available for this career track.

Nuclear Power School Instructor

There are no part-time jobs available for this career track.

Nuclear Power Training Unit Instructor

There are no part-time jobs available for this career track.

Qualifications & Requirements

Because of the demanding nature of Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program and the magnitude of the responsibilities members will take on from a young age, requirements to become a candidate and join NUPOC are stringent.

The NUPOC program is open to both men and women. The following program qualification criteria apply.

Age And Health

To be an eligible candidate, you must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen (dual citizens must renounce non-US citizenship)
  • Be at least 19 years of age and less than 29 years of age at the time of commissioning—waivers up to 35 years of age for select jobs may be available
  • Meet the physical standards of the Navy

Education

Candidates must be graduates or students of an accredited college or university in the United States or in a United States territory pursuing a BA, BS or MS (preferably major in mathematics, engineering, physics, chemistry or other technical areas). Those still in school may apply as early as 30 months from completion of an undergraduate degree for Surface Warfare (Nuclear), Submarine, and Instructor positions and as early as 18 months from completion of an undergraduate degree for Naval Reactors Engineers. Applicants may also join the NUPOC program as early as 12 months from completion of a master's degree for all NUPOC positions. Additional academic requirements include:

  • Completed one academic year of calculus
  • Completed one academic year of calculus-based physics
  • A competitive GPA and a minimum grade of "B" in all technical courses (minimum grade of "C" in all technical courses for Nuclear Submarine Officer and Nuclear Surface Warfare Officer candidates)

Learn more about the NUPOC program.

General qualifications may vary depending upon whether you intend to serve Active Duty or Reserve Duty and whether you are currently servinghave served before or have never served before.

Surface Warfare Officer (Nuclear)

There are no part-time jobs available for this career track.

Nuclear Submarine Officer

There are no part-time jobs available for this career track.

Naval Reactors Engineer

There are no part-time jobs available for this career track.

Nuclear Power School Instructor

There are no part-time jobs available for this career track.

Nuclear Power Training Unit Instructor

There are no part-time jobs available for this career track.