Nuclear Safety Professional Development Program

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How does the program work?

The Nuclear Safety Professional Development Program (NSPDP) is an 18-month program for a select few outstanding individuals from across the nation who will enter into a career with one of the country's most progressive Federal agencies: the NRC. If selected, you will work in one of seven major training and development tracks: Management and Support, Materials, Nuclear Security, Reactor, Regional Reactor (Inspector Certification), Research or State and Tribal Programs.

The objective of this program is to provide you with a broad perspective of our operations. During the 18-month Nuclear Safety Professional Development Program, you will complete one rotational assignment of at least 90 days. An NSPDP participant will also complete training and activities that will provide an overview of agency operations and specific skills necessary to perform your job duties.

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How do I qualify?

You should have both superior academic standing and a high potential for achievement in challenging professional assignments. You may qualify either as (1) a recent graduate with a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree in

  • Engineering
  • Nuclear Physics
  • Materials Science
  • Earth Science (geology, hydrology, seismology, etc.)
  • Health Physics or
  • another academic discipline that supports the NRC's mission

Or as (2) a student who is earning an undergraduate degree (within one year of applying for our NSPDP program) in an appropriate engineering, scientific, or technical field.

NRC generally assesses applicants on the following factors:

  • Grade point average based on a 4.0 scale
  • Honors and awards received
  • Extracurricular or work-related activities
  • Interpersonal skills (written/verbal communication, listening, presentation, etc.)
  • Candidate interviews

Other than academic qualifications, an applicant must:

  • hold U.S. citizenship;
  • undergo a background investigation, as do all NRC employees; and
  • know that the NRC is a "zero-tolerance" agency with regard to illegal drug usage.

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At what pay level will I be hired?

If selected, you will be hired at one of three pay levels. Although education and experience may be combined for each grade level, usual qualifications for each grade are as follows:

  • For a GG-7, a four-year bachelor's degree in an appropriate engineering, scientific, or technical field, plus at least a 2.95 grade point average overall or a 3.5 grade point average in the major.
  • For a GG-9, a master's or equivalent degree.
  • For a GG-11, a Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree.

A candidate who successfully completes the program has promotion potential to the GG-13 pay level.

Is the salary competitive?

The salary is very competitive and a likely salary progression scenario for the next four years is located on our Web site at the Nuclear Safety Professional Development Pay Program page. Eligible selectees may receive a signing bonus (recruitment incentive) of 10% of the starting salary. To learn about other reasons to choose NRC, see our Benefits page.

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Where will I work?

Employees in the NSPDP program will work either at our headquarters in Rockville, Maryland, just outside of Washington, D.C., or in one of our four Regional Office locations: Region I, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, just outside Philadelphia; Region II, Atlanta, Georgia; Region III, Lisle, Illinois, just outside Chicago; or Region IV, Arlington, Texas, near Dallas (see our Location page).

How do I apply?

The opportunity to apply for the NSPDP typically occurs every Fall between September and mid-November, based on the agency’s needs.

The NRC job application system is integrated with USAJOBS, the official job site of the U.S. Federal Government. You can search for current job openings in USAJOBS or for more information, see How to Apply.

For more information, see our Contact Us About Employment page and select "Professional Development Programs."

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Page Last Reviewed/Updated Wednesday, July 15, 2020