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Superior Training and Opportunity

Navy Nuclear Power Program

Updated: July 7, 2017

Members of the Navy Nuclear Power Program (NF) receive an excellent education via extensive classroom, on-the-job training, and practical application and qualification process that is second to none in the armed forces. Navy “Nukes” become propulsion plant operators for both the nuclear submarine and nuclear surface ship operational and support programs.

Basically, to qualify for the NF program, you must meet regular enlistment eligibility plus have a “traditional” state-accredited high school diploma, have successfully completed one year of high school or college level algebra, and pass an additional academic review that may be required. You must be a United States citizen and be younger than 25 years of age by your shipping date to recruiting training. You must also meet the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB)/Navy Advanced Program testing requirements.┬áPrior drug usage and police involvement, where not necessarily disqualifying, will make entering the program difficult – see your Recruiter, as some things can be waived for outstanding candidates.

Once your time in the Delayed Entry Program is completed and you graduate boot-camp, you will immediately start the NF pipeline, moving from one phase of training to the next, without undue delay. The normal training cycle is:

  1. Recruit Training (Great Lakes, IL).
  2. Nuclear Power School (NPS) in Charleston, SC, where they learn theory and practical application of nuclear physics and reactor engineering. Following NPS, candidates begin prototype training in their rating specialty at one of two Nuclear Power Training Units (NPTUs). After nuclear power training, NF Sailors are designated nuclear propulsion plant operators. They may be assigned to modern nuclear powered aircraft carriers or volunteer for submarine service (men only).
    MACHINIST’S MATE NUCLEAR FIELD “A” SCHOOL – This course provides basic knowledge of technical mathematics and a basic understanding of the theory and operation of a steam power plant. Students learn to operate tools, test equipment, and system components; read blueprints; practice rigging techniques; and perform maintenance procedures such as packing a valve or aligning a pump coupling.
    ELECTRICIAN’S MATE NUCLEAR FIELD “A” SCHOOL – This course provides basic knowledge of technical mathematics and a basic understanding of power distribution. Students solve basic equations using phasors, vector notations and basic trigonometry and analyze DC and AC circuits. Students demonstrate working knowledge of DC and AC motors and generators. Students learn to operate electrical equipment using controllers, and to properly test, maintain, troubleshoot, and repair electrical circuits, motors, cables, circuit breakers, and other related electrical equipment for power distribution.
    ELECTRONICS TECHNICIAN NUCLEAR FIELD “A” SCHOOL – This course provides basic knowledge of technical mathematics and a good working knowledge of electricity and electronics, solid state devices, digital logic and systems, microprocessors, and instrumentation and control circuits. Students learn to interpret schematic diagrams and use appropriate test equipment to isolate and correct faults in electronic systems.
  3. Basic Nuclear Power Course at Nuclear Power School (Charleston, SC). This course provides a comprehensive understanding of a pressurized-water Naval nuclear power plant, including reactor core nuclear principles, heat transfer and fluid systems, plant chemistry and materials, mechanical and electrical systems, and radiological control.
  4. Nuclear Propulsion Plant Operator Course at Nuclear Power Training Unit (Ballston Spa, NY or Charleston, SC). This course provides knowledge of the fundamentals of a Naval nuclear power plant and the interrelationship of its mechanical, electrical, and reactor subsystems. Students develop oral communications skills. Students understand the physical nature of nuclear radiation, its detection, interaction with matter and human health consequences, and gain knowledge of the safe operation of a complex Naval nuclear power plant and its sophisticated subsystems with an emphasis on basic industrial safety principles. Students learn to identify, troubleshoot, and correct problems in nuclear mechanical, electrical, or reactor control systems at the component level with an emphasis on reactor systems, and apply earlier technical classroom knowledge gained to the practical safe operation of Naval nuclear power plants. Officers are given the broadest understanding of the plant subsystems, and are taught command skills to effectively lead the watch team in the safe operation of a Naval nuclear power plant. Selected graduates of mechanical operator training are given additional training as Engineering Laboratory Technicians (ELT) or Propulsion Plant Operator Welders.
  5. Duty Assignment. After prototype training, nuclear propulsion plant operators are assigned to duty per the needs of the Navy.

You will enter the Navy as an E-3 and be automatically promoted to E-4 (Third Class Petty Officer) at the completion of your “A” school phase. Promotion to E-4 requires you sign an enlistment extension – the NF program is a six year obligation basically broken down as; four years of a basic enlistment PLUS one year extension for the amount of schooling and a sixth year for the promotion to E-4 (hope that makes sense). Navy Nukes also receive special duty assignment pay which can range from $150 to $450 a month, proficiency pay up to $150 a month and not to mention sea pay while stationed on a sea going command (plus submarine pay if you decide to go on boats that sink on purpose). My little pay snapshot does not include housing and allowance for subsistence which you may also be eligible for.

Nuclear Navy Occupational Specialty (NOS) Code descriptions

Electronics Technicians (Nuclear); Surface, NOS D111; Submarine, NOS D110.
Nuke ETs operate and maintain Naval Nuclear propulsion plants and associated equipment. They supervise and administer Naval Nuclear propulsion plant operations, and thoroughly understand reactor, electrical, and mechanical theory involved in the operation of the nuclear reactor, steam plant, propulsion plant, and auxiliary equipment. They posses a detailed knowledge of reactor and steam plant chemistry and radiological controls, and operate and perform organizational and intermediate maintenance on electronic equipment used for reactor control, instrumentation, measurement, alarm warning, power distribution, protection and airborne particulate radiation detection. The Nuke ETs operate General Purpose Test Equipment (GEPTE) and auxiliary equipment. They test, calibrate, maintain, and repair electronic and hydraulic-electric systems that support reactor plant operation on both surface and sub surface ships.
Machinist’s Mates (Nuclear); Surface, NOS D131; Submarine, NOS D130.
Nuke MMs operate and maintain Naval Nuclear propulsion plants and associated equipment. They supervise and administer naval nuclear propulsion plant operations, and thoroughly understand reactor, electrical, and mechanical theory involved in the operation of the nuclear reactor, steam plant, propulsion plant, and auxiliary equipment. They posses a detailed knowledge of reactor and steam plant chemistry and radiological controls. Nuke MMs operate, maintain, and repair (organizational and intermediate level) ship propulsion machinery, auxiliary equipment, and outside machinery, such as: air compressors, distilling plants, propulsion turbines, electric power generation turbines, shaft line components, and air conditioning equipment. Nuke MMs operate and maintain propulsion plant systems (organizational and intermediate level) such as feed and condensate, steam, hydraulic, seawater systems, air, potable water, lubricating oil and oil purification, reactor auxiliary and support systems, pumps, valves, and heat exchangers. They perform tests, transfers, and inventory of lubricating oils, fuels, and water, and generate and stow industrial gases on both surface and sub-surface ships.
Electrician’s Mate (Nuclear); Surface, NOS D101; Submarine, NOS D100.
Nuke EMs operate and maintain Naval Nuclear propulsion plants and associated equipment. They supervise and administer Naval Nuclear propulsion plant operations, and thoroughly understand reactor, electrical, and mechanical theory involved in the operation of the nuclear reactor, steam plant, propulsion plant, and auxiliary equipment. They posses a detailed knowledge of reactor and steam plant chemistry and radiological controls. Nuke EMs stand watch on generators, switchboards, control equipment, and electrical equipment, and they operate and perform organizational and intermediate maintenance on power and lighting circuits, electrical fixtures, motors, generators, voltage and frequency regulators, controllers, distribution switchboards and other electrical equipment; test for short circuits and grounds; and rebuild electrical equipment, including solid state circuitry elements.

Career Sea – Shore Rotation Chart

Sea (SEA) Shore (SHR) Rotation
NJSI* 48 40 40 40 36/36
JSI* 40 40 40 40
NJSI* 36 36 36 36
JSI* 30 36 36 36
Sea/Shore Flow per NAVADMIN 284/15 released 101615Z DEC 15

*JSI = Junior Staff Instructor; NJSI = Non-Junior Staff Instructor

Sea tours and shore tours for Sailors that have completed four sea tours will be 36 months at sea followed by 36 ashore until retirement.

Sailors in nuclear power trained communities will have a 54-month first sea tour and 60-month second sea tour. Sailors who advance to Chief Petty Officer before or during their second sea tour may have their second sea tour length adjusted to 48 months.

With the lure of well paying jobs beckoning those with Navy nuclear power training, you can image that keeping the rating manned up can be a challenge. The Navy, in order to entice Sailors to stay in past their initial enlistment, normally provides a reenlistment bonus to stay a Navy Nuke. Got what it takes?

82 Responses to “Navy Nuclear Power Program”

  1. Katie G says:

    Thanks for this! It’s nice to know what he has had to go through :)

  2. Paul W. says:

    Very intense program. I’m extremely proud of my Sailor for sucessfully completing this program and for receiving the US Navy and Marine Corps. Acheivement Medal for Outstanding Professional Acheivement in the Reactor Division aboard the USS Enterprise (CVN 65)”The First, The Finest, The Big E”.

  3. Jon says:

    Heckava change from 20 yrs ago. Nice!

  4. Kellen says:

    I am currently thinking about joining the Navy’s Nuclear Power Program. Does anyone have any tips or advice that can help me make a good informed decision?

  5. NCCM(ret) says:


    The Navy Nuclear Program is very challenging academically. Many will tell you not to enter the program because of the amount of stress you will experience working in a zero defect world; however, for those that do successfully complete a tour, the education and work ethic they amass becomes a very marketable commodity in civilian life.

    My oldest son graduates law school at the end of this semester, he attributes a lot of his success in college to the things he learned as a Nuke; likewise, my middle son is simultaneously completing a physics and a computer science degree at a major university – much of his success can be attributed to the things he learned as a Nuke.

    Both of them completed a tour as a Navy Nuke.

  6. wdon2012 says:


    I can certainly recommend the Navy Nuclear program, having completed a tour myself in the mid-1970s. My class number was 7603 (the third class in fiscal year 1976). If I, a relatively unmotivated and sub-average performing high school student with a final GPA of about 2.0 at best, could do it then I suspect you can too. The only unknown is the level of your motivation – how bad do you want it?

    Its been a long, long time, and I’m sure the modern process is slightly different that what I did, but here’s what it was like for me.

    After boot camp in San Diego 9~10 weeks), “A” school near Chicago (self paced – think I took 3 months or so and I dragged it out as long as I could because I had the opportunity to hang out with a group of college girls ….:)), and a few months on a conventionally powered ship, the Navy sent me to a 6 week “pre-school” to focus on bringing my math, chemistry, physics and general study skills up to par. That wasn’t too bad – because at this point I was motivated. I wanted to succeed at this program.

    After preschool, then we hit what was then called Nuclear Power School, or NPS for short. I went to NPS in California (no longer an option for you). Personally, I found the NPS the hardest part of the process. I was assigned to one of 14 “sections” – basically a “home room” with 30-40 other young men. In those days, sections numbers reflected the test scores and estimated aptitude of the sailors in that section. Section 14 was for those that were brilliant, naturally smart, and for whom academic performance had always come easy (the rest of us were very jealous!). I was assigned to Section 7 or 8 as I recall, and I had a roommate in section 1 and a good friend in section 12. All of us (section 1, section 8, and section 12 – graduated and went on to successful careers in the nuclear navy or some other pursuit). We listened to classroom lectures for 40 hours a week. After that, we did homework, studied for exams, etc. Each week we took a tough written exam on the material we had covered. Don’t recall now but I think we also had “mid-terms” at about the 3 month mark (NPS lasted 6 months total) and final exams as well. We spent many hours on evenings and weekends studying – but not every waking hour as you might fear.

    NPS was hard, and I’m glad it was. Being honest – we worked our butts off. But the quality of that school, and the marketability value of men and women who successfully complete it, is world renowned – regardless of your chosen career. And, we did manage to still have some fun! Navy didn’t care, as long as we stayed out of trouble, got to where we needed to be when we needed to be there, and were making satisfactory progress in class. When I screwed up, got lazy, and flunked one test – I got personal, mandatory assistance from my instructor. The Navy wasn’t about to let its significant investment in me go to waste without a good fight!

    After NPS, I was sent to the Idaho desert to complete “prototype” training. (Again, Idaho is no longer an option for you). There, over the next 6 months, I learned how to operate a nuclear propulsion plant, how to complete a very rigorous qualification program, how to stand watches and respond to emergencies or casualites. This was the “hands on” portion of the training.

    After prototype, I volunteered and was selected to complete an additional 3 months of specialized training as an Engineering Laboratory Technician (ELT) – which equipped me with the special skill set I would need to manage radioactive materials, monitor radiation exposure, and conduct chemical analyses on the reactor coolant and related secondary water systems.

    I was one of very few (in that day) that requested assignemnt to an aircraft carrier. (Most guys preferred submarine duty). I was sent to the USS Enterprise – at that time the only nuclear powered aircraft carrier in the world – where I spent the next four years.

    I served a total of only 6 years between 1975 and 1981, but many I served with extended for 7, 8, or 20 – 30 year enlistments. While they were paid handsomely for that, I wanted to go a different way. I used the GI Bill to pay my way through college, where I studied Mechanical Engineering at the University of Washington. I started college at age 24 and graduated at 28, and I am absolutely convinced I would never had made it through college without the benefit of my Navy nuclear experience. Not that we studied nuclear technology much in my mechanical engineering classes, but I had a very sound basis in heat transfer and fluid flow, in physics and chemistry and math and general science, and most important – I had learned how to study. Just as important, I had taken advantage of and enjoyed the opportunity to explore at someone else’s expense, to see some of the world (Hong Kong, the Philippine Islands, Singapore, Okinawa, Hawaii, to name a few ports), experience things that I will never forgot – both good and bad – and I grew up a lot.

    Since earning my Bachelors degree in 1984 I have worked as a Mechanical Engineer, a Nuclear Engineer, and a General Engineer and earned registration as a professional engineer. I currently pull down a 6 digit salary, with very good benefits, and am starting to think seriously about my retirement after 34 years of working. My wife and I were able to raise 6 children to adulthood on my salary (and if they would listen to me I would encourage all my kids to go through the Navy nuclear program). I am convinced I would not likely be in this position today without my Navy nuclear experience.

    Did I gripe about it then – when I was active duty? You bet I did. I was young, proud, stubborn, and smart (or at elast I thought I was – convinced I knew better than anyone else how to do whatever it was I was tasked to do). I’ve since wised up, as most of us tend to do as we age.

    Hope this helps. I wish you the best as you contemplate this decision. You are wise to ask for insight, because this program is not one you should enter lightly. It is hard, and you will know you have worked when you complete all the training and attain full qualificaiton on your eventual ship or submarine. But if you do complete it, you can and will be proud of yourself – justifiably so.

  7. Benjamin says:

    Hey, I’m taking the qualifying test next week (I was 1 point away from automatically qualifying :/) does anyone know where I can take a practice exam online? that would at least make me feel more comfortable about the exam.

  8. NCCM(Ret) says:


    There isn’t a Navy Advanced Programs Test available online that I am aware of.

  9. Lance says:

    I got a 93 on my asvab but I missed 6 pts for the nuke part and took the napt and got a 66, are the chances high that I will get accepted into the nuclear power program because I’ve heard mixed stories. Also I hear that the training will be difficult and is actually the most rigorous courses the navy has to offer, is it really that unbelievably difficult or is it like college like scale of 1-10 1 being elementary school 5 being college and 10 being my eyes and hands are burning from studying to keep up with the course.

  10. Lance says:

    Oh yeah and how hold does it usually take to be informed weather I’m accepted or not?

  11. NCCM(Ret) says:


    I am assuming your waiver has been sent to the Nukes for consideration. Whether or not it gets approved hinges on many factors like your age, grades and the performance in your math and science courses. The Navy’s Nuclear Power Program is the most academically rigorous of any military school. The school is a 10 if you’re not very strong in science and math, and if you are, the school is near an 8. It is not just the curriculum that is challenging, it is the pace at with you must learn it that adds to the stress and difficulty.

    Waivers can take from 2 days to three weeks depending on the type and reason. The fact that it was sent is a positive sign.

    Good luck!

  12. Lance says:

    My grades for high school math and sciences are ALG I: passed Geometry: B- Biology: B+ ALG II: B- Honors Chemistry: D+ (retaking senior year) PreCalculus: C Physics: B age: 17, based on those factors does it look good for me, also is the waiver a form that I have to write explaining why I would like to be considered for the nuclear power program? If so then it was sent over two days ago.

  13. ET3 says:


    Having recently finished NPTU, and now stationed in San Diego on an aircraft carrier, CVN-70, USS Carl Vinson, I can say that you should probably be fine. When I was recruited two years ago, I only got a 59 on my NAPT, and I got accepted just fine with average high school grades. The worst that will likely happen is you will have to write a short essay on why your Chemistry grade was a D, and then sign a waiver, then you will most likely get the contract.

    I can tell you from very recent experience that the schooling is challenging, and you could spend a lot of hours studying past normal school hours just so you can pass the tests. The first year or so, you may get disheartened, as it is mostly classroom learning, with little to no hands on training. Once you go to NPTU though, it becomes much more hands on, and you will learn a lot more about whichever of the three rates you choose, whether ET, EM, or MM. Once you get to that point, and actually work on a real nuclear plant, all the training you’ve gone through becomes worth it, and you get a great sense of accomplishment.

  14. Lance says:

    thank you, “NCCM(Ret)” and “ET3” you bath have been a great help with me understanding the difficulties ahead and the chances that I’ll get accepted to such a hard but amazing program. I hope I get into the Nuclear Power Program and am able to call myself part of the worlds best navy.

  15. Carri says:

    Does anyone know the physical requirements for the nuclear power program. Specifically vision / depth perception.

  16. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Beyond a requirement for normal color perception, the vision requirements for the Nuclear Program are the same as for any enlistment. They are as follows;

    Current distant visual acuity of any degree that does not correct with spectacle lenses to at least one of the following would be disqualifying:

    1. 20/40 in one eye and 20/70 in the other eye.
    2. 20/30 in one eye and 20/100 in the other eye.
    3. 20/20 in one eye and 20/400 in the other eye.

    –Current near visual acuity of any degree that does not correct to 20/40 in the better eye is disqualifying.
    –Current refractive error, myopia, astigmatism, in excess of -8.00 or +8.00 diopters spherical equivalent or astigmatism in excess of 3.00 diopters is disqualifying.
    –Any condition requiring contact lenses for adequate correction of vision, such as corneal scars and opacities and irregular astigmatism is disqualifying

  17. rene says:

    so i failed the first qualifying test (got a 54) if i pass the second test how likely am i to get in? and is the second test a lot harder than the first one?

  18. NCCM(Ret) says:


    The test that you will take a retest on is just a different version of the test, it is not harder or easier. Whether or not you get approved will be based on many factors, I am sure your recruiter went over them with you. I assume you are in school so you can provide evidence of additional academic achievement in mathematics or science since the initial test. How you do in that/those classes and how much of an increase you achieve in your NAPT score will, of course, also be considered (additional to the high school/college transcripts, ASVAB score, Nuke recruiter recommendation, etc.).

  19. Andy says:

    I am married so when I go to nuke school will my wife be living with me for the whole experience?

  20. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Yes, they even have housing available (there may be a short waiting list, but it is there — the district’s Nuke recruiter can give you more specifics).

  21. Javier says:

    Hello everybody, I am a freshman in college, and not feeling the college vibe. Not only do I not fit in college, I truly can’t afford it. I am taking the ASVAB on tuesday, the 20th of November. I took AP Physics, AP Chemistry in high school and am currently in college Calculus/Analytic Geo. right now. I understand a decent knowledge of math and science are expected of me before I apply for the program, but how hard is it to score high enough on the ASVAB/NAPT? Or is the NAPT not necessary if I score high enough on the ASVAB? Any comments or replies will be more than enough. Thank you for taking the time to respond.


  22. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Based on the courses that you have taken, and I assume you did well in, you should not have a problem gaining the scores required. If you score well on the ASVAB, you will not be required to take the NAPT.

    Good luck on Tuesday — kick its’ butt!

  23. Javier says:


    Thank you so much! I am studying for the ASVAB as we speak. I aspire to become a nuke and will do what is required of me to achieve that goal. I will definitely keep posting to update my progress and inquire if I have any questions. Once again thank you, good to know there is a community out here willing to lend me some knowledge and advice if needed. Take care.


  24. Bob says:

    Things have changed quite a bit over the years. My class was 65-3, Calif and Idaho. Spent time on the Long Beach and Bainbridge, as well as some conventionals in the tonkin gulf. If you are thinking of Nuke School, go for it. The career potentials are unlimted, wheather you stay in or not. Former BT1, US Navy 1964-1970

  25. Troy says:

    Hey guys I just wanted to post that I was accepted into nuke in November and I can’t wait to go, it sounds like an adventure and a challenge. I leave 9 September 2013. I feel like my life won’t start until then.

  26. NCCM(Ret) says:



  27. Jonathan [Last Name Redacted for Privacy] says:

    I am leaving May 13, 2013 to RTC. I am married with one kid and am wondering what married life is like as a nuke. What is the housing like? Is there places for children near? I am really excited about becoming a nuke, just worried that being a nuke and a father may collide often.

  28. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Having never been a Nuke with a family, I cannot tell you about that specifically, but they do not have any different housing than any other rating — I am sure they have some long working hours; all rates have those times. When the job has to get done, you work. My wife and I raised a three boys while I was in the Navy, we spend some good quality time — we had our time a part when I was deployed or on travel orders. Even with the times we couldn’t spend together, my two oldest boys enlisted in the Navy; both went into the Nuke program, btw :)

  29. MM2/SS now MAJ says:

    I went in the Navy nuke program in 1985 after a failed attempt at college. The biggest problem I had was the force feeding of math and science (memorization not learning) after being exposed to college level courses the year before. This program was not my learning style, in that you could not ask question and were told this is the way it is. Plan to put much time in and work hard. I remember living on only 4 hours of sleep a night. Stress level is high and suicide rate was high when I was in the program. I dropped out and went conventional MM on subs. This was a good move for me. I served 5.5 years then 4 years NR and then direct commision in AR. Just remember if things don’t work out there is life after being a Nuke and after the Navy.

    Keep everything in perspective and you will be fine no matter if you complete school or not. It will be a good experience on pushing your mind and body while serving your country.

    Hope this helps, Good Luck!

  30. Dustin says:

    I was wondering if there were possible waivers for age. I’m 31 but got a 99 on the ASVAB with my NUC score coming to 279.

  31. NCCM(Ret) says:


    I have never seen an age waiver approved for anyone over 28, and they were only approved because they were in college taking math and science courses for the previous couple of years leading up to the enlistment.

  32. John says:

    I recently took the ASVAB and scored a 98. I was told that I auto qualified for nuke. How likely am I to get accepted if I failed a couple math/science classes in high school?

  33. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Having failed two math classes in high school can be mitigated if you have taken additional math classes in college and done well in them; otherwise, a waiver would be difficult. If you take a look at this page, it can kinda give you an idea of what they will consider — the less points you have, the less likely. (the chart does not say that X points gets waiver approval and X points won’t — it just gives an idea of what is important)

  34. Burns says:


    I’m actually joining in myself. Just retook the ASVAB at MEPS on Monday and got a 96 (I got a 97 when I was in High School, but that was back in 2007). Was told that a score over 93 exempts you from taking the “Nuke Test” (The NAPT).


    If you graduated high school (you are required to have a Diploma, GED is not accepted for Nukes) I would assume that means you passed Algebra, which is the only mathematics requirement, so you should be set.

    Best of luck to you!

  35. Al says:

    I’ve heard from a friend at MEPS with a 99 AFQT that the minimum passing score for the NAPT is now 65?! This can’t be correct, can it? I take the NAPT on Tuesday! I’m beyond nervous!

  36. NCCM(Ret) says:


    You only have to take the NAPT if you do not meet the Math points; take a look at this page, it should give you an idea of what you need.

  37. Al says:

    I got a NUC score of 246 and will be taking the NAPT on Wednesday. I was just wondering what score I had to get. I believe it’s a 55. I more than qualify academically for the Nuke Field.

  38. NCCM(Ret) says:


    You need to score a minimum of 55. It is explained here.

  39. Aaron says:

    So I just got a 97 on my ASVAB, and a 265 composite score for my NUC score. Does that mean I automatically qualify, or are there any surprise tests for the Nuke Program awaiting me at MEPS?

  40. NCCM(Ret) says:


    You will not be required to take the NAPT, but if you need an academic determination, you may want to take it to improve your chances of approval (if you do, you need to score above a 60 on the NAPT to add points; it is explained here

  41. Andy says:

    Dear NCCM(Ret) or
    I would like to know about my chances and conditions of getting into the Navy’s Nuclear Program since I’m currently waiting on my psychological evaluation from the psychologist about my mental health condition due to past “misdiagnoses” for Aspergers and Tic Disorders and my actual past diagnoses for ADHD and a optamologist consultation for my high myopia. But anyway, I actually have a B on AP Physics while I got all A on AP Calculus AB, AP Biology, Precalculus, Geometry, and all other math and science honors courses (this doesn’t include other courses where I got straight As from middle school to high school)and have an average unweighted GPA of 3.88 (weighted of 4.21). In addition to such qualifications, I play lots of different social sports and participate in other academic activities. Last but not least, the skill that led me to consider for the Navy Propulsion Program is my work history of working in a research internship environment at the University of Texas at Austin. I would like to know if this will increase my chance to get into the program. If you have other suggestions into what should I do further with the process, please let me know or please forward this case to Navydoc. Thank you.

  42. Vince Magruder says:

    Andy, with that background, why on Earth would you want to be an enlisted nuke??

  43. Danny says:

    My son took the ASVAB and his line scores (AR+MK+EI+GS) is over 252. His recruiter said he has to take the NAPT anyway. The scores here are straight from the Navy Recruiting Manual. He said they go by the Meps line scores not the Navy recruiting manual. I am a bit lost since when I was recruiting the Cruitman was the bible. Any insight on why this is the case?

  44. NCCM(Ret) says:


    If your son requires a Type II waiver or has not taken a math class in a while, the NAPT would/may be required to qualify despite his line scores. I agree with you though, the recruiter should be explaining the why much better than he is. This link may help, too.

  45. Danny says:


    My son is a Junior in high school, he will be a senior next year (July). He has taken and is currently enrolled in Algebra and Calculus courses. I am not impressed with his recruiter at all. Since he will be an 11S there really isn’t much you can do to change the recruiter. All I know is what the cruitman says. As per the Cruitman he is qualified. I appreciate the link.

  46. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Based on what you are saying, I have no idea why he’d have to take the NAPT. I had two sons go Nuke, neither had to take it.

  47. qualify says:

    If you can qualify for this program go to college. Being a nuke is not exciting. It’s not challenging (chances are) and the tests are primarily about memorizing. The pay sucks. The people who are attracted to this rate are generally assholes who have no stress coping skills. There’s very few women in the nuke program with you, although the video seems to want to give you the opposite impression. I remember the ratio being like one female for every hundred or more men? Any respectable college will typically give you about 25 credits for all of nuke school.
    If you must join the navy, do regular ET where you’ll get more normal and polite co-workers. My classmates in the school and beyond ranged from normal to sociopath, I wish I was kidding. This was a class section of 20 or so. Go to college instead of being a nuke, despite the fairly low educational standards and large debt you will accumulate, you’ll be better off.

  48. Retired Nuke says:

    I believe I must agree with some of what “qualify” says. I loved being a “Nuke” but, I did have some issues with some of my shipmates and even some poor leadership. First, there are only three nuke ratings and the MM rating is by far the largest subgroup which means your chances of being assigned as a MM will be much higher. Second, when getting underway, Nukes are the first ones on the ship and the last ones off. Starting up and shutting down a nuclear plant is not like a car or plane, there is no “key”. Third, the civilian nuclear community is much smaller than even I anticipated when I retired. Not all nukes get to be operators, I was lucky enough to be an instructor, and I did enjoy it. And fourth, if you still have your heart set on going into the navy, go to college (study and do well), and enter as an officer. Life onboard ship for an officer is so much better than that of the enlisted ranks. If you do get a commission, remember to be a good leader and earn the trust and respect of the men and women under you. They will bust their butts for you! Lastly, if you decide to join up, study your rating books before every advancement exam (this will increase your chances of getting advanced on schedule) and stay onboard for the entire tour, don’t try to bounce around to various commands (especially if you are unhappy on the present command), it can only hurt your advancement opportunities. Fair Winds and Following Seas…

  49. Verm says:

    Good Luck to all the Nukes that want to go in. Couple yrs of college burnted out took asvap, nuke test passed both to get a ticket to Orlando. Keep your grades up, and no worries 1 wrong quiz and in the doghouse.No regrets! Best of luck
    verm 89-95

  50. Scott says:

    I was not a nuke but my ship had “A LOT” of Machinist Mates who didn’t pass the nuke program. I knew them well and worked with them closely being a Machinery Repairman. These guys were smart! The problem is, at least back in the late 1970’s, if you didn’t pass nuke school you were still committed to a 6 year enlistment as a regular MM. The nuke school mathematics is intense. If you are not good at math you are in trouble. You had better have taken calculus in high school or college and done well in it! I am not saying this to deter anyone but I am just stating what I experienced. Good luck to all.

  51. Chris Y. says:

    I am 27 and looking into the Navy’s nuclear power program. Is it likely I will be granted a waiver for it?

    I did OK in high school math and eventually passed Algebra in college with a straight A. Couldn’t do better than a D in calculus in college though.

    I am currently brushing up on my math skills through khanacademy.

  52. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Chris Y.,

    Age waivers for the Nuclear program are very rare, and they are only approved for those who are only over the maximum age by a matter of a few months and who demonstrate they have a recent heavy math and science workload.

  53. Jack B. says:

    So I qualify for the Nuclear Program and my recruiters are pushing me hard for it (so I only take what they say with a grain of salt) and was wondering what it is really like? I did a year of college and honestly flunked out (I passed most of my classes with A’s but there were enough that I failed that dropped my GPA to an unacceptable level).
    My biggest concern for this is that I’ve never taken a physics course in my life. The only reason I did well on the ASVAB parts that include physics is because I got a study book for the ASVAB. Should I take a physics course before going?


  54. Jack B. says:

    oh and the farthest I got in math was Algebra 3 (I’m told it was college algebra, but it seemed to easy to be) which had a bit of trig added to it. I don’t know the first thing about calculus or anything of that level.

  55. NCCM(Ret) says:


    My two sons that joined the Navy entered as Nukes. The middle son blew Nuke school away — honor man and never had mandatory study. My oldest son had to work his butt off, as most do, in Nuke school — it was a trying time for him academically, but he graduated. When he finished his enlistment, he wanted nothing to do with nuclear power; however, he will be the first to tell you that it was his experience at Nuke school and working as a Navy nuke that led to his successes. He went on to graduate law school at Penn State, and now, he has been accepted for a commission as an Intel officer in the Navy. The work ethic you learn while attending that program is not matched anywhere. It is hard work — very hard work; but my son’s recommend it. You, personally, need to search inside yourself and determine if you are willing to put forth the effort. I hope things work out for you!

  56. T.rhianson says:

    I’m will be leaving for boot camp in the spring a d then plan to attend a school and c school for mmn. I realize nuke school is a. Very long process and being married with children my only concern is at what point does my family get to join me?

  57. NCCM(Ret) says:


    When you get your orders from boot-camp to A-school and power-school in Charleston, those orders should be of the PCS type, and they should include your family.

  58. Andy says:

    I’m currently a senior in high school and definitely want to join then Navy. I plan on doing NROTC, however as a back up plan I’m looking at enlisting to become a Navy Nuke. I do very well in school, I’m a member of NHS, I take AP science classes, and I’m the class President. Is the educational benefits and chance to travel worth it before going to college? If the education benefits are worth I hope to get my degree and become an officer. Does anybody have any advice for this situation? Lastly, what rates tends to be the most enjoyable?


  59. EM3 Dansby says:

    EM’s are the best.

  60. Moojin says:

    I’m a green card holder senior student in high school who very much wants to be one of the nukes. I’ve studied physics for as long as I can remember, due to pure interest, and wanted to be a nuclear engineer since elementary school years. Do I HAVE to be a citizen in order to be a nuke? My naturalized citizenship becomes valid in 2017.

  61. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Yes, U.S. citizenship (natural born or naturalized) is required for the Nuke program. No exceptions.

  62. Brandon says:

    I have a question. I have qualified for the nuclear program but was told that I only qualified for Nuke Bravo. I just wanted to know what the difference between Nuke Alpha and Nuke Bravo was. I was also told that I would need to take a test and have no idea what this test is. Please help.

  63. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Being that you require an additional test, the Navy Advanced Placement Test (NAPT), based on your ASVAB (you scored a composite of 236 to 252) that means you did qualify for Nuke provided you pass the NAPT. The link provided will help explain more.

  64. Billy says:

    This has, by far, been the most useful site I’ve found. Granted, this is the first time I’ve gone searching at any length for info! If everything goes to plan, I’m hoping to sign my Nuke contract this upcoming Monday. This website is incredibly useful, and I have found the answer to so many questions that I had.
    I do, however, have one question for you. I am currently 25, so at the age limit cutoff. My recruiters and the recruiting station want me as a Nuke, but an age waiver would have to be approved. I was wondering if you had any thoughts on my chances of this being approved and going through. It’s the one thing I truly am worried about. I auto-qualified on my ASVAB, have one C in math, which was Theory of Probability my junior year of college, math minor, communication major. I don’t know if any of that makes a difference when considering an age waiver, and I don’t know if that information makes a difference on your thoughts.
    Again, really appreciate the site!

  65. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Age waivers are tough, and a good guide will depend on how many points you can get during an academic review (follow this link). For Nukes, the biggest concern is the time away from academia — the older you get, the less likely you have recently been in school; yada, yada. The more points you have, I would think, the greater chance of waiver approval.

    Hope that helps.

  66. Todd says:

    Does anyone know how intense the background check is? My son made the mistake of getting a medical marijuana card in Colorado and a month later has decided to join the Navy and with his high scores is being pushed towards Nuke. A couple recruiters I have talked to said this is a unknown area and he would literally be a guinea pig with all the new laws regarding medical marijuana.

  67. NCCM(Ret) says:


    He is not a guinea pig for this issue. The local command’s Nuclear Power Coordinator should be able to give your son a pretty solid answer about his chances for waiver approval — unlike the coordinator, the recruiters rarely have a real clue how DCNO will rule. His recruiters should have no problem putting your son on the phone with the coordinator.

  68. Zach says:

    So I am a senior in highschool and I recently took the asvab as well as talked to a current navy nuke who came to my pre-engineering class. My score on the asvab was a 95 with the two pertinent line scores for the nuke program coming in at a 275 and a 274. The nuke who I talked to said in order to “alpha” qualify and not take the specialized nuke placement test I had to acquire a 252 in one of the line scores. So I automatically qualified and all I have to do now is sign the papers. In all honesty if you are logical and understand basic algerba, simple machines, and a little bit about circuitry and physics the test was not very difficult. I had never thought about joining the military before, met this guy on Monday decided to take the asvab. Took it the next day after one day of studying and did fine. If you took the SAT it is far more challenging to do well on that than the asvab in my experience. But also don’t let that go to your head and NOT study because there are several things that I knew just far in the back of my head and the only reason they were brought to the forefront for the actual asvab was because of the online tests I took. Good luck to anyone taking the tests I hope you all do well. Maybe I’ll see you in power school.

  69. Andrew says:

    I have a question that has been bothering me.

    Do u have to be born in USA in order to join this nuclear program?(assuming asvab score is well qualified)

    I an a senior in highschool. Will he graduating in 2017 june. I have a citizenship but I’m not born here.(i am chinese)

    If someone can give me an answer that would be wonderful.

  70. NCCM(Ret) says:


    You must be a United States citizen to apply for the nuclear program — you do not have to have been born in the US. As a citizen if citizenship waivers are required due to family members not being citizens, they are possible.

  71. Mike says:

    A couple of months back, I took the ASVAB and was told by my recruiter that I was eligible to take the NAPT. I agreed to take it but wanted more time to study since I have been out of high school for several years now (I’m 25).
    Earlier last week I found out that due to a recent policy change, now I am past the age limit for the program and due to my police involvement when I was 16 (which involved traffic violations, NONE of which were felonies, were NOT alcohol or drug-related, no property was damaged, and no one was hurt), I am no longer eligible for the program. I was told no waivers are available.
    Right now, I am confused, upset, and frustrated. Is there truth behind what I have been told?

  72. NCCM(Ret) says:


    The age limit for the Nuclear Power Program has not changed — it remains as it has for as long as I remember (decades); you must be in boot-camp prior to your 25th birthday. Age waivers are rare for those less than 27 years of age, and only considered and approved, based on my experience, for those who have been in college taking STEM classes — meaning that the applicant can prove they have been academically challenged in the maths and sciences up until the date of application.

  73. Sandra says:

    My daughter is getting ready to sign her papers next week. What kind of bonus can she expect to receive. She was told anywhere from 9-12K and I’m advising her to ask for $15K, given she’s a woman, and there are few woman signing up for this program. Is that a fair thing to do?

  74. NCCM(Ret) says:


    No. The bonus is at a fixed amount depending on the month a person ships to boot-camp — it is take it or leave it. The gender of the applicant is completely irrelevant.

  75. Sandra says:

    My daughter signed her papers today, so proud of her. Do you have more information about each type of each classification ET, MM, EM. I think she’s more interested in the EM. Do you know which has more options and opportunities. Thanks,

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