How Do I Become a Nuclear Security Officer?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 30 May 2018
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The requirements to become a nuclear security officer may include law enforcement experience, taking an examination, and radiation training. People in this field typically need to agree to maintain certifications with regular examinations and qualifications, such as agility testing to make sure they are still fit for duty. Individual employers may have their own standards, set on the basis of any legal requirements and the company’s preferences. It can be helpful to review job listings to see what kind of experience and training nuclear facilities look for in candidates for security officer positions.

At a minimum, it’s usually necessary to have a good law enforcement record and valid citizenship to become a nuclear security officer. It may also be necessary to be at least 21 years of age. Prospective employers want people who are physically fit and qualified to carry weapons, which means they tend to recruit people with law enforcement experience. Another option is to attend a formal security officer training course to acquire these skills.

Radiation training is also necessary. Some employers will provide it after candidates are hired, while others may expect people to have completed the training before they start work. Some facilities have examinations they require officers to take, testing visual acuity, problem solving, and basic knowledge. Good communication skills are also useful, because it may be necessary to interact with people on the job and to attempt to resolve volatile situations without the use of force.


A candidate to become a nuclear security officer may need to be willing to pass a background check, which can include drug testing and interviews with close friends or family. Adverse events in someone’s record could be barriers to employment, as could potential conflicts of interest. A firm might not want to hire someone carrying large amounts of debt, for example, because the security officer might be tempted to accept a bribe.

Once people have been hired, they need to maintain their qualifications. Firearms licenses may require a periodic requalification examination to confirm that people can still safely handle and use weapons. Radiation training may need to be repeated annually or on a biannual basis to keep people current with policies and procedures. There can be opportunities for promotion into higher ranking positions on the security team, in which case candidates may need to take another examination or undergo interviews with senior personnel to show that they are qualified.



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