Notice anything about the green bars in the graphic at right? What caught our eye was the huge bar for "Nuclear power tech" in Texas. So what's the story? Is everything bigger in Texas?
The graphic appeared in the Wall Street Journal on June 24 in an article on the value of two-year and four-year college degrees. Authors Mark Peters and Douglas Belkin cited recent studies by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the American Institutes for Research. The green bar that caught our eye is based on data presented in the AIR report. It shows the first-year earnings of graduates of Associate's degree programs in nuclear technology in Texas as averaging more than $98,000.
The report is not clear about the specific jobs tied to the reported first-year earnings by nuclear technology graduates in Texas. (There are two nuclear power plants in Texas: Comanche Peak in Glen Rose, and South Texas Project in Bay City, offering thousands of well paying jobs.) The report also does not indicate how many graduates' salary reports are included in the average of $98,000. Our data on salaries for entry-level technical positions in the nuclear power industry nationwide, taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, show figures that were somewhat lower than that for most positions in 2012. Thus, one should take the AIR figures with the same proviso that comes with mileage stickers on new cars, "Your individual experience may vary." That said, the report is a useful reminder that jobs in the nuclear field pay well, and in many locations and disciplines, very well, indeed.
(For more information on jobs in the nuclear profession see our blog posts from June 11, 2014 and March 27, 2012 and the Careers & Education section of our website.)