Naval Nuclear School

Nathaniel Morris
April 20, 2017

Submitted as coursework for PH241, Stanford University, Winter 2017


Fig. 1: Nuclear Powered Attack Submarine. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Recruiting for the Naval Nuclear School is difficult because it requires youth to work with highly complex machinery. This school has high quality requirements that decreases the number of students that can join the school and makes recruiting more challenging. As technology becomes more advanced the Naval Nuclear School have needed less routine workers who preform simple tasks and instead needed technologically advanced recruits. This same problem is true for civilian companies who also experience the increased demand for highly qualified workers following advancement in technology. This increased demand for highly skilled workers has created a rivalry between the military, specifically the Naval Nuclear School, and civilian companies who are competing for a short supply of technological advanced workers. Currently educational incentives given by the Naval Nuclear School have not proven to be sufficient to attract graduates from high school who plan on attending college to the Naval Nuclear School instead. This has led to difficulty maintaining an adequate number of people at the school. [1]


As mentioned above their are high qualifications necessary for enrolling in the Naval Nuclear School. The Navy looks for physical, moral and mental qualifications. First the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test is administered. This is a test used by all the branches of the armed forces assessing three sub categories, arithmetic reasoning, world knowledge, and paragraph comprehension. Then the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) is administered which has ten subcategories and tests mental aptitude as well as different intelligence measures. The Naval Nuclear School looks at specific subsets of this test to determine eligibility into their school. Finally depending on adequate scores on the two previous tests they are given the Nuclear Field Qualification Test which is the the last test before being determined eligible to enter their school of nuclear training. Both the Navy and the Department of Energy determines eligibility for the school. [2]


After passing the eligibility tests and before attending the actual nuclear power school it is necessary to go through the Navy Nuclear Field Program. This program recruits, trains and then assigns students to difference specializations of the nuclear program. These can include propulsion plant operators or working on nuclear-powered attack submarines. An example of the latter is shown in Fig. 1. After the Navy Nuclear Field Program they attend Naval Nuclear power school and enter as a Machinist's Mate (MM), Electrician's Mate (EM), or Electronics Technician (ET). Each of these positions are cross trained in the other fields in order to understand aspects of different roles in working on nuclear power. The MM, EM, and ETs work under a supervisor that is specialized in their specific field until they graduate and go on to work with nuclear power in a real life setting. [2]

© Nathaniel Morris. The author grants permission to copy, distribute and display this work in unaltered form, with attribution to the author, for noncommercial purposes only. All other rights, including commercial rights, are reserved to the author.


[1] P. A. Golfin and D. H. Blake, "Tech Prep and the U.S. Navy," Center For Naval Analysis, CRM D0000399.A1, July 2000.

[2] G. W. Thomas and K. Kocher, "Navy Nuclear Recruiting Markets: Race-Ethnic/Gender Qualification Rates," U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, NPS-AS-93-031, December 1993.