When Phillip Washington started at the Exelon Clinton Power Station in 2009 as a security officer, he wasn’t too familiar with the nuclear industry. “After I started working at the plant, I gained interest in nuclear power and started looking into the possibility to move into a position in chemistry, radiation protection, or operations,” Phillip said. He found that in order to be eligible for a position though, he would need additional education.
“I saw Clinton worked with our local community college, but it was more of a traditional program where you had to attend classes, and that didn’t work for my schedule,” Phillip said. He then found the EPCE-sponsored online Associate of Applied Science in Nuclear Power Technology (NUPT) at Bismarck State College (BSC) through an online search. The AAS in NUPT is the first online degree approved by the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) as part of the Nuclear Uniform Curriculum Program (NUCP). Learn more about the NUCP.
The flexibility of having courses available to him 24 hours a day was exactly what he needed. Phillip also took advantage of Exelon’s tuition reimbursement program, noting, “Exelon will reimburse you as long as it’s for an advanced degree, so if you didn’t have a degree, you can pursue an Associate’s degree all the way through a Master’s degree.”
Pursuing his NUPT degree qualified him for his current position as an Auxiliary Operator at the Byron Generating Station, and he is currently in a training program to become an Equipment Operator. Phillip says the knowledge he has gained to date has applied to the training: “The classes have helped to extend my general plant and system knowledge, and I’ve been able to use a lot of that knowledge in my current operator training.”
What began as a desire to meet the minimum requirements to qualify for a position in operations at the Clinton Power Station turned into a desire to complete not only an Associate’s degree, but perhaps a Bachelor’s degree also. “Since I started the NUPT program, I learned about the EPCE-sponsored Bachelor of Science in Nuclear Engineering Technology through Excelsior College, and now I would like to complete that degree as well.”
Recently, Phillip was promoted to a Cycle Planner in the Work Management department at the Clinton Power Station.