Troy Henning’s career in nuclear energy started in 1997 after his car broke down. “At that time I really didn’t have a direction in life, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do,” he said. Instead of paying to fix the car, Troy enlisted in the Navy where he eventually qualified for the nuclear training program and served on a nuclear submarine, including as a reactor operator (a job he describes as “sobering”).
Over the course of his nine years of service Troy discovered that he had a knack for training and teaching others; before leaving the Navy in 2006 he had even become his ship’s training coordinator. He went on to pursue this interest in nuclear training and currently works for South Carolina Electric and Gas (SCE&G) as an Operations Training Instructor, where he is responsible for training and testing new operators at the company’s V.C. Summer Nuclear Generating Station prior to its construction of two additional plants.
One of Troy’s lifelong goals, however, has always been to go back to school and get his Bachelor’s degree, the first in his family to do so. After hearing about Excelsior College’s program in Nuclear Engineering Technology from colleagues, Troy decided to look into enrolling. Seeing that it was one of the few programs of its kind to be offered entirely online, which would allow him the flexibility to work and take classes at the same time, and that his past work experience would count towards earning his degree, he applied and completed the program in only a year. “Excelsior did a great job working with my certifications and my naval background and crediting me for that experience. I think I only had to take 12 or 13 credit hours to finish the bachelor’s degree.”
Long term, Troy hopes to one day work for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission as a regulator or an inspector, positions that would be have otherwise been out of reach without a bachelor’s degree. In addition to being a more marketable candidate for these positions as well as for further advancement at SCE&G, however, Troy simply takes pride in knowing he has the degree: “It’s just really nice to see all that on my resume —not only my experience and certifications, but also the bachelor’s degree from an accredited college with a very good program to back it all up.” When asked whether he would recommend the program to other nuclear energy employees, Troy says, “Definitely. If you want to advance, you absolutely the need the degree. It makes you stand out.”