What Should I Study Before Nuke School?

Navy NukeThis is a common question for people entering the U.S. Navy Nuclear Program. If you are entering the Navy Nuke Program, nothing will completely prepare you for what you are about to face. When I got to Nuke school there was one day of indoc (indoctrination). Each speaker kept saying, “It’s a big machine, it will run you over.”

If I was sitting in DEP and preparing to enter the U. S. Navy and then go to the Nuclear Power Program, here is what I would do (or what I did).

Boot Camp:


1) Learn your 11 General Orders of a Sentry. Only a fool shows up to Bootcamp without a good command of these. Save yourself a ton of trouble and memorize these, be able to spit them out on demand.

2) Learn your Navy Rank and Recognition.  Your recruiter will give you this info. Learn it before you get to Great Lakes.

3) Learn to say, “Yes Sir,” “No Sir,” “Yes Ma’am,” “No Ma’am” say this to everyone you see until told otherwise.


1) Be able to run 1.5 miles in 11 minutes

2) Be able to do 100 pushups

3) Be able to do 100 situps

It’s ridiculous to show up to boot camp out of shape. That’s dumb! Join one of those bootcamps that people run in your local park, or go buy P90X and get in shape before you go to boot camp. If you are over weight, LOSE SOME WEIGHT. If you can’t do one push up and can’t run then GET IN SHAPE.

Some other boot camp tips:

If you want to minimize the amount of push ups you have to do, become a nameless, faceless, non-entity, and don’t volunteer for anything.

Nuke School:


1) Be very familiar with algebra. Know how to add fractions. Know how to multilpy and divide Numbers or letter raised to the x power. Any college level algebra class will help. BUT if you have a good grasp of high school level math and you took trigonometry and/or pre-calculus, then you should be fine and you should be able to catch on quickly because they will shove so much advanced algebra down your throat a nuke school. It’s not difficult it’s just faster and more advanced algebra than you did in highschool and you can’t use a calculator (except for a scientifc calculator). I recommend the Ti-36x Solar. If you took algebra 1 & 2 in Highschool and then Trigonometry and Pre-calculus then you should be fine.


1) Take whatever physics courses are offered in high school. Be sure you can do the projectile motion equation and circular motion equations. Circular acceleration, linear acceleration, and remember that the acceleration of gravity is approximately 9.8 meters per second squared or 32.2 ft per second squared.

Learn How To Learn…QUICKLY:

Nuclear field A-School and Nuclear Power School are all about being accurate and being fast. Nukes in the fleet have to be able to think quickly and to make the right decisions…quickly. The Nuke schools are designed to weed out any people who can not be fast and accurate. In other words, you need to learn to learn quickly. This skill will be a freaking cash machine to you when you get to the civilian world.

Some day you are going to be sitting on watch and the whole world is going to go to crap and you (you only) will need to be able to quickly diagnose the problem (correctly and quickly) and then take the correct immediate actions (right freaking now). And if you can’t do that I don’t want you in the Nuclear Program.

Common Sense:

1) Don’t do drugs (or drink alcohol if you are underage). Want to take one of the greatest opportunities in the world and piss it away? Ignore this statement. The Navy is going to pay you for the next 6 years and give you a college level education and extremely valuable training that will make you  one of the most employable people on earth so don’t piss it away.

2) Be nice and humble. You may be smart, but in this program you’re going to be one of many smart people. Everyone in this program was top ten percent in their rinky dink high school. Some of these people were top ten percent in their college graduating class. Learn to get along with anyone and everyone and your life will be much easier. If you’re one of those people who: 1) thinks you are better than everyone else, 2) is afraid to say, “I don’t know,” when you don’t have a clue 3) likes to rat his buddies out, or 4) will turn into a complete nut job power freak the moment somebody appoints you assistant petty officer of moping floors…then you will not have a great time in the Nuclear Program and maybe you should just go conventional.

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Any questions or concerns? Drop me a comment.

Good Luck

Author: navynukejobfinder

I did six years as a surface nuke ET. Then college, then grad school. Now I moderate this forum. Gooooooo navy!