Careers

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are you the Navy? Do I have to be in the Navy to work for the Naval Nuclear Laboratory?

A: No. While it is our mission to support the U.S. Navy and our work is funded through government contracts, we are a civilian organization.


Q: All I see are pictures of submarines and aircraft carriers on your website and recruiting materials. Do you build submarines?

A: No, we do not build submarines. We are responsible for the design, construction, manufacturing, maintenance, and eventual disposal of all of the Navy’s nuclear propulsion reactors, as well as the training of the Sailors who operate them. We work closely with the shipyards that build the submarines and aircraft carriers that use our technology.


Q: What kinds of opportunities are there for continuing my education once I’m working?

A: We offer tuition assistance for those wishing to continue their education and obtain advanced degrees while employed. We also offer the Rickover Fellowship and various leadership development programs.


Q: How and when should I apply for the internship program?

A: The internship program consists of summer work assignments (usually May-August) for college students enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate technical or administrative degree program. To allow time for DOE security clearance processing, participants must apply by the end of the previous calendar year. We recruit for internship candidates at on-campus college career fairs in the fall and our internship job postings can be found in our list of open positions. Interested candidates should bring their resume to one of our college career fairs to discuss internship opportunities, and should also submit a resume online to be considered for the position.


Q: I’ve just posted my resume on the Naval Nuclear Laboratory’s website. What’s the next step, and when can I expect to hear back?

A: If you meet the basic qualifications for a position, you may be contacted by an employment representative from our staffing office either by email or phone. If you are selected for an interview, we will contact you to schedule the interview and will obtain required information necessary for your visit. The Naval Nuclear Laboratory makes every effort to follow up with all jobseekers.  However, in some instances, we may not be able to do so based on the large volume of jobseekers that apply for a particular position.


Q: Will my current employer be contacted by the Naval Nuclear Laboratory?

A: Current employers are only contacted after you have been offered and accept an offer of employment with Naval Nuclear Laboratory.


Q: I have dual citizenship with the U.S. and another country. Can I work for the Naval Nuclear Laboratory?

A: No, not while retaining your dual citizenship. You must be a U.S. citizen and a citizen of only the U.S. You have the option to renounce your citizenship, but this can impact your rights relative to the country you renounce and should not be approached lightly.


Q: I’m not a U.S. citizen, but I am legally able to work in the U.S. Can I work for the Naval Nuclear Laboratory?

A: No, all Naval Nuclear Laboratory employees must be U.S. citizens in order to obtain a DOE security clearance.


Q: How long does it take to obtain a security clearance?

A: The length of time required to obtain a security clearance varies based on the requested clearance level and personal history of the applicant. It typically takes about six months from the time paperwork is submitted to when the clearance is granted.


Q: I already have a DOD (or other) security clearance. Will that suffice, or do I also need a DOE security clearance to work for the Naval Nuclear Laboratory?

A: All employees are required to obtain a Department of Energy (DOE) security clearance. Note that the DOE does not allow “interim” clearances.


Q: Do you do anything besides naval work?

A: Our primary mission is to support the Navy. However, we have engaged in other nuclear power and propulsion-related work at times throughout our history, and may continue to in the future. Examples of our other projects range from the world’s first commercial nuclear power plant in the 1950s to the NASA Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter (JIMO) project in the 2000s.


Q: How do field assignments work? Are they permanent or rotational?

A: Field assignments are typically temporary, although some field assignments may be more permanent. The length of the assignment generally varies from a few months to a few years and is flexible based on the needs of the company and employee. Most field assignments are filled internally but there are some assignments that are filled with external applicants. We also offer field assignments through the Rickover Fellowship and various leadership development programs.


Q: How easy is it to switch jobs or locations within the company?

A: We encourage career mobility. With five main sites, as well as field assignments at various shipyards, there are numerous career opportunities throughout the company. Employees are expected to be in their current position for two years before being considered for another position, but may apply for a new position before that timeframe with their current manager’s approval.


Q: Do you promote current employees to management positions or do you fill management positions externally?

A: Management positions are filled by both external and internal candidates. Candidates are selected based on the skills and experience required for the position.


Q: How can I check the status of my job application?

A: If you meet the basic qualifications for a position, you may be contacted by an employment representative from the Naval Nuclear Laboratory staffing office. If you are selected for an interview, we will contact you to schedule an interview. We make every effort to follow up with all jobseekers.  However, in some instances, we may not be able to do so based on the large volume of jobseekers that may apply for a particular position.


Q: What will my working hours be if I accept employment?

A: Work schedules depend on the specific position. Most positions are performed during regular work hours while some require shift work. Start times are flexible for most positions, and we also offer a “9/80 alternate work schedule” program through which employees get every other Friday off.


Q: Can I get a Department of Energy security clearance if I have ever been arrested?

A: An arrest does not necessarily preclude you from obtaining a DOE security clearance. Each individual instance is reviewed as part of the clearance process investigation with the U.S. government. An open criminal court case will preclude you from obtaining a clearance until the case is closed.


Q: Can I work from home?

A: Since nearly all of the work at the Naval Nuclear Laboratory is considered sensitive, our employees are not able to work from home.


Q: The Naval Nuclear Laboratory doesn’t have any current openings that match my skill set. Can I still submit my resume?

A: Yes, you can still submit your resume online without applying for a specific position. You may be contacted if your skill set matches that of a position we are trying to fill.

Herminio, Electrical Engineer
"Working at NNL as an electrical engineer has been an amazing, challenging, and rewarding career. I have worked in many areas of equipment design, testing, and training, and have worked side by side with Navy crews in the lab and onboard the ships. These experiences have given me the firsthand opportunity to see the impact my work has on the Sailors who protect our freedom, and the meaningful contributions that I make to the security of our nation."
Herminio
Electrical Engineer