Nuclear Education and Training in France

It is important that government agencies, industry and academia collaborate to create a framework to support education and training for the nuclear energy sector.

France has two ministries that have oversight on education. The  Ministry for National Education and Youth and the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation. They both have an important role in the preparation and development of France’s future employees of the nuclear sector.

The  Ministry for National Education and Youth has supervision over a number of education programmes and degrees from secondary schools to undergraduate two-year degree programmes. Most of them are designed for students from France. However, the ministry also has specific programmes and activities for international cooperation.

France’s Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation oversees all degree programmes from bachelor degrees to PhDs.

FRANCE’S SECONDARY EDUCATION SYSTEM

Bac pro

The “bac pro” is a degree obtained at the end of a two or three-year secondary school programme. It is technological in nature and is for French speaking students only. Today, there are two majors available:

  • Technical operations in nuclear installations (3 years / 11 secondary schools)
  • Nuclear environment (2 years + apprenticeship / 1 secondary school)

French Association of Schools Offering Nuclear Training (AFENUC)

The AFENUC is an association regrouping 12 secondary schools that offer nuclear training and the deliver the Bac Pro degree (see above). The AFENUC strengthens the Bac Pro programme and has a coordination role. Some examples includes:

  • the interface with the Ministry for National Education and Youth and the nuclear industry to ensure that training fits the industry’s needs;
  • setting up partnerships;
  • Mutualizing resources and best practices

For additional information, contact: afenuc@gmail.com

BTS

The Brevet de technicien supérieur (BTS) technician certificate and a national diploma of higher education. This certificate is usually earned in two years, after graduating from secondary school. The training curriculum includes periods of internship and/or apprenticeship and is taught solely in French.

There are six nuclear majors in the BTS programme:

  • operations in nuclear environments
  • ionising radiation monitoring and protection
  • industrial control systems and automation
  • design & manufacturing in industrial boiler making
  • electrical maintenance
  • systems maintenance

FRANCE’S HIGHER EDUCATION SYSTEM

In France, higher education is organised in accordance with the LMD system [bachelor (or licence in French)-master-doctorat equivalent to PhD]. This system is common to university education in all European countries part of the Bologna process, including France.

There are three types of university degrees in France:

  • Licence (L1, L2, L3) is an undergraduate degree awarded after a period of study lasting 6 semesters (3 years).
  • Master (M1, M2) is a graduate degree awarded after a period of study lasting 2 years (a total of 5 years’ study).
  • Doctorat is awarded after a period of study lasting 16 semesters (3 years, or a total of 8 years).
  • There are two types of masters: research masters that lead students to enrol in a doctorate programme, and vocational masters that prepare students for the professional world.

Each Licence and master is defined according to a field of study, a specialisation and a path.

The Engineering Degree (diplôme d’ingénieur) is a accredited and recognized nationally.

Equivalences

No predetermined set of equivalences between French and foreign degrees is officially recognized in France. Each institution is free to set its own admission criteria and make its own admission decisions based on each applicant’s background and the demands of the programme to which the applicant is seeking admission. This freedom allows French institutions to create well-qualified, well-balanced student cohorts without risking the integrity and reputation of their courses.

ECTS credits

Each completed module yields a certain number of ECTS credits. 30 credits are required to validate a semester, and 60 to validate an academic year. Credits, once awarded, cannot be taken away: if a year has to be retaken, the validated credits are retained the following year and the student need only retake the modules which were not validated the previous year.

GRETA: Adult continuing education

The Greta is a network of schools that provide teaching teams and premises to carry out continuing education for adults. The non-profit making Gretas are autonomous from a budgetary point of view and can recruit administrative staff and instructors. The training can be carried out in partnership with industry including apprentices, with periods of training in industry. Nuclear training programmes are defined according to local needs expressed by industry, local communities and employment agencies.

France Éducation international (FEI)

The FEI is the agency of the Ministry for National Education and Youth in charge of international programmes and cooperation. The FEI’s main activities are:

  • Cooperation in the areas of education, professional training and the quality of higher education;
  • Support for the promotion of the French language around the world by training teachers and education managers and by issuing certifications in French;
  • International mobility for people through language assistant and teacher exchange programmes, as well as the issuing of foreign qualification comparability certificates;
  • Setting up international training centres in partnership with its local counterpart and a French corporate sponsor.

To carry out its projects, the FEI relies on the know-how of a team of 250 staff as well as on a network of over 1,000 experts and national and international partners.

 

Carte nuclear education