Training & Education

Pathways to Careers in the Maritime Industry

Maritime jobs require skills and as such require some post-secondary training. There are many pathways you can take depending on the type of job you are interested in.  If you are unsure, take a look our Careers at Sea and Careers Ashore webpages.  Then look below for the paths to those careers.

Community Colleges

Across the U.S. there are an increasing number of community colleges that offer vocational maritime training and degrees and the necessary credentials to work in the maritime Industry.  Most of these colleges also offer continuing education for professional mariners thereby affording you opportunity to learn side-by-side with professionals.[Link]

Technical Training

There are dozens of technical schools that enable you to enter the maritime industry.  Some of them are apprentice programs and provide pay while you learn a new trade.  If you are not interested in college or don’t have the money for college, check out these programs that lead to well-paying jobs within the maritime industry [link].

At Sea

For jobs at sea, a person needs U.S. Coast Guard documentation get an entry-level job on a vessel (except possibly on a fishing vessel). These jobs require training, and U.S. Coast Guard certifications, with documented time at sea. There are many places where you can get this training—even in some high schools!


For jobs ashore, some technical training is often required, depending on the position desired. This post-secondary school technical training is available [link to schools].

Maritime Academies

The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and the six State Maritime Academies produce over 95% of all the entry-level open ocean licensed maritime officers in the U.S. These four-year colleges award a Bachelor’s Degree and students also can earn their U.S. Coast Guard License either as Deck or Engineering Officers.

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