Deck Engineers

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Deck Engineers

Deck Engineers - Preparation

To work as a ship engineer, you typically need to:

  • have a high school diploma or equivalent;
  • complete a formal training program;
  • have one to five years of related work experience; and
  • have a merchant marine license.

Education after high school

Training programs for ship engineers are approved and monitored by the US Coast Guard. The Coast Guard is an agency of the US Department of Homeland Security. All ship engineers must be licensed by this agency.

You can prepare for this occupation by attending the US Merchant Marine Academy or one of the six state academies. Three academies are located on the East Coast, in Maine, Massachusetts, and New York. The other three are located in Michigan, Texas, and California.

These academies offer a four-year training program that leads to a bachelor's degree. The training at the academies prepares you for the licensing exam. Courses cover topics such as fire fighting, marine engineering, electric circuits, and safety. You also study propulsion, marine refrigeration and air conditioning, and electrical power. Marine engineering programs typically include a training cruise component. After graduating, you may pursue a license as a third assistant engineer.

Work experience

Ship engineers typically have several years of work experience. You can prepare by gaining experience as an ordinary seaman. Local unions provide training. As you gain experience and ratings, you move up the ranks.

On-the-job training

Because of the fast changing demands of technology, you may receive additional training on the job. Employers may provide training or pay for college course work so you can update your technical skills or expand your administrative skills.

Military training

Some branches of the military train people to be ship engineers. You need a bachelor's degree to enter this military occupation. Training lasts three to 12 months, depending on your specialty. Additional training occurs on the job.

Source: Illinois Career Information System (CIS) brought to you by Illinois Department of Employment Security.