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Maritime Sciences - Overview


Maritime sciences programs prepare people to operate ships over lakes, rivers, and oceans. Students learn maritime traditions, laws, and policies. They learn to navigate ships safely in and out of harbors.

Do you ever look at the ocean and wonder what is on the other side? You know there are places you've never been, people you've never met. Of course, life on land has its advantages, but if you long for open space, salty air, and water, then you might consider a degree in maritime sciences.

In maritime sciences programs, you learn everything about operating a ship. This means you learn about piloting small and large boats and how ships are built. You also learn how to use computers and radar to chart your course and predict weather. You learn how to stand watch for weather changes and to avoid collisions. You learn navigation techniques for different bodies of water. You also learn how to stow cargo correctly and to follow U.S. and international trade laws.

With a degree in maritime science, you can work in the private sector or join one of the Armed Forces. Either way, you can manage a ship's operations, make sure a ship's cargo is safely transported, or be a marine inspector. You can also charter boats and pilot customers to exotic locations. You can even run your own fishing company.

Many two- and four-year schools located near major bodies of water (such as the Great Lakes, large rivers, or coastal areas) have maritime sciences programs. These schools usually offer associate degrees or certificates in maritime sciences. Such programs usually take about two years to complete. They prepare you to become an entry-level deckhand. This means you can perform maintenance and stand watch during a voyage.

Four-year bachelor's degrees, offered at six maritime academies, prepare you for your third mate's license exam. This means that you can become a ship's officer with more responsibility. In addition, a bachelor's degree can prepare you for an administrative job on land.

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