Best Maritime & Merchant Marine Degree, Certification & Professional Training Programs in the U.S.

u s merchant marine

Maritime commerce is a critical and strategic part of the world economy. Majority (more than 70%) of the worlds goods are transported through water transportation. The maritime industry comprises of Transportation, Oil & Gas, Scientific Research, Military, Leisure and other allied sectors and subsectors. The industry is one of the largest employers in comparison to any other and needless to say one of the important one. According this report, an estimated one fifth of the jobs in the state of Louisiana alone is connected to the marine industry and generating $ 3.5 billion income per year.

Who are Merchant Mariners?

Merchant mariners and civilian mariners who are the main workforce for merchant vessels owned and operated by various companies in the United States. Merchant mariners operate and maintain the vessels that carry goods and people and ply inland waterways and across the oceans, for trade and commerce, exploration, leisure, and other maritime activities. A typical vessel employs following personnel:

Deck Careers

  • Ordinary Seaman - includes Wiper, Stewards & Cooks
  • Able Seaman - Cooks, Offshore Supply Vessel (OSV), Special & Unlimited
  • Second Mate - Near Coastal / Oceans/ Inland / Rivers / Great Lakes
  • Chief Mate - Near Coastal/ Oceans/ Inland/ Rivers/ Great Lakes (500 GT/1600 GT/Unlimited)
  • Master (Captain) - Near Coastal/ Oceans/ Inland/Rivers/ Great Lakes (500 GT/1600 GT/Unlimited)

Engineering Careers

  • Able Seaman - Qualified Member of the Engine Department (QMED)
  • Assistant Engineer Limited vessels
  • Third Assistant Engineer Unlimited HP
  • Chief Engineer Limited Vessels < 1600 GRT < 3000 ITC Unlimited HP
  • Second Assistant Engineer Unlimited HP
  • First Assistant Engineer Unlimited HP
  • Chief Engineer Unlimited HP
  • Designated Duty Engineer DDE Limited
  • Designated Duty Engineer DDE Unlimited

A Career in the Marine Industry is Challenging and Rewarding

Trained workforce is one of the essential requirements of this industry. Careful management of a vessel or an offshore drilling platform is critical and the personnel involved need to have highest quality training which is an ongoing exercise. The maritime industry is one of the best paymasters and the workforce enjoys a good work life balance.

Video: Maritime Career Pathways

Apart from the seagoing or offshore career, there are plenty of options for the workforce to engage offshore where some of the important activities take place such as:

  • Marine Engineering & Naval Architecture
  • Marine Surveying
  • Port Management & Engineering
  • Coastal Management & Engineering
  • Maritime Business Management
  • Logistics & Supply Chain Management
  • Transportation & Distribution
  • Technical Maintenance Services
  • and many more..

Median U.S. Salary - Maritime & Merchant Marine Jobs

Chart: U.S. Maritime Salary Jobwise - Source:

Maritime Education and Training in the United States

United States is in the fore front of training its marine personnel and has established some of the best marine education and training institutions and systems. The U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) along with United States Coast Guard (USCG) plays an important role in administering, regulating and licensing these activities. We have compiled a list of top marine training organizations in the U.S. Please note that these lists are not in a particular order as each institution has its own strength and importance in the field.

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