3rd AE by getting Electrical or Mechanical engineering degree?


I was just looking through the official licensing docs and it says under third assistant engineer requirements:

Graduation from the mechanical
or electrical engineering course of a
school of technology accredited by the
Accreditation Board for Engineering
and Technology, together with six
months of service in the engine department
of steam or motor vessels;

Does this mean a bachelor’s or associates degree?

Is this a common way to get a 3AE license? I have a bachelors in computer science. I could probably get a 2nd degree in electrical engineering technology in a year or so.



I’ve never met anyone who got their license this way, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. No idea how common it is.

A degree in electrical engineering technology is NOT the same as a degree as electrical engineering. I am willing to bet that it has to be a BSEE or BSME for it to fly with the USCG.


I have only met one person that was able to get thee license this way. She had graduated from MIT with an EE masters. What she had to do was get her QMED’s and sail on them for six months and then she was able to take the 3A/E exams. And that was with no prior sea time. We found that she was way over her head as this was her first time ever at sea let alone as a third.


The is also the fact that even with that degree, you would have to complete minimum STCW requirements which have come in since that ‘exception’ was put in the CFR. This means STCW schools, firefighting 1&2, basic safety, lifesaving, medical care provider, first aid, lifeboatman, and enough sea service as QMED, and to get the onboard assessments.

Unless one already has such a degree, a person might as well go to an academy, which gives you a good general Engineering degree, and get the marine specific training including all STCW requirements.

In your case, you would do well to go through the wiper/QMED route. The wages for QMED are around $60,000/year. To get to QMED takes 180 days(12 hour days mean this will be 125 days) as wiper/OS. This way you get paid, and usually the company pays for the STCW classes and maybe even study materials for your license. better than going to school and losing income, right?

You can figure the rest, but the 3rd asst is the license you want, it gives you the most options. This will take 720 12 hour days. Your income can double, a lifechanging event.

I know this because I graduated from Texas Maritime Academy in 1977, did engineering shore work for 30 years, then came back in 2006, had to do the STCW/QMED before I was allowed to test for 3rd Asst.

2 weeks later I started sailing Chief OSV.


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