[QUOTE=tsteinford;61314]Coast Guard approved courses give credit for whatever is stated in the approval letter either x number of days or that the applicant is considered to have met the service requirements for a specific credential. The answer to your question depends on what the approval letter says. For example, the maritime academy’s approval letters say the applicant meets the service requirements towards a Third Mate license, not that the applicant gets 1080 days credit toward any credential.[/QUOTE]
As fare as I can tell from the regulations I’ve been reading, that would make sense, since any advancement beyond Third Mate requires service as Third Mate, and specifically mentions “Third Mate”. If you’re starting out on deck, and not a 3rd Mate yet, any deck service counts towards Mate. The rules say you need 3 years service on deck for a 3rd Mate. You could be an OS for all that time. It doesn’t say 2 of those years have to be as an AB. If the approval letter said you fulfilled the requirements for AB only, and didn’t grant you sea time, then that would mean it would take you a year extra to get to Mate, because the year you spent in apprentice school didn’t count as part of your sea service. Again, none of the rules I’ve looked at mention time spent as an AB as a prerequisite for any licensed credential.
Besides, I’m almost 100% positive that the lady at the apprentice school told me that the AB was an option, and you get sea time credit, not that you graduate with the AB. She even gave me the number of days. I’m going to call them again Monday to make sure.