Apprentice programs - SIU or AMO?

Yes, I forgot to mention the food and accomodations I enjoyed while upgrading in Dania. Restaraunt quality food and clean rooms to stay in. Retired before they built the new place, I can only imagine how nice that is. After a great holiday meal with some family, I spoke to my brother(A former SIU member) and my son (a KP grad and former MSC employee) regarding this particular post. They both agreed on one thing. You don’t get something for nothing. What you put into it is what you get. My son would have stayed sailing but a medical condition kept him from that aspect. His education served him well as he landed a decent position in our particular port. My Brother is shoreside as well now and has a deep respect for what SIU did for him early in life.

I was accepted into AMO and started in November. It’s a great training and experience. You’re right about the food and accommodations - my room is just off the pool. The school is closed now and I’m an engineer cadet on a ship going back and forth to Hawaii for my sea phase until mid-May. Hoping this Covid stuff is done then and I can get back on track.

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Good for you HenryC. Glad you got into the program. Don’t get discouraged, good things down the road for you. Made my day sir!!

Check back down the road, All us old farts love a good success story for you younger fellows.

I just applied to AMO’s TECH school for this fall. Can you tell me anything about your application? What they were most impressed by on your application, can I interview in person (I live nearby to the center), how long did it take for them to get back to you, what your grades and test scores were, anything else that set you apart as an applicant, any info at all about the center or the process, etc, thank you, anything would be appreciated!

If you’ve applied, and live close, visit the facility and introduce yourself. Your name is on file if you’ve already applied. Call ahead for a visit, but keep in mind, all facilities are in slowdown/shutdown social distancing mode right now. Quite a few fellows are just as interested as you. May take a while, but be persistent, but not annoying or demanding. It’s a good program to get your foot in the door, just rotten times right now. HenryC could perhaps bring you up to speed. As most opportunities like this, tell the truth on your application.

Yeah everything is kind of screwed with covid unfortunately, everything is in limbo with the maritime academies I applied to as well. I’m hoping that I’d be a cut above most because I’m a bit older, I have some maritime experience and college under my belt and I have great test scores and grades. Definitely hoping to have some kind of face-to-face interaction with the facility and hoping that this mess gets sorted before the fall.

If you think you are a cut above , the maritime schools you applied to may contact you, patience is a virtue. Nothing wrong at all with the program at AMO. You will have to commit to membership for a period of time because of their investment in you.

I know this forum’s opinion on AMO, you’re right, patience is a virtue. I’m excited for the future! Thanks for the wise words.

Good luck sir.

I recently found out I was accepted to Texas, SUNY, and Mass, which were the only 3 I applied to, due to unfortunate circumstances I only started the application process after Cal, KP, Maine, and GL were already closed. As stated before I applied to TECH, and I’d rather go there, as I’m not too keen on spending 4 years and tens of thousands of dollars at a college. Do you think my acceptance to Texas, SUNY, and Mass are a good barometer for my decision at TECH? Problem is I won’t know if I got into TECH until after the fall semester starts for the maritime colleges, so it’s risky to wait and see. Any advice appreciated. Thank you.

Academy route is better for you right now, if you want to pay for it for four years… AMO engine program isn’t a bad deal if you commit to the 2 years of it’s training and membership in the union for a bit of time. You may have to join a union after academy or not. Your choice sir. I cannot help you make that choice

Accept one of the 3 that accepted you that you think best suits your needs. In the end having an Engineering degree will advance you further then you may realize now. This is not to disparage AMO’s program but you have the opportunity to grab a bigger brass ring. If you have some college credits those schools will accept all the better.

I just worry about the $200k price tag from an academy, especially with the boom/bust cycle this industry tends to go through. If it busts again in 2024 when I graduate then I might be SOL for a while. Is it worth it over the 2 year no-degree-but-no-debt TECH program?

$200k sounds a bit high even assuming out of state and no financial aid. If you live near the STAR center that means your a Florida resident? If so that means you qualify as In-Region for SUNY I believe, which is less than $130k for four years. To put that in perspective, that’s about what I made my first year as a 3rd Engineer almost 15years ago.

I work near the STAR center but I’m an Arizona resident, so it’d be out of region, but you’re right, that assumes no financial aid, which I am expecting to get quite a bit of. I’ll be better able to make a decision once I get my financial aid package from each school. Unfortunately with covid, paperwork is moving slow as hell and it’s taking forever to get IRS documents, tax records, etc etc. Do 3rd engineers still make anywhere near that these days? How much were you working that year? Thank you for the input!

Sounds like you have some things to consider then, but definitely take a look at packages when you get them. I started with MSC and worked most of the year. It’s not for everyone, but it got me a lot of sea-time, experience, and cash in the few years I was with them.

I’m not familiar with union wages these days. I’d say in the oil patch you’d be starting much lower now. With MSC it’s probably still possible, but the time commitment is certainly a factor.

The AMO program seems direct to the point and has it’s benefits. It also has its inherent limitations and commitments. That’s for you to weigh. As others have mentioned, whether legitimate or not, the piece of paper you get from an academy still caries some gravitas with those responsible for hiring should you decide the sea isn’t for you after all.

Would you mind expanding on the limitations of AMO’s program? Besides not getting a degree of course. Does AMO contract with MSC or is that a nonsense question? Do I lose out on MSC contracts if I commit to AMO?

The 180day per year for 5year committment you have to AMO after completion of the course. If you decide you don’t want to ship after trying it, and things change for people in five years, you’d likely be on the hook for costs to AMO (I’m sure there are details in their agreement when you sign up.)

Not a nonsense question. I was with MSC proper, hired directly by the government, loosely affiliated with MEBA (more details in other threads on this forum). You would not have access to that fleet.
But the contract MSC fleet does have AMO contracted ships like pre-positioned ships and others. From my understanding in talking to my friends who sail on them, they have generally even time 3-4month rotations, but it sounds like there can be opportunity to work longer/more if you want.

Very detailed explanation, very informative. I have a lot to consider. Thank you very much.