Cal Maritime vs Texas Maritime


This is my first post! I’m interested in applying to a maritime academy, and have narrowed down my interests to the academies in Vallejo, CA and Galveston, TX. I’ve heard a mix of things, that it doesn’t matter which academy you go to, that the academy you go to determines your opportunities, that Texas is one of the worst, that they’re all basically the same, etc, etc. I’d just like to hear what anyone’s else experiences or opinions specifically with these two are so I can make a more informed decision. I’m finding it difficult to find information of either of these schools outside of their websites.

I’m currently leaning towards Texas A&M because rent seems to be cheaper than California, South Texas is an environment I’m used to, and I have a sister that lives nearby.

On the other hand, as a deep southerner I hate the Deep South, I’ve have heard that Cal Maritime is a much better school, and I’ve also heard that Texas A&M doesn’t offer much opportunities outside of working on oil rigs in the gulf.

Background on me:
I’m a 24 year old woman from Louisiana, currently living in Boston. I hate the cold and New England (which made it easy to narrow down my options.) No interest in joining the military. I work as a bartender and will probably be trying to work as one while going to school. Won’t be applying for at least another year as I’ll be boarding a cruise ship soon as a bartender, so I’ll hopefully have a good amount of money saved for tuition/expenses until I can get in-state tuition. I want to get a bachelor’s in marine transportation.

Thank you for any information and advice!

I’ll preface this with the fact that I graduated from TMA. I think like any education it is what you make of it. While Texas sending most of its graduates to the oil field was true at one time that is no longer the case. With the sudden end of the red neck goldrush many of my classmates are working deep sea, competing for jobs on ships with everyone else. Some are on tugs, cruise ships, containerships, Ro/Ro, tankers, shipyards, land jobs, etc. I would debate the statement that CMA is a great school, and TMA a lesser one. I have sailed with graduates of every academy and have seen great officers and terrible ones. It’s less about the schooling they receive more about the person and how the apply the knowledge and skills learned afterwards. You’ll graduate with the same license that everyone else gets after four years at a maritime academy. What you do from there is up to you.


I have sailed with folks from both schools. One difference between the two schools that may help you weigh out your pros and cons is at CMA the deckies come out with a mate of towing along with their thirds license. If you have no desire to sail on tugs or are going the engineering route this won’t be a big deal obviously.

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If you’re going for the license, really doesn’t matter. There’s going to be BS you have to deal with at all of them, even if you live off campus. Do whatever makes the most sense financially.

I was not aware of the Towing Program at CMA, but I understand TAMUG offers a DP induction course, which would open up oilfield jobs for you. Seems like the industry is becoming more specialized all the time.

Just make sure you want to sail before getting into all this. Saw a lot of classmates get kicked out or give up before graduating. I’ve seen even more take jobs on harbor tugs and other very limited tonnage vessels or not sail at all. Consider hawsepiping if you have any doubt. Best of luck!

Anybody who tells you any, and I do mean any, of the US maritime schools is any better than the others is fooling himself and is a hapless homer for his academy. I graduated from one, sailed with the others, and been to all of them. They are all staffed with the same caliber of people, have roughly comparable programs and teach the exact same curriculum. They also all have a large number of knucklehead cadets AND faculty/staff members too! So you get to enjoy hanging out with some real boneheads while learning your trade. Don’t get your hopes up, it’s just a trade school. Do your 3-4 years and move on. Texas will be your cheapest based on a numbers of factors. Bottom line pick one where YOU want to live for a couple years and do the thing.

If there was one that was noticeably better than the others I’d be happy to recommend it but the truth is they are all equally mediocre…


You going for Deck or Engineering? I believe Texas only licenses you for Diesel, whereas California does Diesel, Steam and Optional Gas Turbine I believe. Both schools offer paths to PE.

I’m a CMA grad and I say go to wherever is cheaper.

TMA grad here. I concur with wherever is cheaper. Between CMA and TMA, you’re getting about the same experience. The DP training/Towing training is going to really be your only difference probably.

As an Executive and a graduate of TAMUG, you make your life by your desire, honesty and grit. School will give you an opportunity, but no maritime academy will give you a leg up. It is about you as a person.

I would also invite you check out Great Lakes Maritime Academy. While we do have winter here in Michigan, we also have an Engineering program in a smaller college setting at a reasonable price. If you have previous college credit, we can work with you on what courses will transfer and possibly shorten your time at our academy. We do have a large population of non-traditional students. If you have any questions, contact us at