College/ Workforce

Hey everyone, just had a few questions about what route I should take. So a little background I did 4 years in the Marines, and will be finishing up 4 years in the Coast Guard in the next few months both as enlisted, not officer. I’ve really enjoyed my time at sea with both branches and am looking to transition into the Maratime industry specifically on shipping/tankers. I’ve looked at alot of options, MSC, NOAA, and the state martime academics (I’m to old to go to merchant marine academy 27.) Also I should have enough time as a deck member to take the exam for AB. I’m not really I huge fan of the whole maratime college cadet thing, part of the reason I’m getting out is I’m tired of the whole military lifestyle, but I’m not opposed to doing it if it’s the best option. Also wondering if a regular degree would be useful at all. Thank you, any input would be helpful. Sorry in advanced for the Grammer, and possible repeat question, we’re in a foreign port right now with bad internet so the search feature isn’t really working, and I’m typing on a phone.

Since you pointed out you’re having trouble searching, here are a couple recent threads that likely will answer some of your questions:

There’s some decent discussion in this one of you disregard the off topic ranting:

Comments here about starting academy at a later age:

And this one:

It’s not that big of a deal, considering as prior service you’d be a day student at a school like SUNY anyway, which means you don’t have to put up with 3/4 of the nonsense regular cadets do. You’d have first class cadet privileges without 99% of the responsibility or command authority. It’s a cushy existence.

With your current seatime, you may even be able to shorten this program. Most will probably agree, if you plan to sail your whole career, lack of degree shouldn’t hurt you.

Not if the program is for or includes STCW OICNW, unless you have more than 2 years of time. For STCW, it’s approved as a comprehensive program, including sea service. The STCW requirement is met with a program that includes at lease one year of service. If the service isn’t during the program, it is not “included” in the program. But, if you have at least 2 years of credible service (note that military service is discounted), you may reach the alternate requirement of 3 years of service sooner than the full program (the service you get in the program can be added to prior time to reach the 3 years).

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I went back to a 1yr maritime school at 32yrs old. It can be done. I’d recommend looking really hard at a 4yr academy. You can go sail with MSC but it’s getting much harder to get the license due to all the oicnw classes.

These regulations/requirements are not getting easier or less costly to obtain. Glad back in the day my company picked up the tab to keep the fleet manned and in compliance. Not so many as generous in this day and time. Not my favorite, but MSC does provide a lot of the training needed.

Go to the most expensive, highest ranked yellow ribbon school you can on your GI Bill, get a STEM degree, and leave this idea alone. you’ll be glad you did.

Use the GI Bill to your best advantage. That’s good advice, many don’t have that opportunity, and thank you for your service. There are quite a few maritime schools that can accomodate you at a very fair price as opposed to people who haven’t served in our military. If you are gonna go to sea and miss your family, get the most jack you can. JMHO

cmon, really? How’s coding treating you?

A regular degree would totally be worth it, but don’t give up on maritime industry. Can always go get a degree later. Four year option is great given your age, but there are other programs that can get you where you want to go. Persistence and patience as there are a lot of unemployed people in all industries right now…use whatever resources are at your disposal.

Go to a maritime school and get a “real” ABET engineering degree (mechanical engineering, electrical, etc) and get the license. BOOM! Magic. Caution, math is hard.

still pigeonholing yourself. The good engineering programs have a much better design background, alumni network, and brand value. With a yellow ribbon giving you a free ride at household brands its a nobrainer.

Do yourself a favor use your GI Bill and go to an academy. I am 37 and currently a sophomore, there are students here older than myself in the license program as well. I have never let my age determine how I feel about doing something and neither should you. That said I absolutely understand being tired of dealing with military stuff especially when considering an academy. If you want to avoid the pseudo military bs entirely I would go to Great Lakes Maritime.

From what I can gather it is a fantastic school and personally I would probably switch myself but I simply have no desire to repeat the STCW courses I have already taken. Good luck to you with whatever you decide to do if you have any questions about Maine Maritime I will do my best to answer them.

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Hopefullly, you got an an earful of experienced mariners wanting to help answer your questions. That GI bill is an excellent tool. Use it wisely. Best of luck sir.

Meh, we are talking about undergraduate engineering degree, not a WASP getting an MBA from an IVY League school.

Example: The alumni network at SUNY is pretty stout…one gets an ABET degree and USCG license, both with plenty of connections.

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I went to CMA with my GI Bill after I finished my time in the Navy. Well, actually I had to do a semester at a community college first in order to get accepted…they required college-level algebra and English 101 within one year of acceptance or something like that.

I did the whole 4 years there and my GI bill was enough to pay for the whole thing, including the cruises. I only paid a few bucks here and there for admin fees and parking stickers (which were a frickin rip off and getting to your car was like climbing the Great Pyramid)

I feel like the academy opens up doors that otherwise remain closed. Look up a variety of random tanker companies and look at the pages on their websites that introduce their executives. A lot of them include ex-captains that went on to get masters degrees or PhDs. I think the current or former CEO of OSG was a captain with them. You won’t be able to set your goals on something like that as easily unless you have that degree. Not saying it can’t be done, but a degree from an academy can only help. Plus, I actually had a lot of fun when I was there.

All too often the prior service types get worked up over nothing when they are confronted with the requirement to be in the regiment.

I saw it on here several years ago where the poster literally whined that he did not want to be told what to do by teenage upperclassmen.

1.) It’s never really THAT bad… and
2.) It’ll happen whether you go unlicensed at an older age and deal with junior officers, or you graduate as a junior officer and see that many Chief Mates and more experienced mates and engineers are as young as you or even younger.

Strange fears they have.

Very good point and I have witnessed this as well. I even remember having been the token military veteran who on the inside is irritated because of having someone younger and who hasn’t “been there done that” telling me what to do, etc. at the academy. I eventually realized it is so sad too bad, gotta put the ego bull shit aside and go through the motions. At the end of the day…academy or the real world…no one gives a shit where you have been or what you accomplished before…despite all of the “thank you for your service” crap. You gotta stand and deliver, suck it up, pay the piper, etc.

I’ve spoken with many prior military in regards to them possibly pursuing a career as a merchant mariner. The number one thing they asked was, would they have to take orders from people younger than them? It seems to be a pervasive concern amongst prior service.
We even had classmates quit or fail to graduate from the academy simply because they said they couldn’t accept being told what to do by younger people. It seemed a shame to me after all the time, money and work they put in.