Considering career change, seeking guidance on job market for engineers!

Dear mariner,

I am currently a student at a 4 year university and am considering a switch to maritime school. If I go, I would most likely go to SUNY for marine operations on the engine room track and sit for my engineering license. I think I would love the merchant mariner’s lifestyle and have read a lot about it. However, I have heard mixed things about the job market. I’ve heard the US doesn’t have a merchant fleet anymore and thus it is hard to find seagoing jobs (which is what I want). I also see stats and read about how job positions in the industry are growing, and that ship’s engineers graduate maritime school and get great jobs very easily. Which one is closer to the truth? Any guidance and advise would be much appreciated!

S. B.

You have a good plan there.

The problems finding jobs you hear about are new guys who are starting out as OS’s. Those that graduate from a university with a degree and a license will never want for a job at sea or on land, especially if you go engineering.

While the deep sea US fleet is small it is growing with several shipping companies are building new Jones Act Ships, but there are more options then just ships. You have tugs with some of the companies with ATB’s wanting their officers to have unlimited license. Al the oil patch although things are rough right now it will eventually turn around like it always does. The boats are getting more and more advanced and the big companies love engineer’s with a formal education.

That said it’s not like the movies.

Thanks, that was pretty helpful. Aren’t a lot of shipping companies international as well? So even if they are not US-flagged ships, they would probably still hire a US grad with an engineering license right?