Foreign Marine Professional looking to obtain USCG License


My recollection is that it’s the same $145 in fees whether you take one exam or all five exams.


So I asked someone at MPT who is helping me navigate (excuse the pun) the USCG credentials process and they’ve told me that it’s one fee for as many exams as you take. I’ve been told so many different things, it’s hard to take anything at face value anymore.
Massive thanks to everyone who is replying though, definitely giving me a bunch to think about.
Anyone fancy hiring temp for ratings?


You can take anything @jdcavo says as Gospel – it’s his job to know this stuff.


Apologies, didn’t see this reply until just now. I’ve not got a Steam license from the MCA, although I did have to cover high pressure boilers as part of my Chief’s.
Might skip that credential, but will have a look into the past exams and see if I think I’d be able to pass it or not without too many issues.
Do you happen to know if there is a free online past exams other than the ones on the NMC website? Or a prep website?


Lapware is the gold standard for USCG exam questions, practice exams, and solutions. It costs money and requires an internet connection.

Capt. Joe’s is on a usb drive, cheap and works without internet. It has good solutions.

Upgrade U is a free app that works without internet. has exam questions. It’s free or cheap.

Mariner Advancement comes on a usb drive at reasonable cost. I once knew an engineer who used it successfully.

If you have constant internet access, you should probably spend the money and get Lapware. It is by far the most popular USCG license prep program.

It will be important to get familiar with the style and wording of the antiquated USCG questions. There are some “trick questions” based mostly upon reading comprehension. Most of the questions come from the World War II era. High school dropouts with modest skills pass these exams. I do not know what books provided by the USCG exam room, if any, that you may be allowed to use for QMED exams.


If you have an iPhone, there is an app called upgradeE. I am not privy to whether it is good or not, look for some reviews. I don’t own any apple products therefore I never looked into it too much.
I have both deck and engine tickets and over the course of the last few years I have used lapware, capt joe, and
Capt joe does not have any engine study guides that I am aware of.
Like tugsailor said, lapware requires an internet connection but it is a pretty slick program/study tool. If you decide to go for multiple qmed ratings I think this would be the most bang for your buck. and are thumb drives and are great tools as well. However, if you decide to go for multiple ratings you may need multiple thumb drives…I’m not sure, you can call them or check their websites.
You could just get a thumb drive for 3rd assistant engineer and study the hell out of that one, that would make you prepared for any qmed rating you decide to take I would think. is a free practice test site, internet required. I’ve used it but the problem is it won’t give you concise practice tests. Its vague compared to the study guides that we have already mentioned.
Android has an app called capt quiz also. I haven’t used it but know some people who have.

Lapware and marineradvancement give good explanations for the problems that require math solutions.
Best to know how to find info in the CFRs very well. They will be in the exam room and can help.


I don’t know how the fees work, that’s why I haven’t responded to that. I’ve been out of the office all week and haven’t had a chance to ask anyone. I’ll find out the answer next week when I’m back in the office.


I’m going to throw out another suggestion here, if someone else said it, I’m sorry I missed it. Get a Marshall Islands (or Vanuatu?) CeC and try and get on with a drilling company as the Chief Engineer you already are.


Haha! Not a bad suggestion. I’ve already got a British Chief’s License, Dutch Chief’s License and a Bahamian Chief’s License, might add some more to the collection!
What I’m trying to do though is get myself into the US Merchant Marine so I can make some cash on my leaves and eventually maybe move full time into the USMM. Would be a ways down the road though I think.


Actually, that’s the best advice I’ve heard. With a foreign passport, a US green card , and MCA, Vanuatu , and Marshall Islands CeCs you should do make very good money working 28/28 on rigs or foreign construction vessels in the US Gulf of Mexico


The exam fee should be per application not per rating. If QMED ratings are one test per rating you’re only going to need to take 4 or 5 tests. Chief Mate unlimited was 9 tests and cost a $45 exam fee.


The stated reason STCW was to raise standards worldwide and cure the unfair advantage of FOC shipping. The problem of course is that we in the US actually expected that by doing so, the additional expenses in training would somehow level the playing field, it actually made us even less competitive as now the FOC crews are getting similar training while still working for a fraction industrialized nationals do and the other first world flags are still subsidized and allowed to employ cheap third world labor for their second and at times first registry ships. The rising tide lifted all ships.


No problems mate, once the Jones Act are all Cabotage laws are rescinded you will have a bright future sailing on US bottoms, send us a postcard from your load/ discharge ports please.


Especially now that CBP has ensured the extermination of any US presence in the GOM fpr the future.