Getting Started in the Industry

I need a little bit of guidance. I’m a Navy veteran (shipserviceman).I have my MMC with the wiper,steward,ordinary seaman endorsements,my passport,and TWIC card. I’m in San Diego but I have no clue on which direction to go in next in order to get employed in the maritime industry. I didn’t get accepted into SIU apprentice program I have no clue why but should I apply for other schools or programs or pay out of pocket for classes to get more endorsements? Any suggestions will help!

What are your goals? Where do you see yourself in 2 years? 5 years? 15 years?

My ultimate goal is to eventually become a maritime officer. In 2,5,and 15 years I want to have a successful seagoing career. Within those 2 and 5 years I would like to get my bachelors degree. I have already invested in real estate which I also have a huge interest in. However, every since leaving the military I tried different jobs but my passion has always been to get back out to sea. I don’t really care whether it’s deck or engineering just want to get started basically.

That GI bill can help you get there.

I’ve been retired for several years so I can’t comment about which courses currently being offered are the best, however, I share your passion with spending time at sea and that’s 90% of the battle.
If you don’t mind being subjected to some amount of Navy style BS, which being a former squid shouldn’t be a problem, and if you go the hawsepiper route, one of the quickest way to reach the exalted rank of captain is to homestead with MSC. If you have your wits about you should make bosun within a few years and within four or five, unlimited mate or master. I’m not an engineering type but I think similar time elements would apply up the AE path to CE.
You can then go wherever you want providing there are jobs but be aware that the number of jobs available to US mariners continues to shrink and engineering backgrounds are more valuable on land than deck jobs if it all comes crashing down.
Or as Sea Eagle suggests, look into using the GI bill at an academy and bypass the grunt work.


So I believe you just answered your own question. It’s obvious. Go to a maritime school. If you live in San Diego, Cal Maritime is a no brainer. You will NEVER get a “degree” while going to sea unless you commit to spending much time ashore. You could do ‘online’ but hard to do when at sea with limited access to the internet.

“Going to sea” by walking into an office from off the street is near impossible. That was the old way.

If you want to be an officer on deck or in the E/R you can get there in no more than 4 years by going through an Academy. If you hustled you MIGHT be able to do the same through the hawsepipe, but unlikely.

As a vet, you have access to college financing, unlike any other student. You’ll get extra points to apply and be accepted. This is easy for you. The pseudo-military atmosphere is nothing for a guy like you. Hope you can get decent grades or have some community college background (before applying, would be even better for you).

If you have any past/current college credits you may even be able to advance past one year and do the Academy route in only three years. I would advise you seriously look at this strategy. It’s easier taking general ed classes outside the Academy than it is inside.

Finally, as a deck officer graduate, I would seriously advise you consider going into the engine room. You have far more job opportunities ahead in your life than a deck student. Unless you hate being in the E/R, its the best career move a young man or woman can do today.

Good luck!

1 Like

If you go to cal maritime, go for the mechanical engineering license track and not marine engineering technology. An “engineering” degree will open a lot more doors for you than a “technology” degree.


Engineer route is the best possible road to success in todays maritime market., Either on board or shoreside. IF that doesn’t float your boat, maritime logistics is a possible avenue to pursue. That GI bill is priceless, use it to your best advantage and what you feel works best for you. Many options are available to you, be smart my friend in using that very valuable asset. A maritime school is highly advisable on this side of the planet, whatever maritime career you decide on.


Recommended to my son to seek engineering at USMMA, He went deck, got lucky with his major in logistics, some not so lucky, still recommend engine department. He golfs often, mostly with engineers that are gainfully employed,and paid quite well, whether seagoing or shoreside. Professor Ales at USMMA was an effing prince. One should be so privilaged to be under his tutoring,mentoring. and/or guidance. Class guy along with his bride.

1 Like