How to become an instructor?

I’m investigating giving all my years of experience back to the youth. Would like to teach entry level licensing. Anyone have a clear avenue how to get an Instructors license? I’ve heard it’s convoluted. Thanks.

What’s an instructors license?

Train the trainer?

Rephrased, that’s the question. Have the people standing in front of me in those classrooms had to take a course? Is that a thing?

A school that can issue a 6-pack, what hoops did they go through in order to become eligiable to issuer those? That’s the topic in question.

Training the trainer…yes.

Piney Point is usually looking for instructors with an unlimited oceans license and experience to teach. No further credentials required.

To be clear, do you want to be a school or be an instructor at a school? The former requires a lot, the latter a lot less.

I think most schools usually just require instructors hold a credential at least as high or higher than what they are teaching.

(Also, maybe semantics, but schools don’t issue 6-packs, they teach approved curricula that qualify a student to test for and receive a credential from the CG…either way the requirements are in 46cfr)

What’s the topic in question? What the school had to do to be approved or what do you need to teach at a school?

To teach a course, you would need to take train the trainer or show experience in instruction such as a teaching certificate or degree.

Additionally, you would need to hold the appropriate level license for the subject (OUPV, Master 100, 200, etc.). Some courses require experience at certain levels for example many STCW courses require you to have experience as Master or CE over a certain tonnage for a specified amount of time.

Much of the requirements can be found in the CG website. Here is a link: (Training & Assessment)

More can be found in NVIC 03-14

Course provider guidelines can also be found in NVIC 03-14. In general, courses must be submitted in a very specific format and then approved by NMC. The CFR has a table of topics that must be covered for each course. Many courses will follow IMO course models.

Hope that helps…


Good post. Your advice is on the money!

That’s not my experience. I’ve instructed lower level license classes without trainer training.

I have also taught courses without train the trainer, but today if you wanted to teach a course that you are not already approved to teach, you will have to show that you have experience teaching or take train the trainer. They have gotten a lot stricter in the last couple years about approving instructors.

Course providers used to be able to renew a course and simply say “see previously approved list of instructors”", now you have to submit every instructor’s qualifications every time for a renewal of course approval or original. There are folks who were previously approved for courses they can no longer teach unless they update their credentials to meet todays standard.

Some folks may get approved with experience from military careers where they conducted training and assessments. Certain topics like firefighting may be taught by a firefighter (with the appropriate certs) but they will still need to show that they have some training in teaching and assessments.

Approved instructors also need to remember that an approval to teach a course is specific to the course provider… An instructor who is approved to teach (pick a topic) at school A is not approved to teach that course at school B.

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This is great information. NVIC 03-14 is the document you should start with. The training and assessment page also has checklists that detail what needs to be in an application to be a USCG Approved Instructor, teaching USCG Approved Curriculum at a USCG Approved Training Provider. Instructor approvals are also specific to the individual course, and to the individual Training Provider.

You will need a Train the Trainer course, which are pretty hard to come by these days.

Starting your own outfit or getting your own curriculum and facilities approved is a whole other ball game. Also detailed in NVIC 03-14.

Lastly, all of this is subject to an evaluators opinion, guided by the above mentioned documents, at NMC.

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Instructors and QAs are in great demand by schools large and small. I work for a smaller outfit that does mostly lower level licenses and STCW courses. Our biggest problem is getting good reliable mariners who want to instruct. QAs are even harder to come by We built a assessment program for STCW deck, but have mostly stopped doing it for lack of people to conduct the assessments using our program.
Anyone interested, feel free to PM me. It can be a pretty nice gig for folks winding down their careers or younger folks looking to do something related on their off time…

Simple: just be unable to do the things you’re planning on teaching. Having a chip on your shoulder because you washed out helps too.

Sounds like you’d be excellent.


You’re not thrilled that there is a new troll in our midst?? One with a 6 digit MMD reference number no less (if the user name checks out). A senior level troll in our midst. How fortunate we all are. /s :roll_eyes:

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MSC’s term for instructor is Damage Control Officer (DCO). They’re contently hiring. Assistant DCO; need 2nd or more deck/engine. DCO; need CM - 1 A/E or more. They’ll send you to the Train the Trainer class.

Beware, job description states you may be sent out to fill in on ships, and they do force people out against their will. One just retired because he didn’t want to go to sea anymore, but was forced out there with no relief in sight for 6+ months. But, you’ll get the sea time to keep your license current. And, make a butt load of OT in the process.