Is the SIU worth it to become engineer?

I want to become a engineer but academy is too expensive would SIU or star center TECH program be worth it? Or is it a bad program all together?

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If the state of today’s seagoing maritime employment is any indication, the most expensive course you can take is to NOT go to a maritime college. At least you recognize the value of the engineering track.

Consider MFOW if you are convinced that the hawsepipe is your best route.

Good luck whichever way you go.


An academy is actually one of the cheapest schools to go to. Considering the education and pay after 4 years, it’s actually a bargain. You will make more your first year than all the money it cost over those 4years

I would argue the opposite in this instance. While it’s true if you’re a hawsepipe working for most non union companies, he’s specifically asking about the SIU. The union provides all the training necessary to upgrade for free so I don’t see how that’s not expensive than an Academy.

How long do you think it will take to pay off academy after graduating?

Do you know anybody who done it?

Who cares if it takes ten years to pay off what’s a 300 dollar payment a month if your making 70-150k a year … go to a academy , wish I did

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I also wish I had, once I realized how many doors it would have opened. I was so young and foolish as to turn down a full scholarship with a reputable company on the Great Lakes because it wasn’t deep sea. I think that is when I officially became the black sheep of the family.

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I disagree with that statement…as a hawespiper you will earn 200k in those four years in pay with maybe 20k in classes(assuming you have to pay out of pocket, Union you don’t…)

Both avenues you list are ways to get your engineers license. From what I gather AMO’s TECH program is pretty much the same as MEBA’s old cadet program. Being a 2 year program you will get your license faster than any other means. The down side is that you will be making a commitment to sail as a licensed engineer for a minimum of 180 employment days annually for a minimum of five (5) years. Don’t expect those jobs (initially anyway) to be top contract employment but it will be work.

The SIU’s Apprentice program will get you there but it will take a lot more time, be harder (given the additional hoops you have to jump through), and you will be subject to life’s distractions while on your journey. Don’t be surprised if it takes 5 to 7+ years to accumulate the necessary sea time to set for a license once you complete the program.

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My young 2nd cousin went through the SIU trainee program. He accelerated through to the JR engineer program. He’s been around the world in 3 years and had some great jobs. Great engineers to train under also. He is 1 year shy of seatime for his 3rd asst. He took a hiatus while his mother had health issues. Working for CNC tool company locally, he advanced so fast that they keep sending him foreign. Says he’ll be going back to sea so he’ll have more time at home!

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Thank you guys for the advice and help. I decided to go join an academy and stop being a cheap bastard.

First of all kudos to you 2nd cousin, but let’s be honest here. After 180s day sea time they can take the 8 week Junior Engineer class offered at Piney Point. He should have gotten at least 120 days from the first job they sent him on after Phase VI. In other words after his second job he should have had enough time to take that class.

You go where the job is.

My son went through SIU’s program and after being sent off to his first job he went back to Piney Point for FOWT. He went back and took the Junior Engineer class when he had the time. He also discovered that shipping can get tough when things get tight while you are a "B’ book. There were a couple sparse years early on. He has been sailing steady the last several years on T-AGS ships, so every job since landing there has been foreign.

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looks like it’s pretty well spelled out here but for clarification I’d say if you wanted to work in the union then go MEBA, I"ve been in MFOW, SIU, The govt. one… what was it?? ha ha, and tried to work with that Florida one which seems a lot people do and don’t have issues with… otherwise you get what you pay for… go to school! I came up the pipe and saw all manner of school trained …uh, ‘people’ and despite the lack of experience and such I always wished I could of gone to a academy , especially NOW, boy, would I know the questions to ask!

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Lil’ cuz stayed busy. He never sat in the hall very long. Graduates with B books had priority over regular B books. He also took the electricians course but stopped sailing shortly after. Said he would probably start back next year.

From what I’ve seen at Piney Point, the school is under-utilized.

With a degree from a school you can go shore side and still have a great job, when the industry takes a shit as it so often does it’s nice to have options. In the real world our licenses with out a degree behind them aren’t worth more the paper they are printed on.

At least your going into the engine room, always work for an engineer it seems like. Plus when ships go autonomous the engineers will be the last to be replaced.

I recall once we were missing a lot of deck. The CME said to a few of us…" can you find anyone other than engineering that could get this tub to the pier"?
None-the-less, well, yea, we can follow a map and such but I’d really appreciate having someone from deck at the helm… so they can take the blame … ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

Sir. It is a chart. A map is what you find on a dennies placemat with a surfing crocodile at the destination.
-a deckie

But my statement is still true. In 4 years you will accrue 80k? In debt. First year 3AE deep sea should make the 100k range first year out