Thanks for the replies everyone, there were some excellent suggestions. Some were curious about additional info regarding myself, so here it is:
[li]27 year old lifelong Alaskan resident currently living in Anchorage
[/li][li]Graduated from University of Alaska Anchorage, B.S. biological sciences, 3.7 gpa
[/li][li]Have experience working in industrial environments (concrete plants, gravel pits, block plants)
[/li][li]Prior to deciding to finish my degree I supervised the largest concrete plant in Anchorage (which is peanuts compared to elsewhere). Regardless, I was responsible for ~10-15 millions of production annually.
[/li][li]I’m humble, hardworking, easy to get along with and eager to learn
[/li][li]My grandfather was a merchant mariner, which is what initially piqued my interest in this field. I’d pick his brain, but he’s no longer with us. Plus, he comes from a time when business was done with a firm handshake rather than piles of bureaucratic paperwork.
SUNY Maritime and Texas A&M graduate programs both seem like good options for a deck license. However, I was leaning toward engineering mainly because I’ve read there are greater/more stable job prospects (correct me if I’m wrong, please) – but I think I’d be happy on the deck too. I’d also like to avoid crippling loads of debt if possilbe (already have a mortgage). One of the reasons I was curious about a vocational program for QMED is that I could start working/earning income sooner while working toward a license.
Again, thank you for your time. It’s greatly appreciated.