Seattle Maritime Academy Engineering Track vs Gulf walk on, specific question

This question specifically relates to quickness of the opportunity to advance beyond the rank of QMED to become a “Designated Duty Engineer.” Regarding this position, I read the following quote in another post:

"I was hoping for a big HP ship since they are doing away with DDE’s soon(thats what I was told anyway). Polar Tankers was suggested and sounded great but they haven’t taken any interns for the last 2 yrs. Big ships, big engines and sounds like a good place to work. Contacting them for info soon. A recent graduate did an internship with Trident and seemed to like it, might look there, but wasn’t sure if benefits were offered. But 7,000hp and 12hr days can definitely get you that sea time. Most people might think MSC, but that is most certainly not the way I want to go. Was going to start calling some GOM companies, but not sure since they don’t seem to be hiring people."

Here is what you get from SMA:
"Graduates will be eligible for a U.S. Merchant Mariners Document endorsed with the following engine room (QMED) ratings: Electrician; Oiler; Pumpman; Refrigerating Engineer; and Junior Engineer. If the student’s at-sea internship was on a vessel with steam propulsion, he/she will also be eligible for a “fireman/watertender” QMED rating. Furthermore, graduates receive 8 months sea service credit towards a license as Designated Duty Engineer of Steam or Motor Vessels of Not More Than 1,000 Horsepower. This sea service credit is 2/3 of the total required sea service for this license. Be eligible to examine for Designated Duty Engineer Limited – 1000 Horsepower, provided they can present 4 months of sea service as QMED.

Is the DDE 1000 position what I should be striving to eventually obtain as a future QMED, or should I try to get on larger vessels of above 4,000 during the intership part of the training in order to eventually become an assisstant engineer? And if so, how many months, years and headaches would you avoid to spend a year at SMA to obtain these credentials compared with to trying to do it on your own?

Not much call for DDE 1000’s, from what I’ve seen.

I applaud your ambition to get ahead. Everyone wants to make more money for sure.

What I would recommend to you is concentrating on getting to the rank of QMED and then being prepared to spend about four or five years at that level. The most important aspect of being a hawsepiper is gaining real, usable experience.

When you get to the level of licensed engineer you are really responsible for a lot of important shit. People will be counting on you to do your job properly, and you’ll be grateful for every day you spent as a QMED learning from the people who went before you.

Six months sea time as a wiper and then 1080 days as a QMED will let you sit for 3rd Assistant. Get to that level and then the learning REALLY begins.

Also, engine room hawsepipers try to get on vessels with as much horsepower as possible - 4000 HP minimum. The bigger the engines, the bigger the license you can get.

Get stuck with a small license and the job opportunities are fewer and further between.