Good Day,

I was looking all over the internet for reviews of STAR center, MITAGS, or MPT for the Chief Mate upgrade program and can’t find a whole lot regarding it. I even looked in this forum and didn’t really find a lot. Does anyone know which one is better? I am a Federal MMP Union member by the by.

I noticed for MITAGS the cost is roughly $25,000, for STAR its roughly $14,000, and MPT is roughly $17,000. Cost of lodging for all of them are about the same.

MITAGS offers a longer License PREP, but other than that, I don’t understand the huge price differences…is MITAGS a better product and thus able to charge more?

Any comments on the three schools / your experiences as well as links to reviews would be much appreciated.
Inquiringly and gratefully yours,

I’m currently taking the Advanced Cargo class at MPT. I have not taken any classes at STAR or MITAGS, so no help there, sorry. I do find that I like it better than any of the other schools I’ve attended.

If you’re MM&P isn’t MITAGS free?

Thanks for the feedback Samat3!
I’m Federal MM&P - not free :’( (I talked to my Union Rep)

So after comparing STAR with MITAGS, I found the _optional courses(_for the sign offs) they offer differ by length and content.
For instance STAR offers for her additional classes

  • Advanced Cargo - 5 days
  • Marine Propulsion Plants - 5 days
  • Advanced Navigation - 5 days
  • Management of Medical Care - 0.5 days (STAR has this under Required Courses)
  • Advanced Celestial - 5 days
  • License Prep - As Required*

While MITAGS additional classes are comparably longer and missing Cel Nav as exampled here:

  • Cargo Handling and Stowage - 10 days
  • Marine Propulsion Plants - 5 days
  • Ship Management - 10 days
  • Medical PIC - 10 days
  • Voyage Planning and Electronic Navigation - 5 days
  • Advanced Watch-keeping - 5 days
  • License Prep - 5 weeks

They also differ via the Mandatory Courses
For instance STAR offers

  • Ship-handling - 10 days
  • Advanced Meteorology - 5 days
  • Advanced Stability - 5 days
  • Leadership and Management - 5 days
  • Search and Rescue - 2 days

Whereas MITAGS offers

  • Advanced Ship-handling - 10 days total
  •                 Search and Rescue included in this course
  • Advanced Meteorology and Ocean Science - 5 days
  • Advanced Stability - 5 days
  • Leadership and Managerial Skills - 5 days
  • ECDIS - 5 days

Notice MITAGS includes ECIDS.

Conclusively, MITAGS offers longer classes, but it does not offer the Celestial Navigation. (I’m sure this is included in the License Prep). STAR offers shorter classes…

It makes me wonder what is really required. Next stop is the USCG site to check out which assessments really need to be signed off…(For instance, are there really any Celestial Assessments, Is Medical PIC required or just a half day of Medical Care required, ect ect ect…)

Hope this helps anyone whose lookin’ at the two…

Thanks for the replies from both of you!

Very Sincerely,


I took ChiefMate classes at MPT, Mid Atlantic, and STAR.

MidAtlantic is a overall fair school. I say this because the instruction is good, and if you have an issue they will solve it. You can also work with them to set up classes that are not already scheduled. Sometimes they will do night classes. Stay at the Holliday inn near Top Golf, obviously go to top golf

STAR. I only took Management of Medical here. I was however very impressed with their operation. Friend of mine took shiphandling there and loved it.

MPT, I have heard good things from others. That being said, I took Adv shiphandling there. Teachers were great. First week we had one simulator that barely worked. Administration double booked classes for the second week. We had to share simulators with the DP class. They do not have a large full bridge sim set up yet. The two smaller sims are set up and are new. They are in the process of moving buildings. MPT refused to make this right any other way than a credit with the school. I was finished taking classes by this point. I Air BnB’d an apartment for the two weeks I was here. Much cheaper and you will have a spot to cook your own food.

I completed all assessments onboard and took the 5 required classes. , Adv Shiphandling, Meteo, Stability, SAR, Management of Medical. I already had ECDIS and Leadership

Ive heard good things about MITAGS as well. I think one of the Pilot associations has a partnership with them. That might make their shiphandling class something to take.

Manned Models at Mass Maritime are supposed to be good too.


Management of Medical


You’ll find all the assessments, with the sign off sheets, in NVIC 10-14 on the NMC web site. The Management of Medical Care is all that is required for the license upgrade. (NVIC 10-14) Only 2 schools offer that. Again found on the NMC web site. Others incorporate that into Medical PIC. (Longer class = more money for them?) Looking at my copy of NVIC 10-14, Cel Nav in the assessments appears to be pretty light. The class may be helpful to prep for the CG test.

The Advanced Cargo class I’m taking, at MPT, has several extra assessments that I wasn’t expecting to be included. They don’t list them on their web site for many classes, and just got the whole list when I asked the instructor. They do have all 3 simulators set up and working now. I’m going to try and come back here for 2 of the last 3 required classes I need. Seriously thinking STAR for Mgt of Med Care. They just don’t offer it very often, I’m not good with blood, and MPT has a Hospital ER Lab as part of their Med-PIC class.

I did the Advanced Stability at Mid Atlantic (MAMA), and hated it. They didn’t try to teach anything, just threw formulas and CG questions at you. It helps me to know why, and I’m sure that’s the reason the IMO/CG requires the class too. MAMA does work with you on scheduling. I needed 1 class years ago, and they scheduled 1 just for me, at my convenience. Being 1 on 1 helped and was a great learning experience. They have 1 simulator which is very realistic, if smallish. SAR is not included in their Advanced Shiphandling class, but offered as needed. All the basic safety, FF, radar, etc classes are great there.

I have taken classes at both MPT and Mid-Atlantic. They are among the best schools. The scheduled classes are also reliably held as advertised. MPT does most classes every month. My classmates at MPT where smarter and more interesting than my classmates at MAMA.

The Monday morning long waiting line and sign up at MPT is a total cluster-f… MPT is a little too Brit for some folks, but I enjoyed it.

MAMA is too military for some folks, but It didn’t bother me too much. Traffic is horrible in Norfolk. Stay at the hotels closest to the school; they are worth the extra money. Otherwise you will waste a lot of time waiting for shuttles and in shuttles stuck in traffic.

I much prefer Fort Lauderdale; it’s much much nicer than Norfolk. Lots of cheap direct flights to Fort Lauderdale (especially in the winter) and much cheaper hotels and car rentals. Not that you need a car. No cheap flights to Norfolk. Lots of good restaurants and watering holes in every price range. Park Place Suites is the best MPT discount hotel deal. Comfort Inn is terrible. It’s an easy walk to school or a short shuttle ride with minimal traffic. Many hotels, including Park Place Suites provide free airport shuttles. Lots of good Air BnB opportunities in Fort Lauderdale.

[quote=“Trickel122, post:4, topic:44954, full:true”]
It makes me wonder what is really required. Next stop is the USCG site to check out which assessments really need to be signed off…(For instance, are there really any Celestial Assessments, Is Medical PIC required or just a half day of Medical Care required, ect ect ect…) [/quote]

See 46 CFR 11.305 and NVIC 10-14 (make sure to check the current version of the NVIC, there was some changes a month or two ago). You need the following courses:

Advanced Shiphandling
Advanced Stability
Advanced Meteorology
Search and Rescue
Management of Medical Care
Leadership and Managerial Skills

You also need assessments. These are detailed in NVIC 10-14. Some of the courses offered by the schools you describe that are not required include assessments. So you should consider the feasibility of doing the assessments on your own and determine if this is a compelling reason for you to take the course that isn’t required.

James D. Cavo
U.S. Coast Guard
Mariner Credentialing Program
Policy Division (CG-MMC-2)

A HUGE Thank you to everyone for replying! All of the information was extreamly helpful. I personnaly appreciated all the time everyone spent on answering. Again- Thank you so much!

Fair Winds and have a great Weekend!
Very Gratefully and Sincerely yours,



I did all my CM upgrade courses at STAR Center in 2009 due to reciprocity with SIU. Almost every class was fantastic. They were the best package at the time (considering cost and competencies/sign offs covered) and it looks like they still are. The campus and location was nice too. Just don’t go West of the RR tracks!