Is becoming a shipmate right for me?
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How to become a Shipmate
The top educational institutions in the United States and Canada include the United States Merchant Marine Academy, the Maritime College of the State University of New York, and the Georgian College Great Lakes International School. Many more vocational colleges exist near the busiest ports in North America, but these institutions represent the programs with the most demand and highest post-graduation employment rate.
Well-paid shipmates more often than not hold at least a bachelor's degree and have many years of sailing experience as well. Also, a large number of shipmates have sailing experience in the military. Not surprisingly, a large number of employers actually prefer to hire highly skilled former naval officers who enter the civilian sea trade.
Jobs as a shipmate require licenses and hands-on training. In the United States, for instance, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security requires that shipmates hold an up-to-date Merchant Marine Credential and a Transportation Worker Identification Credential as well.
Many merchant marine vocational schools include a Merchant Marine Credential along with a degree. In other cases, prospective shipmates can apply to take the Merchant Marine Credential examination at any regional U.S. Coast Guard centre.
Earning a Transportation Worker Identification Credential requires a thorough security screening by the government. In addition to a background check, entry-level shipmates must provide proof of citizenship and proof of residence in the country.