what degree do you need to become a Ship Engineer
majors for Ship Engineers

Ship Engineers

Other names for this job might include Barge Engineer, Chief Engineer, Deck Engineer, Deckhand, Engineer, Equipment Operating Engineer, Ferry Engineer, Fire Boat Engineer, Fire Department Marine Engineer, Harbor Engineer

  • $78970
  • 61%
    Job satisfaction
  • Medium
    Becoming one
  • Medium
    Job growth
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Be A Ship Engineer: What You Really Need

In this requirements guide for Ship Engineers, you will find out what do you need to become a Ship Engineer and what it takes to become one.

After reading this, you will be able to plan for your future if you want to be a Ship Engineer.

Degree required

Recommended degree level

Post-Secondary Certificate


High School Diploma

Bachelors degree

Some college courses

No degree

Generally, employers are looking for Ship Engineers who have a Certificate. They also prefer someone who is good in Critical Thinking and Active Listening.

1 common question that we always get is what major or degree do I need to become A Ship Engineer or what courses do I need to take.

We did a survey to ask other Ship Engineers what did they major in college or university and here are the most popular majors that came up.

Marine Science/Merchant Marine Officer

Ship engineers must have a bachelor’s degree in marine engineering, naval architecture, marine systems engineering, or marine engineering technology. Some ship engineers have bachelor’s degrees in mechanical or electrical engineering. Programs in marine engineering, naval architecture, marine systems engineering, and marine engineering technology are accredited by ABET.


schools for Ship Engineers

Interested in becoming A Ship Engineer? Find the right schools that can help you to become one. You will need some of your details to get you matched with the right college or university. This service is free thanks to our sponsors.

Questions to ask the university or college:

  1. How many students are in the program?
  2. Is your program accredited?
  3. How many faculty members do you have? Do they hold the right credentials?
  4. What is your job placement rate?
  5. Does your school hold career fairs or other on-campus events with employers? How many employers typically attend?
  6. How many of your students have at least one internship by graduation?
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How long does it take


You may need some previous work-related skill, knowledge or experience to be A Ship Engineer.

For example: An electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.

To become A Ship Engineer, you will usually need 1 to 2 years of training which includes both on-the-job experience and training with experienced workers.

How long does it take
Over 8 to 10 years

Work experience
4 to 6 years
4 to 6 years

6 to 8 years

Over 10 years

2 to 4 years

8 to 10 years

Job training
Over 4 years
4 to 10 years

2 to 4 years

1 to 2 years

Over 10 years

0 to 1 month

Most Ship Engineers have 4 to 6 years work experience and Over 4 years job training.

To increase your chances of getting a job, you can look for job training while studying to be one.

License and certifications

Do you need any license or certification
Recommended but not required

Along with earning a bachelor’s degree, ship engineers usually take an exam for a mariner’s license from the U.S. Coast Guard. The first stage of the license is known as the 3rd Assistant License. With experience and further testing, a ship engineer may get a 2nd and then a 1st Assistant License. The highest level of licensure is known as Chief Assistant. Higher grades of licensing are usually accompanied by higher pay and more responsibilities.

Skills required

We asked other Ship Engineers if they could only have 5 skills, what would they be. Here is what they said.

1. Critical Thinking what does this mean
2.Active Listening what does this mean
3.Equipment Maintenance what does this mean
4.Troubleshooting what does this mean
5.Monitoring what does this mean
= Hot in-demand that most employers are looking for

We did some research and found that most successful Ship Engineers have these 5 common characteristics. Most of them had Attention to Detail and Dependability.

1.Attention to Detail
3.Self Control

Knowledge required

Just like any other job, you will need some know-hows to do the job. To become a successful Ship Engineers you need to acquire knowledge in these 5 key areas.

1. Mechanical what does this mean
2.Public Safety and Security what does this mean
3.Engineering and Technology what does this mean
4.Transportation what does this mean
5.Mathematics what does this mean

As A Ship Engineer, you may also be required to know how to use certain Facilities management software, Facilities management software and Data base user interface and query software tools.

Computerized maintenance management system CMMS software (Facilities management software)
Damen DAMOS (Facilities management software)
Kongsberg Maritime K-LOG Electronic Logbooks (Data base user interface and query software)
Marine Software Marine Planned Maintenance (Facilities management software)
Marine Software Marine Safety Manager (Document management software)
= Hot in-demand that most employers are looking for

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Transportation Transportation Operations

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Additional resources

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