Choosing a maritime academy

Choosing a maritime academy

By May 1, thousands of high school students throughout the nation will choose a college to attend in the fall. Some of these students will attend a maritime academy.

The United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) is great, but it’s certainly not the only game in town. There are six state-supported maritime academies throughout the country that each have a great reputation of their own. They all post very high job placement rates and boast graduates that have attained high ranks in the industry.

In this blog post, we at Out2Sea wanted to focus on what makes each state maritime program unique.

maritime academy students

Maritime academy students take a photo with Capt. Christopher Engdahl, Pacific Partnership mission commander. (Photo credit: Tech. Sgt. Araceli Alarcon)

Massachusetts Maritime Academy

One of the oldest and most well-established state maritime academies is Massachusetts Maritime. Being a household name has afforded the school the ability to offer new and exciting programs to its students. For example, in the fall of 2012 Mass. Maritime began a cutting-edge Energy Systems Engineering degree program, one of the first of its kind. The major focuses on the design and implementation of both conventional and renewable energy systems.

Massachusetts Maritime also offers a Shanghai Exchange Program, where cadets spend about 100 days studying in the Port of Shanghai, a deep-water port.

Maine Maritime Academy

With only about 1,000 full-time undergraduate students, Maine Maritime is pretty small. But this could be a good thing, as not everyone is looking for a big college. The school also has a decent male-to-female ratio, something that many other maritime academies can’t brag about. About 15 percent of students at this school identify as female, according to US News.

Life at Maine Maritime is pretty demanding, and the school requires each undergrad to complete a co-op during their time there. But this rigor often translates to greater success after graduation.

SUNY Maritime

Students entering SUNY Maritime this fall won’t quite get to reap these benefits – but things can only get better at the school starting in 2022. That’s when SUNY will receive a brand new training ship, the Empire State VII, thanks to a budget bill Congress passed back in March. Not that things were ever “bad” at SUNY – but this new ship features an extra engine room for training purposes, eight classrooms, a full training bridge, lab spaces and even an auditorium. Students will use the ship pretty much all year, as well as during their “sea terms.” How’s that for a quality maritime education?

Texas A&M Maritime Academy

This maritime academy, the only one on the Gulf of Mexico, is one of the largest, with enrollment figures around 2,000 each year. It also has all the academic resources a larger school has to offer. Students who aren’t sure if they want to strictly follow the Merchant Marine route need not worry here, as the school offers degree options in marine biology, marine fisheries and other disciplines.

One of Texas Maritime’s best-kept secrets is its ‘3+2’ program that allows students to get a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in five years.

Great Lakes Maritime Academy

Believe it or not, maritime shipping on the Great Lakes is booming, and these vessels need highly-skilled mariners to operate them. Of course, cadets at Great Lakes Maritime can work on deep-sea vessels too once they graduate. That’s because the school offers great licensing programs that allow students to obtain the qualifications for both.

Furthermore, through the school’s partnership with Ferris State University, cadets can earn their maritime licenses while also pursuing degrees in business administration – all in four years.

Cal Maritime

Located a stone’s throw away from Berkeley and San Francisco, Cal Maritime is certainly in a great spot. Although the school requires students to wear uniforms and participate in a regiment just like the other maritime academies, its requirements in this area are a lot less strict. For example, the school no longer requires students to participate in Navy Reserve Merchant Marine training.

Cal Maritime also boasts one of the newest and best training ships in the country, the T.S. Golden Bear III. Its young life as a training ship began in 1996.

Do you have what it takes to get into a maritime academy? Find out by reading one of our past blog posts!

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