You may think that captaining a cruise ship is as easy as driving a car. However, it takes a quick mind and a good education to become a captain of a ship. On top of the traditional schooling needed, prospective cruise ship captains need to get specific certifications to achieve their career goals.
Don’t Skip School
[Via Flickr by ralph and jenny]
First and foremost, to become a cruise ship captain you need to finish high school or have your GED. Most students that go into this field are in the top five percent of their class. Because of this, it is important to keep good grades. Math and science are the most important subjects to focus on when working toward becoming a captain.
After high school, you will need to get a Bachelor of Science degree in one of the degree fields offered. There are numerous options when it comes to this schooling. For example, a student pursuing a cruise captain career could study marine transportation, logistics and intermodal transportation, marine engineering, and more.
The U.S Coast Guard directly regulates the degree programs offered for captains. Those pursuing this field will need to be admitted to, and receive a degree from, one of the state academies that offer these programs or the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.
[Via Flickr by brettneilson]
As with many professions, there is licensing required to become a cruise ship captain. The U.S. Coast Guard requires all captains to receive a Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC), which proves the knowledge and skills of the potential captain. Additionally, it verifies that you are old enough to become a cruise ship captain – the age requirement is 16 years old – and that you have passed a medical exam and drug test.
A Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) is also needed to become a ship captain. This credential proves that you are a citizen or permanent resident of the United States. It also states that you have passed the required background and security check. A prospective captain needs to get this through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Hey There, Skipper!
[Via Flickr by |vvaldzen|]
Once you have completed all the schooling and have your credentials, you aren’t ready to become a captain just yet. You will also need a lot of experience on a cruise ship. One of the best ways to get this experience is to get an internship on a ship while you are still in school. After you have graduated; however, it is essential to your career path to get a job as a deck officer or third mate. No one starts out at the top on a ship. You need to work your way up.
Being promoted through the ranks is the only way to become a ship captain. This is required so that you have the experience and knowledge needed to captain Celebrity Cruises to Bermuda or trips closer to home.
Calm, Cool, and Collected
[Via Flickr by Barbara L. Slavin]
Let’s be honest here. Not everyone who starts out wanting to be a captain makes it. It is hard work and requires a lot of dedication. To become a ship captain, confidence and knowledge are key. Protocols and regulations need to be strictly followed, which requires attention to detail. Since the captain needs to work closely with the crew and deals with the guests on a regular basis, it is also important to be charismatic.
It is difficult to become a cruise ship captain. For those who pursue this career, it is also highly rewarding. Cruise ship captains around the world enjoy a career unlike any other.
Charli is a freelance lifestyle, technology, health, and travel writer exploring all things that are beautiful. Whether it’s about family life, what’s new and cool in technology, or planning to travel to Barbados. Charli is exploring it all. When she is not out exploring and blogging, she loves to go kayaking and watch old movies.