Maritime Apprenticeship Programs
Do you want to go to sea? Do you want to work on the bridge of ships, tugs, ferries, research vessels or mega-yachts?
The Maritime Apprenticeship Program (MAP) offers the fastest track in the industry to a credential as a licensed deck officer. Even with no prior maritime experience, in just over two years, you can obtain a U.S. Coast Guard-issued Mate’s license.
The MITAGS MAP Deck program is approved by the United States Coast Guard (USCG), the State of Washington Workforce Training, Education and Coordinating Board (WTECB), and the State of Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC). This program is also approved by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs and honors the Post 9/11 GI Bill® for eligible veterans and their dependents.
This program is the proud recipient of the Department of Labor’s Registered Apprenticeship Innovator and Trailblazer Award (2012) and the Lloyd’s List Training Award for North America (2015).
Structure of the Maritime Apprenticeship
The MAP currently consists of three distinct license pathways: Limited Tonnage Workboat Mate, Unlimited Tonnage Third Mate, and Unlimited Tonnage Inland Mate. Each pathway has its own unique advantages, and the choice comes down to the type of vessels you would like to work on. Our advisors can help explain the pros and cons of each pathway.
No matter which path you choose, your training will alternate between sequences of classroom instruction and time sailing aboard working vessels. These onboard experiences are designed to reinforce the lessons learned ashore. As a result, you will be able to quickly apply your new knowledge on the job, learning from seasoned professionals.
For the sea service training component, you must be selected by a partner company, with which you will remain throughout the entire program. MITAGS facilitates this process as part of the program application.
Upon successful program completion, you will be eligible to take the U.S. Coast Guard exam for a Mate’s license appropriate to the size and route of the vessels you have obtained your sea time on. The Workboat Mate and Unlimited Third Mate programs meet STCW requirements and assessments, so these graduates also receives their Able Seafarer-Deck and OICNW credentials and can sail internationally.
General Eligibility Requirements
If you are interested in applying for a Maritime Apprenticeship Program, you must meet specific requirements first. Apprentices must be:
- At least 19 years old: You need to be at least 21 years old to receive an officer endorsement. Since the apprenticeship program takes two years, you need to be at least 19 when you apply. There is no upper age limit for the program, but apprentices must be in good physical health.
- In possession of a high school diploma: The apprenticeship programs require a high school diploma or equivalent, such as a GED.
- Eligible for a U.S. passport: After completing the apprenticeship program, you are eligible for the Officer in Charge of Navigational Watch endorsement, which is open to U.S. citizens only.
- Physically fit: You must meet the required medical and physical standards in order to qualify for a U.S. Coast Guard-issued Merchant Mariner Medical Certificate.
- Able to pass a math test: Apprentices need to demonstrate basic math ability by passing a math entrance exam. You need a score of at least 85%.
- In possession of a Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC): Every Merchant Mariner must have an MMC, which requires a physical exam and drug test.
- In possession of a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC): To work in onboard vessels and in a shipyard, you need a TWIC.
Learn More In Our MAP Video!
Click below to view the MAP brochure.
Maritime Apprenticeship Programs Brochure
Check back for 2025 offerings.
WORKBOAT MATE PROGRAM
- Primarily apprentice on:
- Supply Vessels
- Salvage vessels
- Small cruise ships and research vessels up to 1600 GRT
- Crew size between 4-8
- Voyages approximately between one week to two months in length
- Trips remain primarily ‘near coastal’
- Remain with same company
- Traditionally solo watch stander on the bridge
- Involved in cargo operations
UNLIMITED INLAND MATE
Grand River Navigation
- Serve on bulk carriers operating on the Great Lakes operated by Grand River Navigation
- Crew size between 12-22
- Work with a helmsman/quartermaster
- Involved in vessel loading operations
Washington State Ferries
- Crew size between 12-22
- Trips limited to Puget Sound waters
- Crewmembers go home every night
- Work with a helmsman/quartermaster
- Involved in vehicle loading operations
- Full scholarships available
UNLIMITED TONNAGE THIRD MATE OCEANS
The routes are more international, crews are larger and dispatches are longer. A Third Mate unlimited tonnage license and more experience at sea make a mariner highly capable and employable on a global scope.
In this program, you may apprentice on:
- Container ships
- Cruise ships
- Military support vessels
- Research ships and all vessels of ‘unlimited’ tonnage (over 1600 GRT)
Benefits of a Maritime Apprenticeship Program
Participating in a Maritime Apprenticeship Program offers several benefits for individuals who want to build a maritime career:
- College not required: You don’t need a college degree to enroll in an apprenticeship program. The programs allow you to pursue a fulfilling career without the high cost of a college degree. You’ll also be on your way to a career in less time, just two years, with an apprenticeship.
- Assistance finding a partner company: The apprenticeship program has strong relationships with numerous partner companies. We help to match apprentices with the right company.
- Ability to earn while learning skills: During the onboard training portion of the program, you’ll spend 360 calendar days at sea and will receive a stipend for the days you work. The size of the stipend varies by company..
- Job placement support: Many apprentices continue to work with the same companies they completed their at-sea training with.
- Connection to a community: When you complete a Maritime Apprenticeship Program, you become part of the seafaring community. You’ll work closely with others who have similar goals and values to you.
- Access to a rewarding career: An apprenticeship program can be the first step to take to a well-paying, fulfilling career. Maritime positions often pay higher wages than shore-based careers and offer greater stability than land-based jobs.