Maritime and Transportation Careers

Do you enjoy working…

...with your hands?
...outdoors or in non-traditional environments?
...on teams?
...in situations where you have to solve problems creatively?

The maritime and transportation industry offers exciting work, an important mission, and a well-paying career. Some of the best fields to look into in the industry – fields where there is a huge need for workers – are:

•  marine electricians
•  welders
•  offshore wind technicians
•  nuclear test technicians
•  modeling and simulation technicians
•  marine design architects and engineers
•  green technologies
•  marine composites

The registered apprenticeship pathway provides a way to "earn and learn" - learning a skilled trade in the workplace under the supervision of a master craftsman while earning a full-time salary, benefits and often college credit! 

You can start this pathway in high school, learn a trade and college credit while making great money, all without student debt. 


If you think you might be interested in a career in the maritime and transportation industry here are the classes you should take while you’re still in school to make you an attractive candidate:

•  Algebra I and II
•  Geometry
•  Earth or Environmental Science
•  Physics
•  Tech Ed classes in manufacturing, engineering, technology, electronics, construction, or computer applications

In addition, employers like to see applicants who have practical experience within their area of interest. Join clubs, pursue internships, and get part-time or summer jobs that give you hands-on work opportunities. Working with Sail2Change as a volunteer or peer guide fulfills at least two of those requirements!

Maritime and Transportation Careers Overview 

Careers on Board Vessels

Careers in Shipyards

Careers on the Pier

SMART is located on the east coast, but similar apprenticeship and training opportunities exist in the Pacific Northwest. Check out these programs to see what interests you. 

Tongue Point Job Corps Center (Astoria, OR) - Free education and lodging, plus a living allowance 

Clatsop Community College (Astoria, OR) - Maritime Science Program 

The Anchor Program (Seattle, WA) - Discounted training for maritime positions

Maritime Institue of Technology and Graduate Studies (Seattle, WA) - Apprenticeship

Puget Sound Skills Center (Seattle, WA) - High School Program for Marine Science and Technology

Skagit Valley College (Mount Vernon, WA) - Marine Technology Program 

Looking for more information? Check out the Full Training and Employment Resource Guide

Discussion Questions:

  • Which career did you find my interesting? Why?

  • What do you think are the most difficult and most enjoyable parts of that career?

  • What are your favorite subjects in school?

  • How can you prepare now?

  • What steps can you take now to make that goal a reality?

Sources: SMART, The Maritime Federation, Center for Wooden Boats