Marine Tech School: Program Options with Course Descriptions

Read about certificate, diploma and associate's degree programs in marine technology. Get information on prerequisites, required courses, career options and professional certifications.

Essential Information

Marine technology combines the science of engineering with an awareness of marine environments. Many marine technicians build, maintain and repair commercial and private boats. Marine tech schools usually offer programs awarding a certificate, diploma or an associate's degree. Certificate and diploma programs usually take a few months to a year to complete, while associate's degree programs take a year or two.

Certificate or diploma programs offer instruction in basic repair and maintenance of marine vehicles. Associate's degrees programs cover these basics and often include instruction in rigging, engine operation and other aspects of operating boats. Through classes, labs and hands-on experience, students get experience in all aspects of marine technology. While no state licensing is required, marine mechanics often earn professional certification from manufacturers.

Marine Technology Certificate or Diploma

Many marine tech schools offer certificate or diploma programs that teach practical skills needed to repair and maintain aquatic vehicles. Students learn to fix a variety of marine equipment issues, including problems with gasoline engines, marine electrical systems and external damage. Students practice working with aquatic technology and other small-engine vehicles through classroom instruction and hands-on activities.

Program Coursework

The classes in marine technology certificate and diploma programs cover topics related to diagnosing and repairing electrical and mechanical problems in watercraft and other devices. Some programs emphasize specific aspects of marine technology, like external hull repair or outboard engine repair. Classes on the subjects noted below are usually offered:

  • Repairing diesel engines
  • Ship hull repair
  • Marine electronics
  • Introductory welding
  • Gasoline engine repair

Popular Career Options

People who earn a certificate or diploma in marine technology are qualified for a variety of careers in aquatic vehicle maintenance. Graduates often work in mechanic shops or for marine vehicle retailers. Many graduates choose the careers noted below:

  • Outboard engine repair specialist
  • Marine electronics repair expert
  • Hull repair technician

Associate of Applied Science in Marine Technology

Associate of Applied Science (AAS) programs in marine technology cover the technical and mechanical skills needed to diagnose and fix problems with aquatic vehicles. Through labs, lectures and extensive hands-on experience, students become familiar with repairing diesel and gas inboard systems, outboard engine propulsion systems, transmissions and electrical systems in boats.

Some marine tech college programs offer students the opportunity to learn scuba diving and to perform repair and maintenance skills underwater. Other programs include specialized courses in repairing and maintaining specific marine vehicle makes, so that students acquire the expertise to secure jobs in franchise dealerships.

Program Coursework

In addition to covering repair and maintenance, most marine technology AAS programs include basic courses in rigging, sailing, engine operation and navigation so that students learn to handle boats. Marine tech programs emphasize proper safety procedures, as well as the benefits of keeping boats and marine vehicles up to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards. Students usually learn about the following topics:

  • Motor sports technology
  • Engine theory
  • Marine controls
  • Engine overhaul
  • Fuel system fundamentals

Popular Career Options

Marine tech AAS program graduates are qualified to find jobs with charter boat companies, scientific research boats, boat repair yards and dealerships. The careers listed below are popular options:

  • Pilot technician
  • Engine builder
  • Marine electronic technician

Continuing Education Information

Marine mechanics are not required to hold any type of state license or certification, but many employers (especially marine vehicle retail shops) seek mechanics who've earned certificates from specific manufacturers. Manufacturer certificates are often available to mechanics who complete approved training classes and pass a written examination.

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