An associate's degree program emphasizes the fundamentals of inboard and outboard engine repair, routine maintenance and boat operations. The program should allow opportunities for hands-on learning. Students in associate's degree programs may get to choose areas of concentration. They should receive practical training in areas such as the design and repair of diesel marine engines.
In addition to a high school diploma or GED, placement tests, written essay, letters of reference and/or industry-specific credentials may be required to enroll in the program. The educational prerequisites might include a physical fitness requirement.
Certificate in Marine Technology
Certificates in Marine Technology, Marine Engineering Technology and Marine Maintenance Technology are designed to prepare students for entry-level jobs in the boat repair and maintenance industry. Training emphasizes mechanical, electrical and structural boat repair. Outboard and inboard engine repair, electrical and auxiliary systems, rigger outfitting and marine coating maintenance are specific areas of concentration. Hands-on education and marine computer technology are typically part of the training.
Programs that include seamanship courses may require students to obtain a Transportation Worker's Identification Card (TWIC) and a Merchant Mariner's Credential (MMC) before beginning the program.
Class topics emphasize electricity, machinery, math, boat systems and engineering. Some of the certificate classes include:
- Boat operations
- Marine systems
- Marine gasoline and diesel engines
- Outboard operations and servicing
- Routine marine maintenance
Associate's Degree in Marine Technology
Some associate's degree programs in marine technology offer concentrations in boat building, boat design and marine systems. Both didactic and practical training are a part of the curriculum. Programs can be completed in 18 months to two years.
The coursework includes general education classes in English and math, with elective choices in areas like physics, business, fine arts, marketing and economics. Depending on the school and concentration chosen, courses focus on marine-related science, boat building, repair and maintenance topics. Some classes include:
- Marine instruments, electronics and data processing
- Boat building and design
- Gas and diesel marine engines
- Marina and business relations
After completing the certificate program in marine technology, students are prepared for entry-level positions in the boat repair industry. Some boat technology career options include:
- Marine pump man
- Junior marine engineer
- Boat mechanic
- Marine repair technician
- Marine salesperson
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that jobs for motorboat mechanics and service technicians would increase by 3% between the years 2014 and 2024, which is slower than average growth. In May 2015, a motorboat mechanic's median salary was reported by the BLS to be $38,280 per year. The BLS also stated that Alaska had the highest concentration of motorboat mechanic jobs in the United States in 2015 (www.bls.gov).
Continuing Education and Training
Continuing education is available in bachelor's degree programs in marine engineering or in automotive technology. Training is offered through professional associations, such as the Association of Marine Technicians (AMTECH), which offers training courses designed to update or improve skills.
Certificate and associate's degree programs in marine technology prepare aspiring graduates for employment positions in the industry such as boat mechanics, junior marine engineers, and marine repair technicians. Bachelor's degree programs in marine engineering or automotive technology are available for those who want to continue their studies.