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Ship Carpentry Training and Education Program Information

Both apprenticeship programs and associate's degree programs in ship carpentry prepare students to design and build ships through a combination of hands-on learning experiences and traditional classroom instruction.

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Essential Information

Ship carpenters are responsible for designing and building boats and other watercraft vessels. The majority of courses included within a marine industry technology associate's degree program cover specific ship building skills and carpentry techniques. Degree programs might offer areas of concentration and require students to complete a project before graduating. Marine carpentry degree programs are designed for students who enjoy working with their hands on a daily basis.

There are also ship repair apprenticeship programs that combine classroom learning with on-the-job training. They are often offered through schools that are located near large bodies of water so students can practice in the field.

Students interested in enrolling in such programs should be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or GED and be in good physical condition. Basic math and communications skills are also encouraged.


Associate of Science in Marine Industry Technology

Associate's degree programs in marine industry technology are designed to provide students with a broad overview of the marine industry while also providing them with the specific technical skills necessary to design and build boats. Many such programs allow students to settle upon a specific concentration, such as comprehensive ship building, boat design or yacht design. Students often learn in workshop settings where they complete their own ship construction project before graduation. Students will also complete general education courses in mathematics, science and humanities. Some core courses are listed below:

  • Professional woodworking
  • Marine industrial technology
  • Marine carpentry
  • Wood construction and repair
  • Fiberglass construction and repair
  • Applied math for technicians

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Ship Repair Apprenticeship Program

Some community colleges offer apprenticeship programs for students who are interested in acquiring the specific skills necessary to repair boats and ships for a living. Students enrolled in such programs learn the basic techniques behind welding, pipefitting, marine carpentry, rigging and shipfitting. Ship repair apprenticeship programs offer classroom courses, in addition to hands-on training experiences. Students enrolled in such courses learn the basics of:

  • Machine tool operations
  • Marine diesel repair
  • Welding
  • Shipboard electrical cables repair
  • Metrology
  • Industrial supervision

Popular Career Options

Individuals who complete an associate's degree program in marine industry technology can go on to take positions as technicians, carpenters and supervisors. Some specific positions in the field of ship carpentry include:

  • Joiner or finish carpenter
  • Trim carpenter
  • Ship repair carpenter
  • Shipwright
  • Shipbuilder

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage for carpenters working in the ship and boat building industry in 2015 was $35,290.

Certification Options

The American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) offers certifications for marine technicians in the fields of boat building, repair and equipment design. The organization also offers certification for surveyors and boat manufacturers. Individuals must complete a certification program before earning a Master Technician designation.

Aspiring ship carpenters can enroll in either an apprenticeship program or an associate's degree to learn how to design and build ships. Graduates with an associate's degree can pursue employment as shipwrights, ship repair carpenters or shipbuilders.

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