Want to find a career path in which you can combine your mechanical talent with a love of all things nautical? If so, a career in the marine mechanic field might be for you. Marine mechanics are technicians who repair, rebuild, and maintain all types of mechanical devices and equipment that are operated in and around water. Although marine mechanic jobs can be found in virtually every region, they tend to be most plentiful in coastal regions and in areas where maritime industries are clustered.
Marine Mechanic School: What to Expect
Marine mechanic training may introduce prospective students to the basics of mechanical equipment upkeep and repair, as well as providing instruction about the advanced technologies that have grown increasingly prevalent in the field in recent years. Common topics covered in typical marine mechanic courses may include:
- Fuel systems
- Boat engines
- Electrical components
- Steering equipment
- Navigation systems
There are a number of different training programs that may prepare you for a career in the marine mechanic field, including undergraduate and advanced degrees in subjects such as mechanical engineering. However, the most common type of marine mechanic training programs are certificates or associate's degree programs, most of which can be completed in fewer than two years. With the aid of distance learning, many online marine mechanic schools have been established in recent years that could help job seekers boost their skills in a particular area of the field, or may allow students to complete the coursework for a certificate or degree program.
Career Options for Marine Mechanic School Graduates
According to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the career prospects for small engine mechanics such as marine mechanics with formal training are likely to be excellent in the years ahead. However, because the use of recreational motorboats has declined in recent years, students who focus on other areas may be most likely to parlay their training into a lucrative career. Some alternative career paths in the marine mechanic field include:
- Cruise ship maintenance and repair
- Commercial marine mechanic
- Marine diesel engine maintenance and repair
- Emission reduction specialist
- Federal or state boat fleet specialist
- Mechanical upkeep of offshore oil and gas extraction equipment
Although the schedules and daily responsibilities for these marine mechanic jobs may vary considerably, many jobs in the field are seasonal in nature and may not provide steady year-round work. In addition, some jobs in the field such as offshore oil extraction or cruise ship maintenance may require non-traditional schedules and extended periods away from home. On the other hand, government positions may offer the most stability in terms of regular shifts and year-round availability.
Salary Outlook for Marine Mechanic School Degree Holders
Depending on the type of work you pursue after completing a marine mechanic degree program, your salary outlook could range considerably. Because of the seasonal nature of many marine mechanic jobs, it is often difficult to estimate average annual salaries in the field with precision. However, the flexibility afforded by taking a series of short-term jobs may be more important to you than maximizing your salary. On the other hand, if your chief objective is holding down a steady job with a predictable salary, you should keep this aim in mind when selecting marine mechanic courses and choosing which type of position to seek.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, mean annaul salaries in the field include:
- Motorboat mechanics: $37,170
- Electric motor repair: $38,050
- Small engine mechanics: $31,790
- Ship engineers: $39,450
If you love being around oceans, lakes, and other bodies of water and you're looking for a challenging career that engages your mechanical knowledge, then you may consider exploring online learning opportunities in the field of marine mechanics. By enrolling in a certificate program, you could get a better idea of whether this is a suitable field for you.