- Serving aboard a merchant marine vessel or cruise ship requires a highly specialized background. Prime positions on these vessels are Captain, Chief Engineer, Chief Mate and Chief Steward. Each of these officers are required to serve a certain number of hours at sea in subordinate positions, as well as pass a rigorous examination. An ocean charter boat captain, for example, must show evidence of 720 days on the open water. Furthermore, mandatory coursework must be completed at a U.S. Coast Guard-approved institution. The Coast Guard is the licensing authority for merchant marine positions, formulating and administering the qualifying exams. Military training may count toward the requisite educational credits.
- Shipbuilding has a wide range of positions, some requiring no more than a high school diploma. Such applicants may be admitted to an apprenticeship program that is common among the trades. The top positions in terms of financial compensation, however, are in design and engineering, both generally necessitating bachelor's degrees. Training in naval engineering at a federal service academy, for instance, may be sufficient for entry-level service. A mechanical engineering degree from a state college, however, may need to be supplemented with additional coursework.
- Almost every major job in the field of scientific research requires a graduate degree. Marine biologists study undersea flora, fauna and ecosystems. Oceanographers look at the geology of the ocean floor, the chemical composition of the water and the atmospheric effects on current and tide. Providing equipment for such scientists are the ocean engineers, who plan and construct the technological devices and undersea structures to facilitate this research, as well as to protect the environment.
- Other fields in the maritime industry that provide substantial remuneration include admiralty law, which focuses on the international laws of the sea, liability issues for cargo and passenger carriers, union issues and environmental litigation pertaining to the ocean. Here a juris doctor degree is necessary, along with regular continuing education. Also sought out by shipping lines are qualified MBAs and other business managers trained in marketing, finance and accounting. These executives are retained to look after the profitability of sea transport enterprises.