Engineering, Technology, & Robotics student sets his sights on a life at sea after graduation.

Student Writer: Joe Zubelik, Engineering, Technology & Robotic

After graduating from the Engineering, Technology and Robotics (ETR) program at Scarlet Oaks this May, I plan on attending Maine Maritime Academy located in Castine, Maine to earn a Third-Class Engine license. With that license, I will be able to work on any sea faring vessel, no matter the tonnage which is, for example, how they measure the size of a container ship or cruise liner. To give the reader a visual, the engines on these ships are the size of two semitruck trailers side by side, and they are probably double the height of the semi-truck trailer.

Engineering student

Joe Zubelik in the Engineering, Technology & Robotics lab at Scarlet Oaks.

Along with maintaining this massive engine, I will also earn the qualifications and certifications for many different jobs such as HVAC, plumbing, electrical, and even welding. If I am employed on a sea faring vessel, and something goes out in the middle of the ocean, calling a repairman for each of those individual trades isn’t an option.  In addition, to those certifications, I will have to take a test every year in order to maintain my Third-Class Engine license. For students thinking about coming to the Oaks, you should know that all of those programs are offered individually, and you’ll receive certifications upon successful completion. I chose ETR as an umbrella program, so I could add the other ones through my college experience.

There are seven government approved maritime academies to earn the Third-Class Engine license. However, I chose Maine Maritime Academy as it is accredited through the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). ABET is a non-governmental organization that accredits post-secondary education programs in applied and natural science, computing, engineering and engineering technology. If I decide that Maine Maritime Academy is not for me, I can have my credits transfered over to any other ABET accredited college

The cost of attendance for these institutions varies widely, but so does the type and quality of education. Some schools include the cost of the of the “cruises” which are not a vacation for the students, but they are equivalent to co-ops, internships, or on the job training. The students are being taught how to maintain the boat while still taking classes that are required for the major or the license.

The return on investment for this degree is a much shorter time period than other degrees, as it is only three years when using only 75% of the lower median average salary. The work schedule for those who work on the container ships and cruise liners is extremely different from the normal 9:00 to 5:00 office jobs on land. The schedule for those who work on container ships is that they are on the ship for two months straight with all expenses paid for, but they are on call 24/7 for the entire time they are on the ship in case of any emergencies

Overall, boating and life on the water, has always been on my radar, but I can tell you that the ETR program at Scarlet has helped me achieve my goal of working at sea on the big ships!  I can’t wait to set sail!

1 Comment

  1. Michael Thompson on February 1, 2021 at 7:56 pm

    You’ve got a fascinating future ahead of you Joe! You’ll get to see and learn a lot AND travel around the world. Nice job on the article.

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