TECH Program

The Engineering Candidate Hawsepipe (TECH) program is a comprehensive training program for selected high school graduates and veterans (veterans please click here) who want to pursue careers as seagoing marine engineers. Is this for me? Candidates must meet the United States Coast Guard (USCG) medical requirements for a licensed engineer, and demonstrate high standards of academic achievement and engineering aptitude.

Applications for the next class which is scheduled to start September 2023, with applications closing at 1200 on 5 June, 2023. Interested personnel should complete the application process themselves (link at bottom of this page).

American Maritime Officers (AMO), the largest union of US licensed merchant marine officers is offering this program with the purpose of providing selected candidates with the opportunity to proceed on a marine engineering career path and help fill the projected shortage of marine engineers.  The program targets high performing high school graduates with an interest in the merchant marine and mentors them during intense training onboard ship and ashore.

The TECH program will take approximately 2 years to complete and alternates between classroom training and sea phases. Click here for a tri-fold summary of the program.

Fees, compensation and benefits while in the TECH program.

Tuition and room and board fees for this program, as well as most transportation costs incurred in completing the program, may be satisfied through a commitment to sail under covered employment with AMO immediately upon successful graduation as a licensed engineer for a minimum of 180 employment days annually for a minimum of five (5) years. Click here to view a summary of the costs involved in the TECH program.

There are, however, limited fees to be paid by the candidate for the following (financial assistance may be available if required):

  • Dental examinations associated with the application process and United States Coast Guard (USCG) physicals
  • Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and USCG fees to obtain Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) and USCG Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC)
  • Certain clothing/equipment requirements
  • Travel to STAR Center (Ft. Lauderdale) to commence the program, if selected.

While in the program TECH candidates will receive a limited stipend during certain shoreside training portions and cadet wages during assignments onboard ship. In addition, individual medical benefit coverage will be provided to the TECH candidate through the AMO Medical Plan.

The program meets training and sea service requirements of the US Code of Federal Regulation part 46 to obtain a license as a 3rd Assistant Engineer (3 A/E) Motor Unlimited  Horsepower for service in domestic and international sea service.  The program consists of a combination of classroom, laboratory, simulation and shipboard sea projects, completed over a period of approximately 2 years of actual training. The program covers all domestic requirements and the Knowledge, Understanding and Proficiency (KUP) required by the international Standards of Training, Certification and Watchstanding (STCW) Code.

Following a detailed application and selection process, training will begin at STAR Center's location in Dania Beach, FL and progress through alternating phases of shipboard and shoreside training. STAR Center offers USCG approved training facilities with numerous Coast Guard approved training courses and is subject to third party Quality Audits. Candidates will be assessed throughout the program and will be required to demonstrate comprehension of the subject matter and continued mechanical aptitude and positive attitude before proceeding to the next phase of training.

Shipboard training and sea projects will be accomplished under the supervision of licensed engineers onboard operating ships who meet USCG designated assessor standards. Sea projects will be assessed by STAR Center's engineering staff. Only those trainees who have performed well at sea and whose projects are approved as meeting minimum standards will be permitted to proceed to the next phase of training.

Upon successful completion and issuance of a 3rd A/E Merchant Mariner Credential, the candidate will be afforded full applicant status and employment with American Maritime Officers (AMO) in line with the organization's rules and requirements. There are significant benefits that come with AMO employment.

Candidate selection for the program will include objective testing, personal recommendations / character references and an essay submission that will be used to determine both communication and critical thinking skills. The objective of the selection process is to identify those applicants most likely to successfully complete the training program and progress to management level engineering assignments at sea.

To look at Frequently Asked Questions regarding the TECH program, please click here.

Click here to continue with the detailed application process.