Sim Centers Prep Grads for High Paying Careers
Few places offer the opportunity to get seasick without ever leaving dry land.
Surrounded by moving images on high-definition monitors, students at the prestigious Texas A&M Maritime Academy in Galveston train every day aboard ship simulators. They offer realistic and stomach-turning experiences from the bridges of several types of huge ships as they sail through various kinds of weather conditions and into dozens of ports.
Texas A&M’s maritime students earn bachelor’s degrees like other college students, but they also graduate with steel stomachs and Third Mate (or Third Assistant Engineer) licenses from the U.S. Coast Guard, allowing them to embark on careers that pay upwards of $100,000 a year right out of school. Plus, they get the chance to see the world, said Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp.
“Few places offer the chance to nail down exciting careers that make such good money,” Chancellor Sharp said. “Texas A&M Maritime Academy offers one of the best and most exciting career paths of any institution of higher education.”
Simulators like the ones at The Texas A&M Maritime Academy are important — and cost-effective — since it would be impractical to take a training ship out on the water every time a student wants to practice docking in a crowded port, navigating through a major hurricane or resupplying an oil rig. The Texas A&M Maritime Academy is one of just six maritime academies in the United States.
Students from the Galveston campus take advantage of the simulators to try out different kinds of vessels such as: tugs, tankers, offshore services vessels, container ships, car carriers, U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers, fast rescue boats and high-speed passenger ferries.
They also can experience the world without leaving Texas, as they explore each of 42 ports that include: Hong Kong, New Orleans, Houston/Galveston, Corpus Christi, San Francisco, Sydney and the Straights of Gibraltar.
Maritime Academy students (who also are members of Texas A&M’s Corp of Cadets) must put in 225 hours of simulation before graduation, much of which is in the bridge simulator. And once they graduate, Maritime Academy students are ready for jobs on the high seas.