BS in Marine Transportation in the Philippines

The Bachelor of Science in Marine Transportation (BSMT) is a four-year undergraduate degree program which leads to a professional career in the maritime industry, as a marine deck officer. Through this program, the students will be able to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge needed to accomplish their future duties and responsibilities of a marine officer, and will be exposed to theories and practices in seamanship, navigation, ship business, meteorology, and marine laws.

Some of the subjects taught in this program include:
  • Ship Handling and Maneuvering
  • Ships, Ship Routines, and Construction
  • Cargo Handling and Storage
  • Merchant Ships Search and Rescue
  • Deck Watchkeeping
  • Shipboard Personnel Management
  • Basic Marine Engineering
  • Ship Management Systems
  • Meteorology and Oceanography
  • Radio Communication
  • Stability and Trim
  • Terrestrial Navigation
  • Electronic Navigation
  • Celestial Navigation
  • Collision Regulation
  • Basic Safety
  • Maritime Laws
  • Marine Pollution and Prevention

The Bachelor of Science in Marine Transportation is taught through classroom-based frontal instructions, regular hands-on trainings usually conducted in special laboratories, as well as simulation activities regarding the use of modern ship equipments like the RADAR, ARPA, and GMDSS communication.

What are the admission requirements for BSMT?

Requirements at each school may differ, but these are the common requirements:
  • Must be a high school graduate.
    Those who did not complete high school education may opt to first attend Alternative Learning System (ALS) and pass the Philippine Educational Placement Test (PEPT) to qualify for college. However, some universities only offer selected courses for PEPT passers admission.
  • Must pass the college entrance examination.
  • Must pass the interview conducted by the college/university admission officer
  • Medical laboratory results and health certificate
  • Good Moral certificate from the previous school (sometimes from enrollees Barangay)
  • Some schools require you to pass the qualifying test implemented by the Marine Transportation Department.
  • Some schools require a particular rating in the National Secondary Assessment Test (NSAT)

What skills will help you succeed in this profession?

  • Technical Skills – the ability to perform various tasks related to ship handling, navigation, and radio communication. Moreover, this can also refer to the ability to operate various equipments and software.
  • Endurance – this refers to the ability to withstand difficult situations, hardships, or stress. This skill is important because working as a marine deck officer involves difficult tasks, long hours of work, and entails being away from your family.
  • Navigation Skills – this skill refers to the ability to determine position and location. Having this skill will serve as an advantage because ship navigation is one of the areas taught in this course.
  • Organizational Skills – these skills are needed for you to be able to organize your time, meet the requirements of your job, and obtain optimal productivity. This is important because you will surely be assigned to accomplish different tasks especially during the training period.
  • Interpersonal Skills – the ability to communicate and interact harmoniously with other people will definitely help you work on group projects and activities with your classmates. This skill is also important in order for you to get along with your shipmates.
  • English Skills – the ability to read, write, and communicate well in English is necessary because most of the technical literature and required reading materials are in this language.
  • Critical Thinking – the ability to think logically and make use of reasoning in evaluating the different solutions or approaches to a problem
  • Analytical Skills – the ability to identify the kinds of data that are actually important and figure out how to solve problems

How difficult is this course?

BS in Marine Transportation is of average difficulty. Although this course involves technical concepts and practices regarding the different aspects of seamanship, it is still not as difficult as science, engineering or IT courses.

How long does it take to complete BS in Marine Transportation program in the Philippines?

Normally, the BSMT program takes 4 years to complete. Internship takes a whole year to complete, so basically, this course involves 3 years of school-based education and 1-year internship period.
Some schools that apply the trimestral school calendar system complete the program in a shorter period of time.

On The Job Training / Internship

This course entails a 1-year apprenticeship period aboard an actual ship in order to expose students to the real-life applications of the concepts and techniques that they learned in the classroom. Some schools help the students find companies where they could work as an intern, while some allow students to find their own. Moreover, some companies provide an internship allowance while others do not.

The Board Exams

Before taking any of the relevant licensure examinations, graduates of BSMT must have an actual work experience aboard a ship, and the minimum length of service depends upon the requirements of the PRC.

The examinations are conducted by the Board of Marine Deck and Marine Engine Officers under the supervision of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC). They are scheduled twice a year in the months of January and July.

  • Officer-in-Charge of a Navigational Watch Licensure Examination

    Required for working as a Second Mate/ Second Officer, an OIC of a Navigational Watch, or as the Third Mate.

    Requirements for taking this exam:
    • An approved Sea-going Service as:
      a.) Apprentice Mate or Deck Cadet for at least twelve (12) months on board sea going ship of 500 Gross Tonnage or more.
      b.) Ordinary Seaman and Able Bodied Seaman with at least twelve (12) months seagoing service on board ship of 500 gross tonnage or more shall be allowed to take the written or walk-in licensure examination. However, if the applicant passed the said examination, he shall not be issued Certificate of Competency and Endorsement Certificate until he completes the thirty six (36) months seagoing service.
      c.) Other positions such as Deck Trainee / Deck Assistant / Deck Boy / Messman / Bosun with at least thirty six (36) months seagoing service on board ship of 500 gross tonnage or more.
    • Proof of Sea Service:
      Several certificates and papers proving your work experience as a seamen.
  • Chief Mate Licensure Examination

    Required for work as a First Mate/First Officer.

    Requirements for taking this exam:
    • An approved Sea-going Service in the Operational Level of at least twelve (12) months on board sea-going ship of 500 gross tonnage or more.
    • Proof of Sea Service:
      Several certificates and papers proving your work experience as a seamen.
  • Master Mariner Licensure Examination

    Required for working as a Master Mariner, Chief Officer or a Designated Person Ashore (DPA).

    Requirements for taking this exam:
    • An approved Sea-going Service:
      a) At least 12 months sea service onboard sea-going ship of 500 gross tonnages or more as Chief Mate.
      b) At least 36 months sea service onboard sea-going ship of 500 gross tonnages or more in the Operational Level.
      c) At least 36 months sea service onboard sea-going ship of 500 gross tonnages or more both in the Operational and Management Level.
    • Proof of Sea Service:
      Several certificates and papers proving your work experience as a seamen.

Career opportunities for BSMT graduates

  • Jobs for Licensed Marine Deck Officers

    • Officer-in-Charge of a Navigational Watch – this job involves responsibilities regarding avoidance of collision and grounding, as well as watchkeeping at sea.
    • Chief Mate – also called the First Mate or First Officer, a Chief Mate serves as the head of the deck department of a merchant vessel. This job involves being in charge of the ships cargo and deck crew.
    • Master Mariner – this job entails serving as the person in command of a commercial ship or vessel.
    • Merchant Marine Officer – this job entails serving as officers or ship crew whose duties include navigation, operation of engines, electronics and radio communication, as well as providing food for the ships crew.
    • Maritime Education and Training Officer – this job is like being a professor or instructor and involves training other students to become competent marine deck officers.
    • Philippine Coast Guard Officer – this involves working in the maritime security organization in the Philippines, whose role is to conduct search and rescue operations, to enforce Philippine Maritime Laws, to ensure the safety of ships and vessels, to maintain seamarks, as well as to maintain border control. Examples of positions in the Philippine Coast Guard are Seaman Second Class, Seaman First Class, Petty Officer, Senior Chief Petty Officer, Master Chief Petty Officer, and Lieutenant Senior Grade.
    • Naval Officer – this involves working at the naval warfare service branch of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. This involves protecting the country from terrorists and sea piracy, conducting underwater reconnaissance, capturing enemy targets, as well as collecting intelligence information. Examples of positions in the Philippine Navy are Radioman, Third Class, Electricians Mate, First Class, Seaman First, Hospital Corpsman, and Gunners Mate Chief.
  • Career Opportunities Abroad

    There are job opportunities abroad for Filipino marine officers and seamen, however the number of positions is limited. (source 1 , source 2)
  • Salary Levels

    Since graduates of BS in Marine Transportation can pursue different careers, the salary varies greatly. According to the International Labor Organizations (ILO) Subcommittee on Wages of Seafarers, the approved consolidated minimum wage as of December 2013 ranges from USD 1,028 3,462 per month, depending on the rank/position. (source)

Reviews of BS in Marine Transportation graduates:

D. E.
Studied BS in Marine Transportation
at John B. Lacson Colleges Foundation Maritime University - Arevalo , Iloilo City
Graduated: 2012

Why did I choose this course:
Among the booming industries today in the Philippines came from the Seafarers legion. So choosing this course is the wisest thing I have ever done. My older brother chose this course also because of it's reputation of getting a well endowed future. During 2008 I have already considered choosing this course because based to what I have seen with my neighbors who are seafarers, they have a very comfortable life. They're earning a lot I would suspect because of the luxury that they are enjoying not to mention the status it give in the name of society- chief mate, captains, 2nd mate, high ranking professionals in the society. So after graduation in high school, that was 2009 I enrolled my self to this course. Even though my parents can't afford to give me this course, I strive hard to just to be enrolled to this. I have a determination and I want this course. I want to be successful in this field and I want to called a captain of a ship someday.

About my college education:
During my school here, JBLFMU-Arevalo teaches me to become more versatile in everything. Discipline is a core value. I have learned how to swim, crawl stroke, breast stroke, butterfly, and some swimming saving technique. I have learned how to maneuver and navigate ship, how to use the navigational equipment, how to solve navigational problems, time, distance and speed, how to measure the drops, familiarization of the different part and function of the ship, and many other.

My most favorite subject is Seamanship and Navigation because it helped me understand how to solve different actual problems that can be encountered during work. For some it is hard because it's more of calculation but for me I like it. I love solving problems like math.

I have learned how to socialized with my classmate. I also learned how to survive in case of emergency on board so that's the most important thing that this school have teaches me.

The exams are ok. Same with other universities I guess. Study so you pass because if not, then you'll have to embrace the failing grades. In my case I studied hard to pass those exams.

To become successful in this field, one must have disciplined and to accept the challenge of becoming a seafarer. Prayer is important because when your on-board, it is very lonely.

My current job:
I am seafarer. I am a deck cadet.

Am I using what I learned in college:
We have different practical, survival, basic safety, fire fighting and many more, so all of that are applicable today for my current job.

How long did it take to find a job after graduation:
5 months.

Do I recommend studying BS in Marine Transportation:
Yes. I recommend it in terms of opportunities because you can have a job with in 5 months.

Salary depends on the company. International companies pay higher compared to domestic one. A fresh graduate/deck cadet like me can earn Php 20-25,000. Pay gets higher once you take the board exam for higher rank as officer in charge.

A more experienced employee/officer in charge for us can earn Php 50,000 - 500,000. That's something that other courses can't provide. So BS Marine Transportation is recommended!

Advice to people who are thinking of studying this course:
Remember all the things that is being teaches to you during there in the university because all of that you will need once you are here in the actual work. Be brave! Grupo!
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