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Get a Shipyard Job

Trained craftsmen, engineers, welders and builders are among those who work at shipyards, helping to build, repair and maintain commercial ships, military vessels and cruise ships. Most shipyards are located in ports, which provides them direct access to seas and oceans. Candidates who seek employment at one of these shipyards must first enroll in an apprenticeship program that provides the necessary technical and classroom training required to be an effective shipyard worker.

Earn a high school diploma or a general education degree, known as a GED. Most shipyard jobs require you to have a minimum of a high school or equivalent educational background. Supervisory or management positions will require a bachelor's degree or master's degree and years of experience.

Target the kind of work you want to do in a shipyard. Skilled jobs include welder, plumber, electrician, crane operator mechanic and carpenter. There are also supervisory positions available, such as construction supervisors, marine engineers and architect, which often require years of experience in addition to a college degree.

Make a list of the shipyards in your area, or a Naval shipyard where you want to work. Sites such as World Maritime and Marine Log provide a list of shipyard names and addresses throughout the country.

Apply to a shipyard apprenticeship program. Many shipyards are affiliated with apprenticeship and helper programs that provide the basic skills necessary to work at a shipyard through coursework and community college instruction. The Norfolk Naval Shipyard Apprentice Program in Virginia offers an education program for work at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, one of the country's largest and busiest shipyards. Apprentice trades include electrician, heavy mobile equipment mechanic, machinist and electrician. Visit the Navy's website for information on how to apply.

Graduate from the apprenticeship program. Though the length of instruction varies, many apprentice programs span three or four years, and provide job placement resources. Enrolling in a Navy-sponsored program is advantageous because it gives you an inside track at jobs at Navy shipyards throughout the country, including the Norfolk shipyard and the Puget Sound Naval shipyard in Bremerton, Washington.



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