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What is a Captain

Captains are the bosses of boats and ships. They let nothing that happens on their vessel go undetected. They watch out for the safety of passengers or cargo on-board and make sure everyone follows safety procedures.

Captains oversee the functioning of all mechanical and electric devices, supervise the navigation of the ship, and keep contact with the destination port and closest coast guard services. In close collaboration with the shipmate, they manage and supervise the day-to-day duties and activities of the staff. Captains are the ones responsible for hiring, training, motivating, and eventually firing members of the crew. The promotion of crew members is the captain's decision as well.

Captains are intimately familiar with maritime law, and they are responsible for making every essential decision during the journey. They have excellent interpersonal and communication skills, as they are required to keep the crew content and efficient and passengers calm and pleased.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a Captain. For example, did you know that they make an average of $26.45 an hour? That's $55,025 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow -2% and produce -1,800 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Captain Do

There are certain skills that many Captains have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed Customer-service skills, Hand-eye coordination and Hearing ability.

Learn more about what a Captain does

How To Become a Captain

If you're interested in becoming a Captain, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 67.4% of Captains have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 6.8% of Captains have master's degrees. Even though most Captains have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a Captain. When we researched the most common majors for a Captain, we found that they most commonly earn Bachelor's Degree degrees or Associate Degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on Captain resumes include High School Diploma degrees or Master's Degree degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a Captain. In fact, many Captain jobs require experience in a role such as Internship. Meanwhile, many Captains also have previous career experience in roles such as Volunteer or Cashier.

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the right jobs to get there.

And if you’re looking for a job, here are the five top employers hiring now:

  1. XOJET Jobs (43)
  2. Wiggins Airways Jobs (22)
  3. United Jobs (36)
  4. American Airlines Jobs (33)
  5. Dave & Buster's Jobs (146)
Average Salary
$55,025
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
-2%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
3,225
Job Openings
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Captain Career Paths

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Average Salary for a Captain

Captains in America make an average salary of $55,025 per year or $26 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $98,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $30,000 per year.
Average Salary
$55,025
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How much should you be earning as an Captain? Use Zippia's Salary Calculator to get an estimation of how much you should be earning.
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12 Captain Resume Examples

Learn How To Write a Captain Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Captain resumes and compiled some information about how to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Captain Resume Examples And Templates

And if you’re looking for a job, here are the five top employers hiring now:

  1. XOJET Jobs (43)
  2. Wiggins Airways Jobs (22)
  3. United Jobs (36)
  4. American Airlines Jobs (33)
  5. Dave & Buster's Jobs (146)

Choose From 10+ Customizable Captain Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Captain templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Captain resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

Captain Resume
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Captain Demographics

Captain Gender Distribution

Male
Male
65%
Female
Female
35%

After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among Captains, 34.6% of them are women, while 65.4% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among Captains is White, which makes up 80.5% of all Captains.

  • The most common foreign language among Captains is Spanish at 52.9%.

Job Openings

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Captain Education

Captain Majors

21.8 %

Captain Degrees

Bachelors

67.4 %

Associate

11.3 %

High School Diploma

10.0 %

Top Colleges for Captains

1. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083

2. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

3. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

4. Maine Maritime Academy

Castine, ME • Private

In-State Tuition
$13,478
Enrollment
979

5. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$56,225
Enrollment
19,548

6. California State University - Bakersfield

Bakersfield, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$7,309
Enrollment
9,142

7. SUNY at Binghamton

Vestal, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$9,808
Enrollment
13,990

8. Villanova University

Villanova, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,308
Enrollment
6,819

9. San Diego State University

San Diego, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$7,488
Enrollment
30,018

10. Bentley University

Waltham, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$49,880
Enrollment
4,177
Job Openings

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Online Courses For Captain That You May Like

Fundamentals of Logistics, Supply Chain & Customer Service
udemy
4.5
(1,048)

Learn Logistics, Supply Chain and Customer Service. 3 Courses in 1...

OSHA Workplace Safety (General Industry 6 Hr Class)
udemy
4.5
(2,164)

Learn the requirements and standards associated with OSHA and workplace safety. Safety best practices for the workplace...

ISO 45001. Occupational Health & Safety management system
udemy
4.5
(2,543)

Build a career in occupational health & safety. Learn the requirements of ISO 45001...

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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a Captain

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 12.0% of Captains listed Customer Service on their resume, but soft skills such as Customer-service skills and Hand-eye coordination are important as well.

  • Customer Service, 12.0%
  • Facility, 10.8%
  • Procedures, 10.4%
  • Positive Attitude, 8.7%
  • Food Preparation, 6.6%
  • Other Skills, 51.5%

Best States For a Captain

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a Captain. The best states for people in this position are California, Nevada, Oregon, and Arizona. Captains make the most in California with an average salary of $86,050. Whereas in Nevada and Oregon, they would average $84,172 and $82,267, respectively. While Captains would only make an average of $74,895 in Arizona, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Nevada

Total Captain Jobs:
16
Highest 10% Earn:
$123,000
Location Quotient:
2.8
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Arizona

Total Captain Jobs:
20
Highest 10% Earn:
$107,000
Location Quotient:
1.25
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. California

Total Captain Jobs:
71
Highest 10% Earn:
$124,000
Location Quotient:
0.89
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Captains

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Top Captain Employers

Most Common Employers For Captain

RankCompanyZippia ScoreAverage Captain SalaryAverage Salary
1
1.SEACOR Holdings
$82,947
2$81,812
3$81,354
4$81,209
5$56,948
6$56,095

Becoming a Captain FAQs

How long does it take to become a Captain?

It takes one year or less to become a captain. That is the time it takes to learn specific captain skills, but does not account for time spent in formal education. If you include the normal education requirements to complete a college degree, then it takes 4 to 6 years years to become a captain.

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