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Captain Careers

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 $17.11 an hour? That's $35,580 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.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a captain, we found that a lot of resumes listed 12.0% of captains included customer service, while 10.8% of resumes included facility, and 10.4% of resumes included procedures. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the captain job title. But what industry to start with? Most captains actually find jobs in the hospitality and transportation industries.

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 62.3% of captains have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 7.7% 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 high school diploma degrees. Other degrees that we often see on captain resumes include associate degree 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.

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Average Salary
$35,580
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
-2%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
786
Job Openings

Captain Career Paths

Top Careers Before Captain

Volunteer
14.8 %
Cashier
8.7 %

Top Careers After Captain

Volunteer
12.3 %

What is the right job for my career path?

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

Average Salary for a Captain

Captains in America make an average salary of $35,580 per year or $17 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $56,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $22,000 per year.
Average Salary
$35,580

Best Paying Cities

City
ascdesc
Average Salarydesc
San Jose, CA
Salary Range33k - 60k$45k$44,734
San Angelo, TX
Salary Range33k - 59k$45k$44,561
Ogden, UT
Salary Range32k - 59k$44k$43,715
Minneapolis, MN
Salary Range31k - 60k$43k$43,330
Lawton, OK
Salary Range32k - 57k$43k$42,995
San Juan, PR
Salary Range34k - 52k$42k$42,497
$27k
$60k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyascdescCompanyascdescStart DateascdescSalaryascdesc
Adecco
Shift Captain
Shift Captain
Adecco
Adecco
01/31/2021
01/31/2021
$33,39201/31/2021
$33,392
Captain
Captain
Geo Group Inc.
Geo Group Inc.
01/23/2021
01/23/2021
$45,90501/23/2021
$45,905
Mission Edge
Neighborhood Captain
Neighborhood Captain
Mission Edge
Mission Edge
01/22/2021
01/22/2021
$31,30501/22/2021
$31,305
Team Captain
Team Captain
Capstone Nutrition
Capstone Nutrition
01/13/2021
01/13/2021
$31,30501/13/2021
$31,305
Captain
Captain
Geo Group Inc.
Geo Group Inc.
01/07/2021
01/07/2021
$61,00001/07/2021
$61,000
See More Recent Salaries

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Captain Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Captain. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a Captain Resume

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

View Detailed Information

Captain Demographics

Gender

male

61.0 %

female

34.2 %

unknown

4.7 %

Ethnicity

White

81.0 %

Black or African American

7.6 %

Hispanic or Latino

6.4 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

52.8 %

French

11.6 %

Chinese

4.6 %
See More Demographics

Captain Education

Majors

Business
22.8 %

Degrees

Bachelors

62.3 %

High School Diploma

13.5 %

Associate

9.4 %

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 • Public

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 • Public

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

7. SUNY at Binghamton

Vestal, NY • Public

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 • Public

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

10. Bentley University

Waltham, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$49,880
Enrollment
4,177
See More Education Info
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%
  • See All Captain Skills

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 Alaska, Hawaii, Arizona, and California. Captains make the most in Alaska with an average salary of $62,875. Whereas in Hawaii and Arizona, they would average $55,213 and $46,154, respectively. While captains would only make an average of $45,395 in California, 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. Alaska

Total Captain Jobs:
3
Highest 10% Earn:
$104,000
Location Quotient:
1.31
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. Nevada

Total Captain Jobs:
16
Highest 10% Earn:
$78,000
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

3. Arizona

Total Captain Jobs:
20
Highest 10% Earn:
$79,000
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
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Top Captain Employers

1. United States Army
4.0
Avg. Salary: 
$38,002
Captains Hired: 
1,015+
2. United States Marine
4.1
Avg. Salary: 
$39,458
Captains Hired: 
227+
3. Dave & Buster's
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$38,813
Captains Hired: 
145+
4. Cape Air
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$43,825
Captains Hired: 
113+
5. Varsity
4.0
Avg. Salary: 
$50,708
Captains Hired: 
79+
6. Buffalo Wild Wings
4.2
Avg. Salary: 
$53,649
Captains Hired: 
75+
Updated October 2, 2020