Skip navigation

As an apprentice, he earns while he learns, working toward a degree in maritime technology

Stephen HightName: Stephen Hight

Age: 28

Hometown: Chesapeake

Degree: Stephen is an apprentice and is earning his Associate in Applied Science in Maritime Technologies. He plans to graduate from TCC in 2017.

Employer: Stephen is an industrial engineering technician/technical writer apprentice for the marine services division of Oceaneering International, Inc., a global provider of engineering services and products primarily to the offshore gas and oil industry. The marine services division provides engineering support and intermediate repair services to the U.S. Navy. Stephen was hired as an apprentice in the first apprentice class in January 2013.

The benefits of the TCC program: Stephen is a full-time employee and receives 2,000 hours of on-the-job training annually, while completing his apprentice-related instruction at night through TCC. He qualified for the Virginia Vocational Incentive Scholarship Program for Shipyard Workers, which pays all tuition and fees for three years of his four-year apprenticeship.

Why TCC: “I like the wide range of classes offered at TCC. I like that I can have a 40-hour a week and still be a full-time student. If your aspirations are high, you can do that, or you can take part-time classes and graduate in a reasonable amount of time.

“The resources that TCC provides are great as far as tutoring, online training and the instructors. The instructors are usually people who are already in the field, so you get a lot of great advice from people trained to do what you’re training to do. Right up front, they give you their cell phone number, so you can call them with questions. If for some reason you can’t make a class, they always allow you to go to another class and make up that time. They always work around your schedule, which is very, very nice.”

Advice for a student interested in the apprenticeship program: “Get into TCC to start with. Apprenticeships are so competitive with literally thousands of people applying for minimal jobs, so my suggestion is to get a head start and enroll yourself in vocational classes. Try to separate yourself grade-wise, and get as much background as you can to make yourself more competitive.”