The degree of education varies heavily from location to location, though as a general rule most ship loaders should have a bachelor's degree before pursuing this type of occupation.
Because this particular job involves transportation of cargo, special licenses are required before the job can be accepted. The Transportation Worker identification credential, or TWIC and the Merchant Marine Credential, or MMC are usually necessary to apply for this occupation. One final note on degrees and credentials required for this position is that the amount of education often varies per type of cargo loading position. For instance, workers on rivers or canals will require far less training than someone who travels across oceans. On the job training is also available and can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.
Perhaps the most important quality that is necessary to be a cargo loader is the ability to be away from home for extended periods of time. At most, ship loaders can be expected to spend months away from home, but some positions might keep a loader away from home for as little as a few hours.
In addition to a proper education and the ability to be away from home, ship loaders should be in good physical condition and be able to spend extended periods on a ship while still meeting the requirements of their job. Because of the nature of the position, work often needs to be performed seven days a week, often for many hours. Applicants who are not physically fit may have a hard time meeting the demands of this job.