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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.