Education and Training Requirements

High School

A well-rounded education while in high school is a good foundation for future stevedore work. Good communication skills and physical fitness are important in this type of job. Take classes in mathematics and English as well as shop and physical education to help prepare for the different aspects of the workload.

Postsecondary Training

Often, no special preparation is needed for this kind of work, as many stevedores learn what they need to know, such as equipment operations, on the job. However, experience operating similar equipment is likely to be an advantage to any applicant and may result in more rapid advancement.

Workers in some positions need clerical or technical skills that can be learned in high school or vocational school. For administrative occupations, college-level training or experience as a ship's officer is often desirable. Supervisory personnel generally need an understanding of the whole process of loading and unloading a vessel. They must be able to deal with a labor force that may include inexperienced workers and that changes in number from day to day.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

There are no certification or licensing requirements for stevedores.

Other Requirements

Stevedores must be able to lift and carry at least 50 pounds.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

No experience is needed to work in entry-level stevedore positions, but those with prior work experience operating materials-handling machinery will increase their chances of landing a job, getting promoted, and earning higher pay.

Stevedores who work on the docks need to be agile and physically fit. Their work may be strenuous, sometimes requiring lifting weights of up to 50 pounds. Good eyesight and dexterity are essential. Some jobs can be adapted to some extent for workers with disabilities. Stevedores may work in situations that are potentially dangerous, so they must be able to think clearly and quickly and be able to follow orders. Longshore work is a team effort, so it is essential that stevedores work well with others.