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Personnel seeking employment in the Merchant Marine with no prior space experience may be hired by a space company in an entry position known as "Landsman". 

Right: J-Class Cargo Freighter

Generally, before a new crew member is permitted to begin serving onboard a merchant space vessel, a precursory background check is conducted in the Federation database (this is primarily to discourage criminals or fugitives from using the merchant service to escape justice or prosecution on a particular planet)

Federation Department of Transportation regulations also require all employees of the Merchant Marine to possess at least two years of secondary school education and pass a standard physical examination.

While these employment guidelines are generally adhered to, some merchant companies (in particular those undergoing a manpower shortage) will oftentimes "overlook" the basic entry requirements and take on as crew members directly from spaceports without the formality of a formal background check or physical examination.  This practice of "signing on" crewmen is punishable under law and generally discouraged.


The bulk of the merchant service is comprised of rated crewmen, divided in two grades of "Crewman" and "Able Crewman".  Appointment to the initial rating of Crewman requires at least six months of space service onboard a merchant space vessel.

Right: 23rd century merchant crew

 The prospective crewman must also qualify as a Basic Damage Controlman and undergo an informal interview with the First Mate of the vessel to which they are assigned.  Once eligible for rating as a crewman, a career track will be determined and, upon recommendation of the First Mate, final approval for a rating of Crewman may be granted by the Ship’s Master.

Advancement to the position of Able Crewman may be authorized after three years of satisfactory space duty as a Crewman.  Advancement to Able Crewman may be authorized by a Ship's Master following recommendation by the First Mate.

Merchant personnel holding employment under different merchant companies are usually appointed directly to the position of crewman upon hire, so long as adequate records may be located documenting the space service.  Merchant personnel who  hold Warrant or Professional Licenses may be offered employment as an Able Crewman if  no other billet is available.


Merchant Marine Warrant Licenses may be granted to those crewmen who have demonstrated exceptional ability in their chosen professional rating field.  A Warrant License may be granted after a minimum of six years of merchant space service, including at least two years service as an Able Crewman. 

To be appointed as a Merchant Marine Warrant Officer, the prospective applicant must complete the appropriate Warrant Licensing Examination, and further receive an assignment to an available Warrant billet onboard a merchant vessel.

Warrant licenses are issued by career field, with two separate licenses (junior and senior) available.  An applicant must possess the junior license before applying for the senior.


A Merchant Marine Professional License is required for employment as a shipboard officer onboard any merchant space vessel.  Professional licenses are earned by completing an appropriate Merchant Marine Professional Examination, as administered by the Department of Transportation. 

Each Merchant Marine career field possesses three professional licenses, ranked as junior, senior, and master.  Eligibility for the undertaking of an initial junior professional examination requires either a diploma from the Merchant Marine Academy or a corresponding Warrant License in the same career field.

For higher professional licenses, a lower license in the same career field must first be held (exceptions are granted on a case-by-case basis for prior Starfleet and other space service personnel possessing extensive space experience).


The highest possible certificate in the Merchant Marine is that of “Master Space Mariner”.  Required for command of a merchant vessel, a Merchant Marine Master Certification is open to First Mates from the Operations Career Field with at least fifteen years of credited space service. 

Prospective applicants must first satisfactorily complete the Master Merchant Professional Examination, which is then followed by an interview conducted by the Space Credentialing Board of the Federation Department of Transportation.  Upon certification by the Board, a merchant officer is stated to be “Master Rated” but must then by either hired or appointed as Master by a merchant company.

A Master Space Mariner License, referred to in the vernacular as a “Master’s Ticket” may be revoked at any time by the Space Credentialing Board in the event of inappropriate, unsafe, or illegal operation of a space craft by a Merchant officer.  Once revoked, the Master’s License must be re-obtained through the same qualification standards, before reinstatement may occur.

"I have a Master's Ticket!" -Harry Mudd


Merchant Marine medical and science officers consist of a special category of professional licenses designed for these two career fields.  Merchant medical officers are typically present on larger merchant vessels (or civilian transports) while science officers are assigned to civilian science vessels. 

To obtain a professional merchant science or medical license, a prospective candidate must first possess the required minimum education; for medical officers, this consists of an MD while science officers usually possess either an MS or PhD in a particular scientific field.  Once minimum eligibility has been established, the prospective merchant officer must undergo a corresponding medical/science aptitude examination in order to be granted a license as either a Merchant Medical or Science Officer.

Once licensed, a science or medical officer must then obtain a billet within the Merchant Marine.  After a minimum of five years service, the officer may further apply for a master’s designator, known as either “Chief Medical Officer” or “Chief Science Officer”.

Both the scientific and medical field also offer warrant licenses to rated merchant crewman.  The medical field offers the warrant licenses of Medical Technician and Medical Specialist, while the scientific community may rate crewman as either a Scientist’s Mate or Scientific Specialist.  On some smaller merchant craft, these warrant officers operate in the same capacity as regular merchant officers.

A final medical merchant program is that of Merchant Marine Nursing Certification.  Existing in a single professional license (known as “Nursing Officer”), this professional license is open to registered nurses, after passing a prerequisite merchant aptitude examination.


On space vessels employing civilian departments (mostly civilian transports and certain Starfleet vessels with civilian family members aboard) civilian employees may be hired on a case-by-case basis to fill needed vacancies.  Civilian Department employees require training and specialization in their particular field of expertise (Service, Administrative, Custodial, and Education) but are not licensed professionally by the Federation Merchant Marine.

Right: A Civilian Department waitress

Civilian Department managers fall into a different status, with such persons required to hold certification as either a Civilian Personnel Officer or  Department Director.  Civilian Certifications are issued by the Federation Department of Transportation following completion of a standard aptitude examination.