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The 10 Best Schools For Becoming a Commercial Diver: Degree and Job Info

commercial diver

Do you love the water? If so, consider a career as a Commercial Diver, particularly if you enjoy scuba diving. In this capacity, you can combine your love for the water with a job in construction, maintenance, photography, explosives, and much more. 

So, if a traditional nine to five desk job is just not a good fit for you… consider becoming a Commercial Diver. As you “dive” in, you will find a rewarding and lucrative career ahead.

Relate Article: The 40 Highest Paying Jobs With A Trade School Education


10 BEST SCHOOLS FOR A COMMERCIAL DIVER DEGREE

CDA Technical Institute

CDA Technical Institute

(On-site) Air/Mixed Gas Commercial Diver

CDA Technical Institute (CDA) takes pride in its rigorous Air/Mixed Gas Commercial Diver program because of its comprehensive coverage. Learners acquire every crucial skill for success as a commercial diver in a competitive industry. The diving instructors are some of the best in the country with their extensive professional experience. 

The diving facilities are also conducive to safety and effective learning. These include a 20-foot clearwater pool and orientation tank with a viewing port and a 500-foot waterfront. The institute’s 4-acre campus also features multiple classrooms for instruction, a library, cafeteria, and a dive store, as well as a dormitory.  

The program features several courses that establish their theoretical knowledge about commercial diving. Diving physics, physiology, and decompression; diving systems, procedures, and equipment; and diver communication systems are on the curriculum. Advanced topics include underwater inspections and searches, cutting and welding equipment, and underwater construction techniques. Commercial scuba and hyperbaric instruction round out the training. 

Learners first spend four weeks in the training tanks as part of the orientation process. Open water training comes next, and it’s in the challenging conditions of the Trout River. 

Learners spend at least 20 weeks in the program but can spend 30 weeks (maximum limit). Total hours of classroom (344) and practical experience (527) amount to 871 hours, and students may spend as much as nine hours in training. 

CDA grants several certifications to learners who complete the program. These include ADCI Diver/Tender Certification, ACDE Diving Certification, and AWS Topside Welding for Commercial Divers. Certifications for CPR, first aid, and AED and O2 Provider Training are also awarded. 

Programs Offered: 

  • AMGCD Underwater Welding 
  • DCBC Surface Supplied Top Up 

With CDA’s comprehensive training, your career in commercial diving will be more successful! Check it out now! 


Divers Institute of Technology 

Divers Institute of Technology 

(On-site) Commercial Diver 

DIT’s 50-year experience in commercial diver training is evident in the success of its graduates in diverse industries! The instructors provide up-to-date training, too, by being actively employed elsewhere, refreshing their skills, and keeping abreast of new technologies. The comprehensive training ensures that learners are safe in the water while also pushing their limits. 

This is a seven-month program that covers diverse modules, including (Every month introduces a new module so learners must take the program in sequential order) 

  • Physics and Medicine, a classroom course, is considered the most challenging because of the extensive information that must be understood. The topics covered here are critical to commercial diving. 
  • Lightweight and Rigging start practical in-the-water training with an introduction to diving equipment followed by midwater projects.  
  • Offshore and Hazmat challenge your growing diving skills and your ability to work well with a team. 

Other module titles are Welding and Underwater Welding; Salvage and Hydraulics; SCUBA and Inland; and Deep Dives. The three-week Deep Dive course challenges learners in applying their knowledge gained in every diving experience. 

Multiple certifications are awarded to learners who complete all seven modules with satisfactory performance. These include the DCBC Unrestricted Surface Supplied Diver certification, ADCI Entry-level Diver/Tender–International Endorsement certification, and DAN Diving First Aid for Professional Divers.  The JSA Certificate also serves as proof of your ability to analyze and mitigate safety hazards. 

Programs Offered: 

  • Diver Medic Technician 
  • Kirby Morgan Hat Technician 

What are you waiting for? Get your feet wet and start your commercial diving career in seven months at DIT! 


National University Polytechnic Institute

National University Polytechnic Institute

(On-site) Commercial SCUBA Program 

NUPI’s eight-month Commercial SCUBA Program has the ADCI and ACDE’s seal of approval and, thus, learners are assured that their training is up to contemporary standards. Learners also learn underwater welding based on AWS D3.6 welding standards. 

The training facilities include a gigantic 44,000-gallon dive tank where students learn SCUBA diving in a range of configurations and perform related tasks. These include keeping records of dives, communicating with others underwater, and operating decompression chambers. Topside and underwater welding are also on the curriculum since commercial divers also perform these jobs. Students perform several in-water projects for this purpose. 

Real-world commercial diving practice sessions are performed at Coronado Bay, where students test their knowledge and skills. Technical skills are emphasized as much as transferable skills, such as communication and teamwork since both have equal weight in underwater situations. 

NUPI ensures that students achieve the following learning outcomes after program completion: 

  • Describe the applications of SCUBA diving to commercial diving ventures, including its limitations and safety precautions; 
  • Demonstrate the professional ability for SCUBA diving, including the proper use of gear and equipment, emergency procedures, and computers 
  • Discuss the range of inland diving tasks, including searches, inspections, and contaminated diving 

Indeed, graduates have the professional competency to perform SCUBA diving jobs from pre-dive to post-dive procedures! Commercial diving companies and other establishments have no hesitation about hiring NUPI’s graduates for these reasons. 

NUPI is also a Yellow Ribbon school, meaning active military personnel and veterans and their dependents can avail of tuition discounts. 

Programs Offered: 

  • Psychology 
  • Criminal Justice 

Dive into the competitive commercial diving profession with the excellent training from NUPI’s Commercial SCUBA Program


Santa Barbara City College

Santa Barbara City College

(On-site) AS in Marine Diving Technology 

With its IDSA and NAUI accreditation, SBCC pioneered the AS in Marine Diving Technology program in 1968, among the first in the country! Learners have the assurance that it’s also among the best with its multiple awards from the diving industry and the academic world. Instructors ensure that the learners are well-prepared for research, marine construction, and tourism industries. 

The program has several modules delivered in sequential order so that students build on their knowledge and skills in a gradual yet steady manner. The first and second modules focus on the basics of commercial diving gear, equipment and hydraulic systems, and the rules of seamanship. Then the third and fourth modules tackle advanced topics in mixed gas diving, ocean diving, and underwater cutting and welding. 

After their first year of studies, the learners are awarded their ADCI certification for entry-level air tender/diver. Monetary awards are usually given to outstanding students as an incentive, perhaps to start their careers. 

Such is the comprehensive design of the program that all aspects of commercial diving are covered. These include bell/saturation diving, hyperbaric, marine and boating science, and emergency medicine. Every course emphasizes safety, teamwork, and communication among learners and instructors. 

The training environment is among the most conducive for students with and without commercial diving experience. SBCC has a state-of-the-art diving facility with the best welding equipment. Students also learn ocean diving in the Pacific Ocean, and it’s considered challenging and exciting training.  

Programs Offered: 

  • Alcohol and Drug Counselling 
  • Applied Photography 

Soar high in your career as a commercial diver with the AS in Marine Diving Technology credential from SBCC! 


Minnesota Commercial Diver Training Center, Inc.

Minnesota Commercial Diver Training Center, Inc.

(On-site) Commercial Diver/Tender Courses 

MCDTC prides itself on its short-term Commercial Diver/Tender Courses that provide students with world-class training crucial for success in the industry. Graduates are employed by the best companies in Minnesota and beyond aside from being among the most trainable professionals. 

The 11-week courses are conducted from Monday to Saturday for 10 hours, meaning students must put in 60 hours of training per week. This intensive program demands full-time commitment and its number of hours and weeks according to ADCI’s 625-hour training standards. Graduates earn the ADCI Entry Level Diver/Tender Certification after completing the program. 

MCDTC  only offers these courses three times a year, from March to October, so individuals interested must take note of the availability. Small class sizes are maintained to ensure personalized attention, with 12 as the maximum number of students in each course. Candidates must submit a completed application, medical forms, waiver, and a deposit to be considered for admission. 

The coursework is as extensive as it is intensive, with all aspects of entry-level commercial diving discussed. These include the range and uses of commercial diving apparatus, OSHA regulations, and emergency procedures. The basics of underwater cutting and welding, non-destructive testing, and burning are also discussed. 

Graduates receive the DSI Dive Lab Superlite Helmet Maintenance Technician certification, TDI and PADI  Nitrox I certification, and 

PADI and TDI Nitrox Gas Blender certifications, among others. 

Programs Offered: 

  • Accelerated Engineer/Diver Training Course

If you’re looking for a selective program with a comprehensive curriculum, look no further than MNCDTC’s Commercial Diver/Tender Courses!  


South Louisiana Community College 

South Louisiana Community College 

(On-site) Certificate of Technical Studies in Commercial Diving

SOLCC’s Certificate of Technical Studies in Commercial Diving program takes pride in being the only accredited school for commercial diving in Louisiana. The high standards set for students are commensurate with the intensive classroom instruction and rigorous dives led by qualified instructors. Safety, effectiveness, and efficiency are emphasized on the ground and underwater, as is the acquisition of technical and transferable skills. 

Students who complete the program earn the ADCI Entry-Level Tender/Diver and ACDE Commercial Diver certifications aside from the certificate of technical studies. Other professional-level certifications awarded are SafeGulf, Water Survival/HUET (METS), API Approved Rigging and DAN DFA Pro. 

These aren’t just printed papers either since students learn an impressive range of skills that make them capable of commercial diving jobs. Their skill sets include: 

  • Proficient understanding of hyperbaric environments, including their physics and physiology; 
  • Ability to demonstrate the skills required for the use, troubleshooting, and maintenance of commercial diving gear and equipment 
  • Performance of underwater work both inland and in the open ocean, such as in oil fields 

Admission is on a selective basis, with candidates evaluated using a holistic system. Candidates must be at least 18 years old upon their program completion and possess a high school diploma or GED equivalent. 

Programs Offered: 

  • Industrial Marine Electronics Technology
  • Aviation Maintenance Technology

Do you want to develop your skills as a commercial diver further? Enroll in SOLACC’s Certificate of Technical Studies in Commercial Diving program now! 


The Ocean Corporation 

The Ocean Corporation 

(On-site) Ultimate Diver Training Program 

No general education courses mean that students will get the best diver training possible within the 30-week duration of the UDT program. Students also look forward to the career placement services, such as the Meet & Eat event, which opens up job opportunities even before graduation. 

The Ocean Corporation has state-of-the-art classrooms and training facilities within its 4.2-acre campus. Students learn in the deck and diving complex with its six tanks and hyperbaric decompression chambers, welding yard, and lockout bell diving system. The tanks have training features for cutting, burning, welding, and installation, repair, and inspection of equipment. There’s even a spacious warehouse where gear and equipment are stored for easy access, from hats to non-destructive testing machines. 

After program completion, students have enviable job opportunities in and around Houston, Texas! The Ocean Corporation’s proximity to companies hiring commercial divers, especially with operations in the Gulf of Mexico, is part of the reason. Of course, the extensive training is also part of the reason for their high employability. 

Students learn through classroom instruction and hands-on experience in the crucial aspects of commercial diving. The coursework includes the following: 

  • Inland and offshore diving operations 
  • Surface and underwater cutting and welding 
  • Lock-out and mixed-gas diving 
  • Underwater non-destructive testing 
  • Contaminated diving 
  • Offshore safety and survival 

Programs Offered: 

  • Non-destructive Testing Training 
  • Hybrid NDT Training Option

Plunge into commercial diving with everything you need to do safely and effectively with The Ocean Corporation’s Ultimate Diver Training Program!  


Commercial Divers International 

Commercial Divers International 

(On-site) Commercial Diver Training Program 

Getting work as an entry-level commercial diver is easier with credentials from CDI’s Commercial Diver Training program! This is a nationally-recognized program where students master the fundamentals of commercial diving in the classroom and underwater. Candidates don’t have to possess previous diving experience, but relevant skills will prove useful during instruction. 

The coursework covers numerous topics crucial for safe, effective, and efficient commercial dives, including: 

  • Rigging and seamanship 
  • Open water, inland, and enclosed diving 
  • Hazardous materials 
  • Blueprint rigging 
  • Hyperbaric chamber operations 
  • Surface and underwater cutting and welding 
  • Underwater tools 
  • Operational planning 
  • Blueprint reading 

CDI boasts state-of-the-art training facilities, including three 21,000-gallon tanks where students practice their diving skills. Students also train in confined space and penetration diving in the penetration tank. The 60-foot deep lake provides students with a challenging dive environment that mimics real-world conditions. Students learn workplace-ready skills in the hyperbaric chamber, too. 

Candidates should be physically and mentally fit to be considered for admission. Individuals with underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes or pulmonary disease, maybe disqualified for safety reasons. A high school diploma or its GED equivalent is also required. 

Students will also be required to pass a physical exam before entering the hyperbaric chamber or getting into a diving session. Extreme conditions are to be expected underwater, too. Students must also provide for their protective equipment, diving equipment, and welding equipment. 

Graduates receive several industry certifications as proof of their professional competence. These include NAUI Open Water SCUBA Certification, AWS Underwater Welding Course Completion Certificate, and AED User Certification. 

Programs Offered: 

  • NDT Certification 

Check out CDI’s Commercial Diver Training Program if you’re looking for an excellent program to fulfill your dreams! 


Commercial Diving Technologies Institute

Commercial Diving Technologies Institute

(On-site) Unrestricted Surface Supplied Diver Program 

CDT offers its world-class Unrestricted Surface Supplied Diver Program for individuals interested in being qualified for national and international jobs. Students earn several certifications after completing the requirements of the 24-week program, which translates to 900 hours. The program consists of classroom instruction and practical diving experiences according to industry regulations. 

Graduates earn the following certifications, among others: 

  • Qualified Rigging for Commercial Diving
  • Basic Offshore Survival Training
  • First Aid, AED, CPR, O2 Provider.
  • Job Safety Hazard Analysis 
  • Topside Welding 
  • Underwater Welding for Commercial Diving

CDT also offers an Underwater Burning Specialist program that trains students in underwater oxy-arc cutting operations’ safe and effective performance. This is a standalone program for certified commercial divers whose employment opportunities increase due to the added credential. 

The one-week program consists of 40 hours of training divided into two parts. First, a two-day safety course where dive school students and professionals learn about safety procedures. Second, a three-day practical diving course that experienced dive personnel will find to their liking. The latter includes training on the use of exothermic and tubular electrodes. 

The entire training program has been designed to meet or exceed industry standards, including ADCI Rev. 6.2 and ANSI/ACDE 01-2009 Standards. 

Programs Offered: 

  • National Surface Supplied Diver 
  • Diver Medic Technician 

Get more job opportunities with an extra credential through CDT’s Unrestricted Surface Supplied Diver Program


Divers Academy International 

Divers Academy International 

(On-site) Professional Commercial Diving Tech Program 

With its 40-year experience in training to aspiring and practicing commercial divers, DAI is recognized by its students and alumni, and industry players for excellence. Graduates can rely on their job placement services, too, in getting well-paying jobs across the country. 

Students learn from the best experts in commercial diving and its diverse aspects, from welding to decompression. The campus has a large classroom and commercial dive equipment, including dive stations, diving barge, and diving bell. There are also several retractable welding stages and a 60-foot sand quarry for training purposes. 

The six-month program consists of several courses crucial to a commercial diving career.  Students start with a school orientation where a campus tour, meet-and-greet activities, and signing of enrollment agreements are made.

Underwater cutting and welding courses are conducted in partnership with Lincoln Electric. Students train on Lincoln Electric’s equipment and learn skills in underwater burning and wet-shielded metal-arc welding. Bridge inspections, salvage operations, and non-destructive methods are also in the curriculum. Students also learn ROV operations, rigging skills under the RP-2D standards and engage in several underwater projects like buoyancy and flange assembly.

DAI has a single tuition structure without hidden charges. Graduates also receive several industry certifications, such as the coveted ANSI/ACDE diving certifications. 

Programs Offered: 

  • Commercial Diving Certifications 

DAI’s Professional Commercial Diving Tech program is the best because of its comprehensive courses, expert instructors, and affordable tuition. Look into it now and perhaps see your future in the industry! 


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What do Commercial Divers do?

The field of Commercial Diving covers a wide array of job opportunities. The primary concept is… performing a job underwater! Commercial Divers work as scuba divers that work on any type of repair, installation, or maintenance on equipment under a body of water, such as pipelines, oil rigs, or bridges, and the like. 

If you would like to photograph underwater life, Commercial Diving is also for you. In whichever job you decide to do underwater, you will also work with the appropriate tools to get the job done.

Is the job of a Commercial Diver difficult?

If you have a demanding job or specialization on dry land… just imagine doing the same thing underwater. Yes, that cannot be easy. When you add several hundred feet in depth, icy cold, and black conditions, performing your job may be difficult.  

What education is necessary to become a Commercial Diver?

Generally, high school education is the minimum requirement, although certifications will be required, particularly from a diving school. You will need to pass a diving physical, too. Are you a good swimmer? No doubt, you will need to be a strong swimmer. The job of a Commercial Diver can also be mentally challenging.

In addition, you will need training in the equipment you will be working on. Continued education and training are often required for success.

How To Become A Commercial Diver - fact

Will I need a license to be a Commercial Diver?

You will need to obtain your Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) card to access secure areas.

How long does it take to become a Commercial Diver?

The length of a Commercial Diving class can vary depending on the coursework; however, some last up to six weeks to six months. 

What accrediting agency should my training display?

The ACDE, or the Association of Commercial Diving Educators, is the proper accreditation for diving schools. 

Are there degree programs offered in Commercial Diving?   

Yes, often, those who have some experience under their belt are interested in obtaining an associate or bachelor’s degree for job promotions or becoming an instructor themselves.

How much money do Commercial Divers earn?

According to the BLS, the average salary for a Commercial Diver is $71,850 annually; however, the highest 10% earn upwards of $111,130 per year. 

Is there a demand for Commercial Divers?

According to CareerExplorer.com, the job growth rate for Commercial Divers is expected to increase by 9.8% between 2016 and 2026, adding up to 6,100 jobs in that period.  

What are the working conditions for Commercial Divers?

Commercial Divers often work during strenuous conditions in deep, dark, and cold water. Added complications include low visibility or waters filled with debris. Work hours are not typical as they sometimes spend weeks at sea. Working with explosives adds to the risks.

What will I learn in a Commercial Diver’s program?

Classes will consist of coursework in:

  • Standards for Commercial Diving
  • Diving Physics
  • Anatomy & Physiology
  • First Aid & CPR
  • Salvage Operations
  • Underwater Welding & Cutting
  • Drawings, Report Writing, and Blueprints
  • Hydraulics
  • Scuba Diving, and much, much more!

How do I begin a career as a Commercial Diver?

The best way to begin a career is by starting at the beginning, right? Often, a Diver’s Assistant (or Tender) position is a great way to gain valuable experience. On-the-job training for a few years will prepare you to dive professionally. Also, you will need time to sharpen your mechanical skills, so working as an assistant for a while is the way to go!

Malcolm Peralty
Chief Editor