Are you ready to explore a career in the underwater world?
Diving is an amazing hobby, but it can also be a rewarding and fulfilling way to make a living.
Whether you want to become an underwater photographer, a marine biologist, or a commercial diver, there are plenty of diving schools to help you get there. All the schools below will help you get certified and prepare for a career in the underwater world.
So if you’re looking for the perfect program to jump start your new career, here is your guide to all the great diving schools America has to offer!
List Of Commercial Diving Schools
Below are some of the best schools you can attend to earn a commercial diving license. The schools and data are compiled from the Integrated Postsecondary Education System (IPEDS) and the Association of Diving Contractors International (ADCI).
This list was last reviewed January 2023.
Commercial Divers International
Average Net Price: $26,636
This roughly 900 hours of diving training includes coursework and hands-on training in their state of the art facility. Their 2.8 acre facility, offers three 21,000 gallon tanks, a penetration tank, and a 37 acre 60′ deep lake.
All of these provide the best opportunities for beginner divers to practice skills in the most realistic work scenarios.
- Rigging and seamanship
- Open water, inland, and enclosed diving
- Blueprint rigging
- Hyperbaric chamber operations
- Surface and underwater cutting and welding
- Underwater tools
- Operational planning
- Blueprint reading
The College of the Florida Keys
Average Net Price: $16,338
Commercial Diving Technologies Institute
CDTI offers several programs including unrestricted surface supplied diver, national surface supplied diver, diver medic, and underwater burning specialist.
The unrestricted surface supplied diver program is a 26-week course (900 hours) and will provide you the training needed to do diving jobs to a depth of 165 feet. This program will allow you to graduate with several certifications in various areas which will increase your job opportunities. You can also achieve a DCBC certification which will allow you to work worldwide.
The national surface supplied diver is a 17-week (625 hour) course which will allow you to weld and burn underwater, do decompression dives, and work on offshore projects. The diver medic technician course is a 2-week program that will allow you to provide medical services to injured divers. The underwater burning specialist is a 1-week course where a diver can learn more about oxy-arc cutting in a more hands-on environment.
Minnesota Commercial Diver Training Center
The Minnesota Commercial Diver Training Center offers a commercial diver.tender course which is an introductory class for diving. Students will learn about diving apparatus, regulations, and fundamental diving techniques. The course is 11-weeks (625+ hours).
Upon graduation students will achieve a variety of certifications including:
- ADCI Entry Level Tender/Diver Certification
- DSI Dive Lab
- TDI and PADI Nitrox I
- TDI Advanced Nitrox
- TDI Nitrox Gas Blender
- American Red Cross: 02 Provider
- American Heart Association: CPR & First Aid
Average Net Price: $26,240.00
The Ocean Corporation delivers hands-on training and coursework that can have you in the workforce in as little as 8 months.
- Offshore oilfield diving
- Inland diving
- Surface and underwater welding
- Mixed-gas and lock-out diving
- Recompression chamber operations
- Nuclear/contaminated environment diving
- Rigging certification
- Hazardous environment intervention
- Offshore survival and safety
- Underwater nondestructive testing
- MT & UT Level I & II
Divers Institute of Technology
Average Net Price: $38,105.00
DIT has over 50 years of experience helping commercial divers learn the tricks of the trades. Their graduates go on to work in hazmat, salvage, inland, offshore, and saturation diving careers.
They offer an intensive 7-month program. Each month will focus on the following topics:
- Physics and medicine
- Lightweight and rigging
- Offshore and hazmat
- Underwater welding and burning
- Scuba and inland
- Deep dives
Upon graduation from the program you can receive a variety of certifications that will certify your experience and skills and increase your job opportunities.
Commercial Diver Salaries
Commercial divers can easily make over $100K annually after gaining experience. Below are the average median salaries for commercial divers across the United States.
The states with the most opportunities and highest wages include:
- New Jersey
- New Hampshire
Choosing A Commercial Diving School
Before attending any trade school, you need to do your homework. While this list can get you started, there are a lot of things to consider before attending.
- Do a search in Google. Reddit, Quora, or educational sites to see what others say about the school.
- Make sure it holds the accreditations it says it does.
- For diving schools, they should be accredited by the Association of Commercial Diving Educators (ACDE).
- Check to see if they offer job placement.
- Is financial aid an option?
Why A Specialized Diving School Is A Better Option
This list includes some specialized diving schools as well as some community colleges. For this specific career we would highly recommend you attend a specialized school that only focuses on commercial diving instruction.
Most community colleges will not have all the required tools and real-world emulators that a commercial diving school can provide.
Because of the dangers of diving jobs, it is critical to have the decompression chamber experiences, real-world welding experiences underwater, and that you learn from people who have done the work you want to do.
The costs may be higher, but the return on investment for this career is very high!
Other School Information
There were a few other diving schools that you might see on other websites, but they are either closed or have had some issues.
We wanted to make sure you are aware of these schools:
- Divers Academy International (NJ) – closed permanently effective 12/30/21
- CDA Technical Institute – website is down and they seemed to have a very bad reputation, read story here.
- The International Diving Institute (SC) is permanently closed as of August 2021.
This is why it is so important to really evaluate any school you are considering attending!