Underwater Welding School - Divers Institute of Technology
Divers Institute of Technology

Established 1968 – Veteran Owned & Operated

How to Get Started to Obtain a Commercial Diving Certification

Like a lot of divers, you may daydream about leaving your regular office job to pursue a profession spent in the water. If you love to dive and want to turn your favorite hobby into a rewarding career, commercial diving might be right for you. You may be wondering what’s required or what the job would entail. If this is the case, why not learn more about commercial diving, certification requirements, and how to get started?

If you choose to pursue commercial diving, you will undergo vigorous training and perform physically demanding work. You will also benefit from a rewarding long-term career in a growing industry that provides unique opportunities to travel the world and challenge yourself. Consider all of the possible benefits and learn more about how a career under the sea could be the right next step for you. 

What Will I Do As a Commercial Diver?

Before you obtain a commercial diving certification, you should have a solid, realistic understanding of what the job requires. Commercial diving is a broad term that encompasses a wide variety of underwater activities. A commercial diver trains in underwater industrial construction. The skills and trades are made even more demanding by the environment in which they are performed. Divers install, repair, retrieve, and maintain structures and equipment of varying shapes and sizes hundreds of feet below the surface of the water.

In short, it is physically demanding work. Commercial diving is not a 9-to-5 job. It will require more hours and more hard work than most other traditional careers. A commercial diver can be out at sea for two to six weeks at a time and can work up to 12 hours a day. 

Offshore vs. Inland Divers: What’s the Difference?

Two broad categories of commercial diving jobs are offshore diving and inland diving. Each offers distinct advantages and different lifestyles. 

Offshore work takes place on vessels and platforms in the open ocean throughout the globe. The major part of this work supports the oil and gas industry. However, it can also include major salvage operations and subsea construction. 

On the other hand, inland divers perform underwater construction, in-water inspections including the use of Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) procedures, pier, and pile installation and repair, ship’s husbandry, and dam and bridgework.

In general, the offshore diving category offers more international travel. Offshore commercial divers are usually away from home for longer periods of time. An example is six weeks at a time with one week off in between. Inland commercial diving may be a better fit for divers who prefer not to be traveling for long periods of time. Often, inland divers have more “normal” working hours and shorter days. However, inland divers may still travel for weeks at a time to perform work for larger contracts.

Job Types for Commercial Divers

Commercial divers can choose from a varied spectrum of commercial diving career opportunities. Some category examples of diving specialties include the following. 

  • Hazmat: This type of career is highly technical, requires special equipment, and is all about maintaining control in highly hazardous environments. This includes nuclear and hydrodynamic plants, industrial plants, chemical manufacturing areas, and any other location that involves biohazards underwater. Hazmat divers perform containment, clean up, and disposal of hazardous materials.
  • Salvage: Some commercial divers salvage ships and their cargo, aircraft, and other vehicles and structures that have fallen or sunk in the water. Sometimes the goal of a salvage job is to pull out tools or structures that are still valuable. Other times the goal of a salvage job is to remove objects or structures that could be environmentally intrusive. 
  • Saturation: Saturation (SAT) diving work is a small community of experienced divers who have a significant amount of SAT-specific training. Divers work in specialized decompression chambers that double as living facilities equipped with bunks, dining areas, and bathrooms. Note that most divers are not eligible for this type of diving until they have several years of experience.

Commercial Diving Requirements

If the prospect of this profession appeals to you, the next step is to make sure you are a good candidate. This means meeting all the requirements and prerequisites for training. The good news is that if you are trying to obtain a commercial diving certification, there are not many prerequisites to stand in your way. All candidates must be at least 18 years of age and have a high school diploma or equivalent. Candidates will also be required to pass a diving physical and obtain a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) card.

A good candidate for a commercial diving certification will also have good swimming skills and some background or a sense of mechanics. While previous diving and/or mechanical experience is not required, it is certainly an advantage that will benefit you during training. 

Why Choosing the Right Commercial Diving School Matters 

After you determine that you have the right requirements and meet all of the prerequisites, you should start searching for diving schools near you. The training to become a commercial diver varies from school to school. As a result, vetting the schools’ programs before choosing your path is one of the most important steps in this process. Check out their websites and learn more about each school’s curriculum, staff, career planning resources, and alumni support. Each of these key qualities, together, create a top-tier diving school. You should also confirm the accreditation and licensing of each school. 

After you do your research on the diving schools and determine your top choices, request more specific information. There should be a designated point of contact for prospective students. You should ask about each school’s various programs. The length of training, the school’s cost, which certifications they offer, and financing options are important, too. After that, it’s time to apply and begin your journey to a new and fulfilling career!

Divers Institute of Technology Can Help You

At DIT, we provide divers with the knowledge and skills required to be successful as an entry-level commercial diver, whether employed domestically or internationally. Our graduates enter the workforce with the right education, industry connections, and real-world experience necessary to succeed. If your current job lacks the excitement and adventure you’re searching for, and you want a challenging, rewarding career, then commercial diving might offer just the career path for you. Learn more today! You can also fill out an application here. 

Upcoming Class Starts
August 13Learn More