Commercial diving offers one of the best returns on investment of any skilled job.

In fact, divers can expect to earn back the cost of training in less than a year.

Most commercial divers have paid off any debt within just a few years of starting work (yes, even those with a social life).

DIT students diving to 165′ in Lake Washington.

This makes commercial diving an extremely attractive industry for all those adventure-seeking people out there.

Perhaps the biggest step on the road to becoming an internationally accredited commercial diver is finding the best commercial diving school.

But, this is a little harder than you might think. Let’s see why.

We Are All Made of Different Stuff

Like it or not, we’re all different.

What works for one person might not work for another.

It’s for this reason that you need to be very careful about what school you enroll in.

Here are two things to consider when looking at diving schools.

Age

The age range for commercial diving students can vary quite considerably.

While students are typically in their early to late 20s, it’s not unusual to find that some of your classmates are in their 30s.

This means many professionals who decide upon a change of career find themselves signing up to become commercial divers.

One group that you will find doing this a lot is  ex-military or veterans.

But age does usually bring with it one major difference between students: experience.

Experience

Experience is king when it comes to most careers, and commercial diving is no exception.

Veterans tend to get up to speed faster than most other backgrounds thanks to the similarities with commercial diving.

The military not only refines essential qualities, such as discipline and hard work, but also acclimates people to small working and living spaces.

All of these are essential parts of life as a commercial diver.

Every Journey Starts with a Step

The above examples are just two of the many differences that commercial diving students will have.

Other differences include personality and attitude, learning abilities, diving preferences (saturation or inshore, for example) and even differences in body size and physiology.

DIT’s instructor, Jadon Anderson, on an International SAT dive.

The most important thing before even starting to research commercial diving centers is to understand yourself, your goals, and what you want out of the course.

These answers will help you to understand what kind of school, courses, and instructors you will need.

Once you have these in hand then you are ready to find a diving school.

The Divers Institute of Technology

For most students, The Divers Institute of Technology (DIT) is an ideal choice.

Based in Seattle, Washington, DIT is one of the world’s oldest and most respected commercial diving training centers.

DIT Instructor giving an underwater knot tying test.

Founded back in 1968, the school has graduated thousands of divers over the last 5 decades.

Class Sizes

Small class sizes are crucial to learning and getting hands-on practice. DIT understand this and makes sure class sizes are small enough for each student to get individualized help and practice.

The average class size is 23 at DIT, which means each student gets plenty of care and attention. All classes that include in water training, have two instructors with a class. 

Location

One of the enormous benefits that DIT has is its location. 

Seattle is a city basically built on water. The city has 200.90 miles of coast, both ocean and freshwater.

Part of this freshwater coast is the world-famous Puget Sound and Lake Washington.

DIT’s waterfront campus in both 1968 and 2020.

Both sites are close to Seattle city center and are used by DIT as training locations.

Students undertaking DIT’s Deep Dive module will find themselves diving 160 feet into Lake Washington where they will have the pleasure of trying to undertake tasks while under the influence of nitrogen narcosis.

Sound fun? Yes, it is.

Accreditation

The Divers Institute of Technology’s commercial diving course is one of the two dive schools in the United States that awards students with the Canadian Standards Association Unrestricted Surface Supplied Air Diver Certification. This certificate allows graduates to dive anywhere in the world.

So, if you are planning to work internationally, this is a very important fact that you will need to be aware of.

Course & Modules

DIT’s commercial diving course is comprised of 7-month-long modules that comprehensively cover everything students will need to learn.

While some shorter courses don’t include training such as sat diving, DIT dedicates a full month to each of the skill sets that students will need.

These include the following:

1.       Physics & Medicine

2.       Lightweight & Rigging

3.       Offshore & Hazmat

4.       Welding & Underwater Welding

5.       Salvage & Hydraulics

6.       SCUBA & Inland

7.       Deep Dives

DIT also offers a range of other advanced courses to allow qualified commercial divers to learn new skills that will allow them to expand their knowledge and boost their income, too.

DIT Advanced Courses:

  • Diver Medic Technician Course
  •  Kirby Morgan Hat Technician Course

Military Assistance 

The Divers Institute of Technology was started and remains co-owned by a veteran Navy diver.

Naturally, the school has close ties to the military and has a number of veterans working as instructors.

DIT’s recognized for being a Military Friendly school.

The school also handles post-9/11 GI Bill® funding to help veterans reduce the cost of the course. Another very welcomed bonus is the school actually waves the $100 application fee for veterans too.

Instructors

DIT’s instructors have two things in common.

First, they are all experienced commercial divers who have been there and done it all.

Their invaluable knowledge helps them know exactly what is important and what students can expect in any situation.

The other quality they share is a passion for teaching.

Welding in DIT’s topside welding shop.

All the instructors at DIT are there because they love teaching and having the chance to pass on their knowledge to the next generation.

This passion is infectious and is the perfect motivator to ensure students learn.

Entry Requirements

Basic requirements to become a commercial diver are as follows:

–          A high school diploma or equivalent

–          Must be 18 years of age

–          Proficient in English: speaking, reading and writing.

–          Must pass a diving physical and obtain a TWIC card.

–          Good at swimming

For more information on how to enroll in DIT’s commercial diving program, click this link.

Aran Davis, Writer for Water Welders