The Commercial Diver Network
I am looking to take my first steps into this world of yours, and I have a few questions.
Firstly, It's been asked a hundred times over but I'll ask it again here for some more up-to-date answers hopefully, among the major schools operating today what would you suggest for someone interested in working in the commercial diving industry? I have looked at DIT in Seattle, Wa, as well as The Underwater Centre in Fort Williams, Scotland, The NYD in Norway, Professional Diving Centre in South Africa, and recently CDA in Jacksonville, Florida. Currently I am leaning towards CDA, it is more expensive than most schools, but it offers the Canadian DCBC certification and I am interested in the potential of working overseas.
I am a U.S citizen. I find the idea of meeting new challenges, learning new skills, and hard work exciting. I thrive on adventure, and the ability to travel, the slow seasons with the ability to take time off, and a livable wage with lots of growth potential seems like a huge benefit to me. Especially coming from retail work where I made close to minimum wage on my feet 8 hours a day making a little over $8/hr. Before that I did odd jobs on a farm for a time, working 10-12 hour days, sometimes in freezing conditions. I have some experience in the medical field and I have fire department training.
I've heard offshore work breakout times may be a bit longer but transfer back to inland work, whereas the opposite is not true, working inland for a time then transferring offshore starts you back as a tender all over again, is this true?
Lastly, I have also read that the market is saturated with far more commercial divers than job openings. My response to that is to ask about the other niche jobs within the diving community. Even if I can't find work as an underwater welder or salvage work right out the door, are there many other opportunities in the diving world that pay a livable wage like seafood harvesting?
International travel potential, decent money, learning new skills in a challenging environment. All things that interest me about this possible career path. I'm asking you who have experience, what changes would you have made or what recommendations do you have for someone just entering your industry? I thank you for your answers, your suggestions, and your time.
Thank you for your insight and advice. I'm hearing some common themes among divers, that the most expensive schools aren't always the best, that jobs can be hard (but not impossible) to find, and that IMCA accepted schools are good for international work. The CDA in Florida is IMCA recognized which is one reason I'm leaning in that direction, its definitely not the cheapest, and Norway was a very attractive consideration for me as well. It is 2 months shorter than DIT in Seattle though for most of the same training, which is another consideration.
As far as "niche" jobs go, when I say that I suppose what I mean is seafood harvesting work and things like that. I'm sure over divers have tried them. But I also personally know people in that industry that are making a decent living (making over 60k a year) harvesting geoducks.
I guess in my mind I see myself looking for offshore work in the gulf or something similar if I graduate CDA, and if I am unable to find work doing that I would consider collecting sponges, geoducks, urchins, or anything else that would pay a livable wage. But welding and salvage are definitely interests of mine and I'd like to get on with a salvage company of some kind. I am currently single, with no attachments keeping me from traveling so international work is appealing if it can be found.
I shall continue researching this subject. In conclusion though, it seems it can be a much more rewarding job than retail (my past work experience). Thanks again for your thoughts, I appreciate any other advice from this community. I'm going into this with a pretty open mind and a willingness to work.
The ability to work any place in the world is the ticket you want and Norway would be the way to go. Before going to dive school I would look at Lincoln or Hobart welding school and get a 6G welding certification for pipe welding. this will keep you working when others are on the beach drinking beer and complaining.
I owned diving companies and I never hired a diver that was not a welder also.
Welders are at a premium and divers are a dime a dozen. If you just want to work in the Gulf of Mexico then Young Mermorial is a good school. Santa Barbara City College is the best in USA. or rob a bank and I will teach you for free at the California Institution for Men ( Chino Divers ) . Head to Norway kid you will lean more then diving .
Once again, I thank you all for the opinions and advice. It gives me much to consider.
My background being in retail work I have very little welding experience, and even less experience diving. I recently graduated with an associates in Fire Science and I'm fully certified as a fire fighter and an EMT (many fire departments only hire once a year, or every couple years, and job mobility is very slow with hundreds of applicants per job opening, I'm not interested in working retail for the next few years waiting for an opening with the fire department so that is part of what has perked an interest in diving). I've done rappelling and ropes-rescue courses and I have done my share of work with power and hand tools.
Norway was a very attractive school, and as Mr. Anderson said, CDA is very expensive, you're looking at around $30k for a 5 month course (but that does include food and shelter as I'll be living on campus) I've spoken to a relative of mine who graduated from DIT in Seattle and only paid around $12k, but that was several years ago. CDA's price is not too far different from The Underwater Centre once you factor in living costs, the course fee and living expenses in Scotland add up to almost $30k as well (but its a month shorter). I've called both schools and had conversations with the advisers at DIT, TUC, and CDA.
I need to learn more about this IRATA Rope Access cert, that sounds amazing. I like rappelling and heights usually don't bother me much once I'm out on a rope. Being an EMT, DMT is also very attractive to me, I am definitely interested in going for the dive medic cert regardless of what school I attend.
I'm a diver considering going for my DCBC a****sment at CDA in hopes that it will open some doors for international work. The dive school I went to (NJ) didn't offer it at the time. I have all the pre-requisite dives, depth and experience to complete the a****sment in 3 days. In your opinion, how effective is the DCBC in getting work overseas? Am I just wasting my time or does it actually provide a doorway to working internationally?