CDA Technical Institute's Commercial Diver Program

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8 Things to Know Before you Start Commercial diving

Commercial diving is a broader term that covers a lot more work and career fields than most people assume. While most assume commercial diving is centered around the offshore oil industry, there’s also inland commercial diving, bridge inspection, infrastructure repair, and more. It is a field of work that requires a skill set many people don’t have and nowadays specialized training at a commercial diving school.

You’ll learn a wealth of information from the moment you step onto campus, but what are some things you need to know before your first day at CDA Technical Institute?

1. What are the requirements?

You must be 18 years old and have earned a high school diploma or GED.

“Someone who likes to work with their hands will do well,” said Drew Duffy, a nine-year veteran of the U.S. Navy and current Admissions Specialist at CDA Technical Institute. “We also look for someone who isn’t just a good swimmer, but someone who is very comfortable in the water.”

Good physical health, a strong work ethic, mechanical ability, and the ability to obtain a Transportation Worker Identification Credential card are also requirements for admission.

2. Do I need welding experience to attend?

No. We are a Zero To Hero program.

“The biggest misconception is that you have to have a welding background or go to welding school to be admitted,” Duffy said. “Not at all.”

3. What’s your graduation rate?

In 2016, CDA Technical Institute had an 83 percent success ratio. That means that 83 percent of men and women who sign up for CDA Technical Institute graduate.

“And this year we had 92 percent of graduates go to work in the industry after graduation,” Duffy said.

4. Do I really need to live in the dorms?

“Traditionally if someone isn’t from the area, or if they’re single or young, we always suggest the dorms,” Duffy said. “Traditional apartments and condos lease for a full year, not the five months you’ll need for class. You can move in at the beginning of your module and move out at the end and only pay month-to-month. There are also short-term rentals available should you need an extra room.”

Staying on campus also allows you to be closer to all the facilities, staff, training resources, and more. It helps keep you focused -- and if you’re looking to make a life change like becoming a commercial diver, the fewer distractions the better.

5. Is commercial diving dangerous?

“Follow the rules all the time. No excuses. A goes to B goes to C. You never go A to C.”

Allen G. Garber is the Chief Administrative Officer at CDA Technical Institute and he makes it very clear to all prospective and new students: You can get seriously hurt working as a commercial diver. But that’s why you become competent and certified -- to minimize those accidents.

“The majority of accidents I’ve seen come from people not listening. If they had listened and followed instructions exactly as they were told, the accident would not have happened or would not have been as serious.”

6. How long will it take to get a job once I graduate?

It all depends on how motivated you are. The harder you work, the faster you will find an opportunity.

“I graduated in November and didn’t want to go to work before Christmas,” said Brandon Mounts who graduated from CDA Technical Institute in 2006 and went straight to the oilfield where he specialized in pipeline installation, maintenance, repair, and removal. “From there, I started calling people at the beginning of January and by January 7th I was hired on.”

7. Will my military experience help?

Yes. From physical fitness to the mindset that will help you succeed, military experience is a big plus.

“I don’t see one military guy doing badly right now,” said Matthew Simonson, who was an eight-year veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard and is expected to graduate from CDA Technical Institute in July 2017. “My background with the U.S. Coast Guard helped with the day-to-day stuff like waking up early, working hard -- but it was more about the respect thing. You have to respect your instructors and a lot of people who don’t have that military background struggled.”

8. What’s the physical fitness requirement?

Physical fitness can mean the difference between life and death in some situations. It’s that important.

“From what I hear from the instructors, it’s manual labor,” Simonson said. “It’s rough -- whether it’s offshore or inshore. And you need to be comfortable with the water. I mean, we have our classroom days, but once you get in the water and try to put it to use some guys may lose themselves. Guys who surf or are around the water all the time, I think that helps too.”

Potential employers also give preference to the healthiest applicants. Medical tests and physical exams can involve general physical fitness exams, hearing tests, vision tests, urine drug screen, and more.

posted 11/21/2017 in Careers, Commercial Diving, Helpful Tips, Underwater Welding

Tags: commercial diving, underwater welding, helpful tips


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