How to Compare Schools
Why CDA is Different
The first factor a prospective student should consider when choosing a school is the level of accreditation the school possesses. Simply stated, the more accreditations the better and you should not even consider schools without the minimum credentials. In the United States, minimum credentials are to be accredited by a body that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Federally recognized accreditation ensures that the school will follow the curriculum that they publish and that it has passed an independent audit performed by the agency. This accreditation will need to be renewed every 3 to 5 years. These schools are the only ones that will be able to offer you federal financial aid, including federal loans, both subsidized and unsubsidized, that are not credit-based, and Pell Grants (free money to apply to your education). CDA Technical Institute (CDA), formerly Commercial Diving Academy, is a federally accredited school.
The second factor for a prospective student to consider is the additional accreditations the school offers. The Association of Commercial Diving Educators (ACDE) offers both an accreditation and a certification. Graduates from these schools can work anywhere that the Association of Diving Contractors International (ADCI) regulates diving operations. The mainstay of the ADCI is the United States. This certification is NOT recognized in Europe, Australia or Canada. CDA is accredited by ACDE and ADCI.
The final question to ask is what schools offer an accreditation that is recognized internationally. The international certification needed to work throughout the world is a certification recognized by the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA). CDA offers this higher level training and is accredited by the Diver Certification Board of Canada (DCBC) and provides our students with certification recognized in the U.K., Norway, and Australia and qualifies our graduates to work anywhere in the world. CDA trains to a much higher standard than the other institutions. You will have a minimum of 50 hours of actual bottom time in open water diving to depths of 165 feet. Many of the other schools limit your diving to training tanks and you will never dive deeper than 20 feet.
Due to the higher level of certification, all our dives are supervised by certified Restricted/Unrestricted Air Diving Supervisors. All of our instructors are listed on this website with their diving credentials. If a school doesn't provide you with the resumes of the teaching staff, there is probably a reason. Please review our instructors' qualifications here.
Paying for School
As part of the decision process, you should also evaluate the total cost of training. Although funding is always under consideration, it is only part of the formula, which includes tuition, books, equipment, and, based on the length of the program, the expense of room and board. Ultimately, the most important factors and where CDA excels, are the quality of education, certifications offered, and the preparation for a successful career as a commercial diver.
After all the options are considered, why not Florida, where the beaches are better and the weather is nicer?