CDA Technical Institute's Commercial Diver Program

Success Stories/Testimonials

Austin Clark – CDA Graduate – March 23rd

“I really enjoyed my time at CDA. If anybody leaves a bad review it's because they are lazy and can't find work or they couldn't get their way. This school is TOP OF THE LINE in technical schools. I work hard to be the best and CDA definitely prepared me to become a Commercial Diver. GREAT Staff and Instructors. The school is beat up from the hurricane but being cleaned up nicely. I just found a job already and I have 1 week left here. There's too much work and not enough divers. Just people want things handed to them, and that's not what being a diver is.”

Chad Colvin – CDA Graduate – February 23rd

“I graduated on Feb 25, 2018 from CDA. As of today on March 1st, I have been hired on with Seaward Marine Corps. I wanted to thank all of the instructors and staff at the school for training and giving me the knowledge to go out into this industry to become a Grade A diver eventually. Companies are hiring in the field. I put my resume out there and had 2 interviews in just 1 day. I went to my first one this morning for Mainstream Commercial Diving, people were talking about me being dressed in a shirt and tie. But during my interview I was told that is one thing companies are looking for is professionalism and was impressed with me being dressed in that manner. CDA teaches us about professionalism and how to go about getting a job. It is up to you as a student and/or future student to have the drive to go out and get the jobs. They are not just going to fall in your lap. Have the drive to be the best and make a name for your-self. I know I am on that track. Thanks again CDA.”

Camden Matherne – CDA Graduate – January 26th

“I have learned a tremendous amount of knowledge about the diving industry all of the instructors know what they are talking about and do a great job of teaching it. I graduate in 4 days and already have a job lined up!”

Benjamin Schooley – CDA Graduate – January 26th

“The education I have learned here goes far beyond that of "just" diving. Teamwork, discipline, and responsibility are keys to success in the diving industry, and they are values instilled in us here at CDA. Do you want to work at Walmart your whole life? For me, I am going to the bottom of the ocean.”

George Scott Barrett – CDA Graduate – January 12th

“There are mixed reviews on here, but you get out of it what you put into it. I’ll admit when I got there last August I was a little disappointed. There was a turnover of Instructors literally the week before I started, but after that there was a hurricane that destroyed the back half of the main building. With all that that had happened they hired a couple of outstanding instructors and a new head chief. Within a few weeks the schedule had been more streamlined and things started turning around. I got out of the program everything I needed to begin a career as a entry level tender/diver. Which is what you are if you graduate. The only problem I have with the negativity, it’s with the immature students that come through. They want the royal treatment, w/o putting forth any effort. I was lucky enough that I had three job offers within a couple of weeks of graduating. Due to personal reasons I had to wait to start job searching. Dr. Scanlon started a week before I graduated and was helping me from the start. He works hard at his job to ensure success of graduates. It is up to them to get the job. “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make em drink” You have ALL the tools you need to be successful when you graduate. There shouldn’t be any excuses. In my opinion, it was bumpy at times, but overall it was well worth it. I’d do it again.”

Collin Helenbrook’s Father – CDA Graduate – December 22nd

“My son just graduated from the program with confidence that he will have a successful career as a commercial diver. The instructors were very professional, and the school has a very good placement record for students. Most students have jobs lined up before they graduate.”

Drew Griffin – CDA Graduate – December 9th 2017

The education you will receive is excellent, IF YOU ARE WILLING TO LEARN

Lorrie Hembree – Mother – CDA Graduate – November 17th

“I would highly recommend this program! Two of my sons graduated from this school. One of my sons took about a month to get a job, and the other one has a possible job lined up, and he just graduated. But, the bottom line is you will have to look for a job yourself, and they will give you all the tools you need to do so. After graduation, my sons applied everywhere, and were willing to travel. The staff support was outstanding, and not only teaches the Commercial diving skill, but, how to be upstanding young men. The only downside that people need to remember is that this career field can be dangerous, no matter how well trained you are. However, I believe the school teaches them well to prepare for those dangers. If a student is well trained, and willing to work hard, then they have a bright future. I am very proud of my sons! Thank you CDA!”

Robert Daniels – CDA Graduate – November 3rd

“Graduated on November 3 2017 and I have had multiple job opportunities and I have my second job interview with Underwater Construction Corp the best inland company in the United States. So I don't understand the hatred.”

Eric Helms – CDA Graduate – August 25th 2017

“I haven’t had any problem finding work and neither has anybody i went to school with. Maybe the problem is you and not the school.”

Benjamin Schooley - Class 0917A                      
The education I have learned here goes far beyond that of "just" diving. Teamwork, discipline, and responsibility are keys to success in the diving industry, and they are values instilled in us here at CDA. Do you want to work at Walmart your whole life? For me, I am going to the bottom of the ocean.

Josh DesJarlais, CDA Class 1106Josh DesJarlais, CDA Class 1106

"Deciding to become a Commercial Diver was not something I came to overnight, nor was it something I took lightly. For me, attending dive school was going to be a major life-changing decision, and I wanted to get it right the first time. Before making my decision I thoroughly researched all of the top schools in the country, and ultimately come to the conclusion that CDA was the clear top choice, which is why I had no reservations about quitting my previous low-paying job and driving cross-country from the Pacific Northwest to Jacksonville, Fl to attend Commercial Diving Academy, where my life would change forever. Not only was I joining a trade school, I was joining a brotherhood: a brotherhood of CDA graduates, and ultimately a closely-knit brotherhood of offshore Gulf divers. The skills and tools I learned from CDA proved to be invaluable. On every hitch offshore and on every boat I was on as a tender, all of us hands that stood out above the rest were CDA graduates. Attending CDA prepared me physically and mentally for the tasks and rigors of offshore diving. From welding, to choking hose, to my Dive Medic Training, I and other CDA graduates stood out among the rest. Within my second week offshore ever, my DMT skills were put to use and I was put in to the saturation system at 200 ft. to bring out a sick diver. 6 months later, I was the Lead Tender and part of the core group on a 4-point dive support vessel. And after just under 14 months tending, I was broken out and diving full-time, including deep-gas diving, and two runs in saturation. I attribute this success to my hard-work and dedication, but also largely to the world-class training I received Commercial Diving Academy, training that cannot be matched at other Dive Training Facilities."

Deedee Ryals, LST for Epic Divers & Marine, CDA Class 1205

"I came to this career path a little later in life than most, so my intent in going to dive school was never to be a long-term commercial diver but to serve my time as one in order to break into the industry. It has long since been a goal of mine and after a major hurricane had hit, the time was never better to go for it. Deedee Ryals CDA Class 1205 I investigated most all dive schools and in my view there was never a second choice. CDA far exceeded my expectations in their thoroughness in preparing me for this field. Not only was it showing me how to be a commercial diver, they were teaching me how to be successful in this industry for a long term career. They gave me all the essential elements to go from tender on up the ladder to superintendent or project management and all the in between. The knowledge given is the bases for a fundamentally sound future in the diving world; broad but precise. To not take advantage of such a well rounded school would have been a great loss to me in my pursuit of being in the commercial diving industry for a long time. Going to CDA was a perfect match for my goals and i was never disappointed with what i walked away with when I graduated there. The education for a successful career, the personal touch in ones aspirations, and the bonds and friendships shared, all were and continue to be the back bone to my success in the commercial diving industry. Thank u CDA! I highly recommend u to all interested in this pursuit!"


Jay Veremey, Sat Diver, CDA Class 0302Jay Veremey, Sat Diver, CDA Class 0302

“I still remember the first day I came to the school, with nothing but a desire for a career. Shortly thereafter, I knew I wanted to be a sat diver and through all the trials and tribulations and with the support of a great and understanding wife, I am accomplishing my goals. I work 30 days on/30 days off and have been on jobs at 700 feet for weeks, which is a big step from jumping off the dock, but we all have to learn somehow. Everyone always has questions related to my job, so hopefully this gives you better insight. A recent job involved removing a four leg platform in 120 feet of water, known as a surface job because after the dive is complete, we decompress in a chamber on the surface. This platform was knocked down during Katrina and the depth being 120 feet means the total platform height is around 180 feet from mud line to the deck. The entire top package weighed 185 tons/370,000 pounds and it took over a year of diving to make the lift, which had to be inspected, then the clamps needed to be engineered and fabricated and then we could salvage it. It took us 297 dives to install the clamps to support the lift. Working in the Gulf of Mexico and the South China Sea, we have seen sharks, including a five foot hammerhead and black tips, red snapper, Goliath grouper and plenty of trigger fish. This is just the tip of one of the many aspects my job encompasses.”

Andrew McCutchen, EMT/DMT, CDA Class 1209

"I graduated from the Commercial Diving Academy March 26, 2010 went to work for a inland company doing salvage and ship husbandry. While I was at CDA, I elected to take the EMT/DMT program. I am now contracted by BP as the Coordinator of all Offshore Medical Operations. I was deployed to the Gulf last Saturday, where I was working as a DMT and was on over 4 boats on the first day. The second day I went offshore there were 60 boats. I called in to the Command Center in Mobile, Alabama and they told to to come in that night. I went to the Command Center and received the job to coordinate all Offshore Medical Operations. I now am hiring any and every competent DMT that I can get my hands on. I am paying a day rate of $300 a day per DMT.  Also, I am paying them $150 a day when they are on shore. You have helped me employ 9 DMTs as of right now, and within the next few weeks, I am going to need around 25. Every DMT I have on staff has come from CDA. I am willing to hire them straight out of school and take them under my wings and help them learn medical skills and about the offshore industry. Please take the time to read this email to the student body and help me stress the point of the importance of DMT.  The training I received from CDA got me where I am now and I can't thank the staff enough for helping me do this.

Thank you for all your help and training and support, which I have received from all staff at CDA."