Courses & Curriculum

Introduction To Commercial Diving School

Introduction To Commercial Diving School

Divers Academy International® offers two separate intensive career programs, each providing top training and professional certifications in its technological field. Our commercial diving programs offer students the opportunity to obtain the ANSI/ACDE United States commercial dive certification and the DCBC international dive certification.

Students will attend the first 20 weeks of training at our main campus in Erial, NJ to gain the required 30 hour minimum of dive time in up to 60 feet of water. Those seeking to obtain an international DCBC certification will complete an additional five weeks of training held at our satellite campus in Allentown, PA. The advanced courses take students through the required 20 hours of dive time in 60 to 165 feet of water to qualify.

Whatever your career aspirations, our commercial diving programs provide all of the theory, practical experience, and certifications you need to enter and advance in your exciting new career as a professional diver.

*Students who complete all DCBC CSA standards may apply for DCBC CSA standard Z275.4 commercial diver unrestricted certification.

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Divers Academy Curriculum Overview

School Orientation

Students will be given a campus tour and the opportunity to meet our faculty, review equipment, and familiarize themselves with the Academy prior to signing Enrollment Agreement contracts. During orientation, students will review program requirements and procedures. Students will also have the opportunity to visit the school store to purchase dive gear.

Underwater Cutting and Welding

Welding is one of the main components of our training program. Divers Academy is a Lincoln Electric-sponsored welding school, and we are proud to feature training on Lincoln welding equipment, including the new state-of-the-art Lincoln VRTEX 360. This virtual welding system will help students analyze and perfect welding skills more quickly. Students will learn wet-shielded metal-arc welding and underwater burning and then continue to develop and refine these skills through extensive practice. The underwater welding certification is part of the ACDE/ANSI Commercial Dive Certification. Our program meets the AWS SENSE training program requirements. Graduates who excel in this area may request that their employers assist them in qualifying for the advanced AWS D3.6 underwater welding qualification field test.


This course will include salvage theory, types of vessel salvage, and stability factors and buoyancy. Students will be instructed in dewatering methods, gas hazards, towing principles, cofferdams, and the use of lift bags. As rigging skills and diving skills are enhanced, students will concentrate on combining skill sets to perform a boat salvage project.

Bridge Inspections

Bridge inspection requirements have increased substantially, causing a large demand for divers in the inland commercial diving community. Students will be introduced to the proper nomenclature and bridge elements, how to evaluate damage, the various techniques for evaluating steel, concrete and timber substructures, and proper waterway evaluation based on the Bridge Inspector’s Reference Manual.

Non-Destructive Testing (NDT)

Retrieving data for evaluation has become an essential part of inspecting structures for strength and soundness and Integrity. Technology has revolutionized non-destructive inspection abilities. The most popular underwater application is MAG Particle and Liquid Penetrant. Students will learn to perform flaw detection and inspection techniques. NDT MAG Particle and NDT Liquid Penetrant Certifications are provided after successful completion.

Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV)

ROVs are one of the most advanced pieces of search and recovery equipment in today’s industry. This course features the new state-of-the-art Video Ray ROV system and introduces students to the operations, field maintenance, and search procedures needed to develop and refine technical skills.


Upon successful completion, students will be certified to the American Petroleum Industry, RP-2D standard. Rigging skills and the ability to tie knots are valuable skills for a diver to master. Students will learn to identify various fiber and synthetic lines and associated hardware; become familiar with the concepts of computing safe working loads; master the skill of knot-tying to include bends, hitches, and splicing line; and progress onto various essential rigging tools.

Underwater Projects

This course refines and integrates practical skills with real-world scenarios designed to build and correlate with the functions of the diving industry. Students rotate through a variety of responsible positions while learning to think critically and to make decisions. This course includes flange assembly projects, buoyancy, and lifting projects.

Pipe Penetration

Resources are pumped through pipelines or transferred through filtration systems, which require divers to perform pipe inspections internally. This course will prepare students to effectively develop the safety skills required to operate safely in this environment while penetrating inside and outside a pipeline.

Diving Physics & Physiology Theory

Students will acquire the knowledge of the effects of pressure on the body. Through carefully planned instruction, students will study pressure, how to select and calculate proper air supply and required proper breathing mediums, and the importance of buoyancy controls.

Medical Aspects of Diving Theory

Students will receive training in anatomy and physiology and be instructed in the prevention and treatment of diving injuries, learn about the primary and secondary effects of pressure on the body, and be introduced to air and oxygen treatment tables. Students will also become familiar with environmental hazards and marine life.

Decompression and Treatment Tables

After understanding how pressure affects the body, students will study decompression. This course includes recompression chamber operations, decompression procedures, air decompression tables, repetitive dive tables, mixed gas (HeO2) decompression tables, routine and emergency dive medicine treatment tables, air and O2 treatment tables, surface decompression, and altitude diving procedures.


Because the diving professional must be able to communicate clearly and accurately, this course presents students with the visual, voice and line pull communications systems between the diver and topside tenders.

Hyperbaric Chamber Operations

As a professional in the commercial dive industry, graduates will be required to use hyperbaric chambers to perform decompression dives on a regular basis. This course covers hands-on chamber operations such as inside and outside operators, timekeeping, intercom systems, the importance of proper communications, various chamber piping systems, lock-out and lock-in procedures, and practical decompression dives.

Commercial Scuba

The commercial scuba course, as it relates to commercial diving, will include nomenclature and function of equipment, pool training, charging air tanks, maintenance and safety precautions, and search procedures. NAUI Scuba certification is not included in this class but is available at Divers Academy as an independent certification through weekend classes.

Dive Tending

The ability to properly set up and maintain a safe dive station is often the first responsibility an employer will assign. Students will learn techniques in proper dressing and undressing of the diver, water entry and descent, signals and communication, rate of ascent and decompression, and recording dive charts and timekeeping. Students will be introduced to air systems, chamber operations, and dive helmet maintenance and continue to master dive charts and air decompression tables.

Offshore Oil Operations

The offshore commercial diving industry specializes in oil rig platforms and pipeline inspection, maintenance, and repair. In the course, students will be introduced to the nomenclature of the various types of offshore structures. Students will advance and refine skills while performing a pipeline flange assembly on our pipeline project.

Surface Decompression

Students will learn to conduct surface decompression dives in the hyperbaric chamber safely. This is an advanced project that is as exciting as it is challenging. Students will level bottom in the water, surface, and transfer to the hyperbaric chamber to perform surface decompression dives.

Diving Equipment Maintenance

Students will become familiar with the latest brands and styles of dive equipment currently used in the industry. They will also be introduced to advanced commercial air and mixed gas dive helmets, both demand and free flow style including Superlite 17 helmets, Superlite 27, 37, 77 helmets, and Desco commercial hard hats. Students will progress onto repair of dive helmets and the diver’s umbilical assembly, be introduced to diver manifold systems with pneumofathometers, diver intercom systems, and air systems diagramming. Students will be certified in the proper maintenance and repair of Dive Systems International (KMDSI) helmets and will receive KMDSI hat maintenance certification upon successful completion of the program.

Underwater Tools

The most common tools used underwater are hydraulic. Upon completion, students will be familiar with the use of impact wrenches and grinders and have acquired hands-on training of airlifts, jetting, and hand wrenches.

Oxygen Provider

Students will receive training in anatomy and physiology and be instructed in treating diving injuries. The hazards and benefits of oxygen will be covered in this course, as well as oxygen delivery systems. Upon completion, students will have gained the knowledge for providing oxygen to an injured diver.

Dive Boat Seamanship

Students will learn to perform in a real-world environment from our barges. Scenarios are designed to give students the opportunity to refine and to integrate commercial diving skills and develop the skills of small craft safety and navigation rules of the road.

Inspections and Report Writing

It is imperative for graduates to be able to read and understand employer’s job plans. Students will be introduced to proper inspection procedures and will develop report writing skills and blueprint reading, job hazard analysis, and material handling procedures.

Inland Diving Operations

Divers Academy is the leading inland diving school and was the first school to introduce bridge inspection and inland dive training courses. Inland diving is fast becoming the leading area of growth in the commercial diving industry due to aging harbors, bridges and the evolving diversity in technology and increasing regulations governing inland structures. Working in the country’s rivers requires special skills and procedures for zero visibility diving and working with fast-moving currents and tidal changes. Students will become proficient in vessel inspections, intake structures, dams, water treatment plants, traveling water screens, and be able to perform a pipe penetration inspection on our pipeline system project.

Safety Standards

Safety standards will cover OSHA and Coast Guard Regulations, as well as the ADCI Standards of safe dive practices, IMCA, DCBC standards, and all of our affiliated association industry safety standards.

First Aid & CPR

This course will provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to prevent, recognize, and provide basic care for injuries and sudden illness until advanced medical personnel arrive. Upon successful completion, students will receive an oxygen provider certification.


Students receive 40 hours of training certification under OSHA’s HAZWOPER standard, covering hazard recognition and control, basic chemical and toxicological principles, and decontamination procedures. This training is a basic requirement for workers with hazardous materials and diving in contaminated waters. This course requires Dry Suit Diving.

Hot Water Systems

Students will experience diving hot water systems and be exposed to the safety procedures required when working in and around hot water systems. This is a sought-after skill by employers that work with mixed gas and adverse weather conditions.

Underwater Video, Monitoring, & Recording Devices

This course introduces various applications for underwater videography and monitoring equipment. Today’s workplace relies heavily on informational data collected through the use of video monitoring.

Nitrox Mixed Gas Diving – (Specialty Elective)

This course introduces one of the most advanced phases of diving. Emphasis will be placed on the types of gases used in diving. Students will further develop their understanding of operating a mixed gas rack and performing open water nitrox mixed gas dives from a diving stage. Divers Academy is one of the few schools that performs open water mixed gas dives in the United States due to the expense.

Saturation Diving Theory

This course introduces students to the theory and concepts of saturation diving systems and personnel transfer capsules and the various life support systems commonly used by offshore employers.

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