GI Bill® Enrollment Frequently Asked Questions…
Q – What is my service obligation before being eligible for benefits
A – Generally, you must serve a minimum of 3 years Active Duty to be eligible for 100% of benefits, but each veteran is encouraged to contact their VA representative as each career may be different in the types of service (Reserve Component on Active Duty tours, for instance).
Q – What benefits are approved to use for training with Dive Oahu?
A – If approved, you will use the Montgomery GI Bill®, Post 9/11 GI Bill®, or the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment benefits. Your VA representative will instruct you on additional benefits which may apply. Although we can’t accept tuition assistance at this time, you should consult with your VA representative about which GI Bill® benefits you’re qualified to use for training. To determine the amount of your benefit used for training, a general calculation every $1750 in tuition and equipment is approximately equivalent to 1 month of GI Bill® Benefits used. For example, our PADI Divemaster Program includes Open Water Scuba Diver certification through Divemaster certification and uses approximately 4.5 months of your benefits. We do prorate the programs if you already have some of the PADI certifications. This is an approximate calculation only, so please contact your VA rep after consulting with Dive Oahu’s VA Program Manager.
Q – OK, I’m interested in using my GI Bill® benefits to enroll in training…how long does the program last?
A – Enrolling in one of Dive Oahu’s training courses by using your GI Bill® benefits is a serious commitment. You will train every weekend for the duration of the programs you enroll in.
11 weeks from Open Water to Dive Master
10 weeks from Advanced Open Water to Divemaster
9 weeks from EFR/Rescue to Divemaster
7 weeks for Divemaster only
8 weeks for Open Water Scuba Instructor including the Emergency First Response Instructor Course
3 weeks for Master Scuba Diver Trainer
7 weeks for Instructor Development Course Staff
Q – What about dive equipment and accessories?
A – You will order your dive equipment from the Dive Oahu VA Manager during enrollment. You must receive this gear, and there are no substitutions. Since many of our students are using benefits, the VA has approved a mandatory equipment package all students must receive. You may sell the equipment and purchase a brand of your choice later, but the equipment package includes all MANDATORY equipment required for training. If you already have gear, we are still required to issue this equipment to you.
Q – So I’m enrolling, but I don’t live on Oahu…where do I stay?
A – We do not provide housing but can certainly help get you started. Oahu has a very expensive rental market, but you do have options. Be prepared to spend a couple weeks in short term rental like AirBnB. Most rentals are listed on Craigslist, but ask us before signing a contract – we may be able to provide some advice on the area. You are going to probably spend up to $1500 a month for a one bedroom rental. Areas to look include Honolulu, Waikiki, McCully, Makiki, Pololo, Aiea, Pearl City, Pearl Ridge.
Q – So I’m enrolling, but I don’t live on Oahu…how do I get around?
A – If you find a place to stay in the Honolulu area, you will be closest to our training sites at Discovery Bay (academics) and Kaka’ako Beach Park (open water), and Kewalo Marina (open water). Uber, The Bus (mass transit), and taxis are available. If you feel like buying a car, Oahu has a high density of PCSing military members who aren’t shipping the cars. Make sure your car has a valid registration and safety inspection within one year before purchasing.
Q – What should I bring to class?
A – Bring all your course materials for academic sessions and dive gear for pool and open water training. This is your responsibility to always be prepared for training. The Dive Oahu training courses are approved by the VA and require us to maintain attendance, grades, and performance ratings. This will be easy to achieve while having fun learning to dive and become a PADI Pro if you hold to your end of the contract with Dive Oahu and the VA. Bring a light snack and beverage as the sessions will last a few hours.
Q – Once I graduate as a PADI Divemaster or PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor, what next?
A – Dive Oahu, a PADI Five Star Instructor Development Center, has been serving Oahu’s dive community for over 25 years and has developed a reputation for excellence, earning several PADI awards. We have two on site Course Directors and several senior Master Instructors and IDC Staff Instructors actively teaching students at all levels. We’re committed to providing you with the highest quality training. Many of our students find employment with Dive Oahu as we have an extensive dive charter, dive training, and retail business. We promote Continued Education and offer the full range of PADI Specialties and Instructor level certification courses. For those who are leaving the island after certification, we will work with you to provide contacts with other dive shops and references so you may work in the dive industry wherever you go.
Q – I don’t see the answer to my questions in your FAQ…how do I contact you?
A –If you don’t see the answer to your question on this page, please contact our VA Program Manager at (808) 922-3483 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our main dive center on Hickam AFB is open 7a – 7p Monday – Saturday, 7a – 4p Sunday, so come by and check us out.