11 Extraordinary Scuba Diving Jobs You Probably Don’t Know About!
Searching for a new job or a career change, and ever wondered what scuba diving-related jobs are out there?
In this article, we are going to dive into what different roles you can land yourself with your scuba skills and love for the ocean!
Maybe surprising to you, a scuba diving instructor is not the only job that requires scuba diving skills. There are many jobs out there that you wouldn’t think are scuba-related, which is good news for you scuba diving-aholics!
Below we have put a list of 11 scuba diving jobs:
- Scuba Diving Instructor
- Commercial Diver
- Underwater Photographer/Videographer
- Scientific Research Diver
- Golf Ball Diver
- Marine Archaeologist
- Police Diver/Public Safety Diver
- Military Scuba Diver
- Underwater Stunt Diver
- Aviation/Helicopter Underwater Escape Instructor (HUET)
- Dive Centre/Resort Manager
So, as you can see, there are so many jobs that require scuba skills you could get your hands on. But let’s explore them a bit more, diving deep into what they involve, the requirements/qualifications you will need, and importantly, how much money you could walk away with!
Jobs That Require Scuba Skills
Gaining scuba diving skills does not only limit you to becoming a scuba diving instructor, even though that is the most common and obvious choice. Many people go on to landing awesome jobs that you probably would have never considered, or even heard of.
Whether you are a travel junkie, underwater explorer, or are simply looking for a job that gets you out of bed in the morning, you can build your water-based career with one of these awesome jobs below!
1. Scuba Diving Instructor
How Much do Scuba Diving Instructors Earn?
Considered a dream job for many – spending days on boats and exploring the marine environment, who wouldn’t love to become a diving instructor?!
This is the perfect job for any diver wanting to share their love for diving with other divers and also introduce people to the underwater world. With many opportunities around the world, this is the most obvious career path for divers.
As an instructor, you will be teaching complete beginners, all the way up to divemaster level. Being a diving instructor is extremely rewarding, there is nothing more exciting than seeing those smiling faces after your students have completed their training.
Becoming a dive instructor requires a lot of responsibility, ensuring students (and yourself) are safe at all times, teaching them the importance of safety underwater that they will hopefully remember for the rest of their life.
Being a scuba diving instructor is never boring as every student is different. You can also go beyond the typical courses and teach dive speciality courses – which there are so many!
There is no shortage of scuba instructor jobs worldwide, from working on liveaboards, cruise ships, and working in diving resorts and centres on the beach, you will never struggle to find a posting.
*If you can speak more than one language, this is a great advantage for employment!
What Level of Expertise/Qualifications is Required to Become a Scuba Diving Instructor?
- Scuba instructor qualification with a professional diving association
- Emergency first response instructor (including CPR & oxygen administration)
- Complete the IDC course and pass both the practical and theory IE exams
- Minimum 100 logged open water dives
- Hold an activated instructor membership
- Some will require your own professional dive insurance
- Almost all instructor jobs will require you to have a full set of dive equipment
2. Commercial Diver
How Much do Commercial Divers Earn?
A commercial diver is responsible for exploration, construction or inspection tasks. The most common route is working in the oil, gas, and construction industries.
The high pay reflects the dangers, making commercial diving one of the most dangerous diving career choices. It is also a challenging job that will require long periods offshore on a ship or vessel between diving.
If this doesn’t sound right for you, some inshore commercial diver jobs are based around civil engineering that includes conducting surveys and assisting with the construction of bridges and dams.
This job requires you to work underwater for longer periods than recreational diving, often installing and repairing underwater structures.
Commercial divers are likely to work 4 weeks straight with up to 4 weeks off to decompress and relax before you head back out into the field.
Some commercial divers will be more conservation-based, focusing on removing marine debris from the ocean, cultivating and harvesting marine species, and performing checks on fish farms.
What Level of Expertise/Qualifications is Required to Become a Commercial Diver.
- Minimum 18 years old
- High school diploma (proficient in English – reading & writing)
- Strong swimming skills
- First aid certification
- Pass a diving physical
- In the UK most commercial jobs will require you to have an HSE diving certification
3. Underwater Photographer/Videographer
How Much to Underwater Photographers and Videographers Earn?
- Could you imagine being the next National Geographic photographer or videographer?
- Do you enjoy capturing species while diving?
If you answered YES, to both those questions, have you considered working as an underwater photographer or videographer?
The underwater world is a mystery to many, so why not capture every moment and share the wonders with the world.
This is also a great opportunity for conservation enthusiasts to spread awareness of global problems such as marine debris, which have become hot topics in the media.
Most underwater photographers/videographers will work as freelancers, working for magazines, publication companies, and television.
As social media plays such a vital role in today’s society, getting your images on your social media platforms such as Instagram, is a great way to showcase your skills to future employers.
*Don’t forget to add a personal watermark to any uploaded images and videos so no one steals your awesome work!
What Level of Expertise/Qualifications is Required to Become a Underwater Photographer/Videographer?
- Scuba diver instructor (some will take on divemasters)
- Most jobs will require an underwater photography course
- Strong photography skills
- Strong editing skills (for example Adobe Lightroom/Adobe Photoshop)
- Ideally your own equipment
4. Scientific Research Diver/Marine Biologist
How Much do Scientific Research Divers/Marine Biologists Earn?
Do you imagine yourself holding a measuring tape and other underwater instruments? Or maybe you like collecting samples and writing scientific papers for journals such as Nature…
This is the job for people that have a passion for the marine environment.
As a scientific diver, expect to be spending your days exploring aquatic habitats collecting data and information to spread awareness on conservation and marine organisms. Most scientific divers and marine biologists will work in large teams, that way data is collected as accurately as possible.
Some scientific divers come with a PhD option. This is a great way to get involved in some awesome science projects while getting your Doctorate in something that you are passionate about!
Many conservation programmes around the world are hunting for great marine scientists. Most of the roles also include being a scuba diving instructor, so if you are not there yet, it may be worth investing in that to increase your chances of employment.
Like a scuba diving instructor, becoming a scientific research diver or marine biologist can take you to many locations around the world.
This is a job that I have done…Absolutely loved it!
What Level of Expertise/Qualifications is Required to Become a Scientific Research Diver/Marine Biologist
- Degree in marine sciences such as marine biology (usually a masters degree, but some will accept a bachelor degree)
- If you do not have a degree, some jobs will require you to have extensive volunteer/internship experience in marine conservation/research
- Divemaster or dive instructor
- Gaining specialities such as the PADI Coral Reef Research Diver Distinctive Speciality certification will certainly give you an advantage
5. Golf Ball Diver
How Much do Golf Ball Divers Earn?
Have you ever played golf and your ball missed the hole and landed straight into the water? Well, golf courses do not leave them there…instead, they pay someone to collect them which is where golf ball divers come in.
As a golf ball diver, you will be collecting balls that get lost in the lakes, which are then cleaned, repackaged, and then resold (or used as driving range balls).
You will most likely be paid per ball you collect, so get those hunting hands ready!
Golf course ponds are usually no deeper than 5m, but you will need a pretty strong stomach as conditions are nothing like the Bahamas. I
magine a treasure hunt, but in murky waters with little to no visibility, rummaging around the bottom of a pond full of silt and mud – it may not sound extremely pleasant, hence the pretty good salary!
You will be working as a crew for safety reasons – you may encounter dangerous wildlife such as crocodiles (depending on the location of course) and objects that have fallen (or been thrown) into the water such as fishing hooks and broken glass.
What Level of Expertise/Qualifications is Required to Become a Golf Ball Diver
- Minimum 18 years old
- Certified diver (usually an unrestricted commercial diver)
- Experience diving in poor visibility, underwater navigation, and search and recovery.
- Trained in first aid & dive first aid
- Usually have your own set of dive equipment
6. Marine Archaeologist
How Much do Marine Archaeologists Earn?
Do you want to be an underwater explorer and LOVE shipwrecks? As the name suggests, you will be doing archaeology underwater.
There is so much history in the ocean that requires skilled divers to unearth hidden secrets of the deep, becoming a marine archaeologist is for those history nerds out there!
As an underwater archaeologist, you will be scavenging wrecks underwater and are the person to call when someone wants to build something that could disrupt the ocean bed.
What do Marine Archaeologists Do?
- Handling, analysing and recording waterlogged remains
- Conducting research using ship logs, accounts, and legal records
- Writing reports and management recommendations
- Navigating boats to archaeological sites
- Presenting research findings to both academics and the general public
- Writing books/articles for academic journals on research
So, if you are interested in preserving underwater artefacts and protecting marine wildlife, maybe becoming a marine archaeologist is the perfect job for you!
What Level of Expertise/Qualifications is Required to Become a Marine Archaeologist?
- Degree in archaeology (most require at least a master’s degree)
- Scuba diving instructor/divemaster
- Extremely good buoyancy
- Most will require a nitrox speciality
- A good understanding of marine sciences
7. Police Diver/Public Safety Diver
How Much do Police Divers Earn?
This is definitely not for the squeamish!
Some dives will require recovering bodies in addition to recovering sunken objects as part of the search and recovery role. T
his can also be a dangerous job. If there is a bomb to be disposed of, military divers are usually not the only ones on the scene – they will usually call you out on duty too!
As a police diver, you will be assisting with criminal investigations underwater or involved in life-saving rescue teams (public safety diver). This can be in gruelling conditions that you wouldn’t normally experience diving as a recreational diver.
Be prepared for challenging conditions such as poor visibility and strong currents, and some intense training!
Some PADI centres offer the Public Safety Diver course for people wanting to get into this line of work.
What Level of Expertise/Qualifications is Required to Become a Police Diver or Public Safety Diver?
- Padi instructor
- Complete the Public Safety Diver Speciality
- Often you will need to train as a first responder (firefighter, policeman/woman) before
8. Military Diver
How Much do Military Divers Earn?
Being part of your country’s military and special forces unit is extremely rewarding, so why not put your love for your country with your passion for diving?!
There are 4 different military paths you can go down as a military diver:
- Navy diver
You will be involved in ship husbandry, marine construction and salvage. This includes being part of the special forces involved in underwater demolition and mine clearance.
- Army diver
As an army diver, you will be involved in engineering activities including bridge construction and demolition.
- Marine diver
Marine divers are used for reconnaissance, preparation for amphibious operations, coastal demolition, and disposal of explosives.
- Air forces
This is similar to being a police diver. The air force’s divers are used for search and rescue missions.
What Level of Expertise/Qualifications is Required to Become a Military Diver?
This varies between countries, but below are the general requirements. Always speak to your local military recruitment officers for specific requirements.
- Eyesight 20/200 bilateral correctable to 20/25 with no colour blindness
- Pass a physical exam & divers medical
- Be 30 years or younger
- 10 weeks of basic training
- 29 weeks of advanced individual training
- Meet the minimum ASVAB requirements
- 106 ASVAB score in skilled technical
- 98 ASVAB score in general maintenance
- 107 ASVAB score in general technical
9. Underwater Stunt Diver
How Much do Underwater Stunt Divers Earn?
Are you a dramatic person or love acting?
Being a stunt diver requires you to be in films, television, commercials, or music videos. This may sound like a dream job, but it is one of the most competitive in the diving industry.
Different roles as a stunt diver include:
- Coordinating stunts
- Safety on set
- Being a body double
Working on movie sets is fun yet challenging. It includes long hours, weeks, possibly months, with little breaks.
But how cool would it be to watch a movie in the cinema and say to your friends and family that it is actually you doing the awesome stunts for famous actors and actresses such as Daniel Craig and Angelina Jolie!
The training for becoming a Stunt Diver is extremely tough! Usually over 3 days to one week you will learn:
- Basic A.P.N.E.A freediving techniques
- Falling from heights
- Swimming in rough water
- Drysuit diving
- Be comfortable using a full face mask while diving
- How to use a diver propulsion vehicle (DPV)
- Underwater obstacle swimming
- Learning to swim without a mask and regulator for underwater filming techniques
- Vehicle escape underwater
All this training for the job will set you back around $750/£540.
What Level of Expertise/Qualifications is Required to Become a Stunt Diver?
- Rescue diver and enriched air diver certification for film sets
- Divemaster/instructor needed for water safety tasks
- Extensive knowledge in water safety
- Skills listed in the training above
10. Aviation/Helicopter Underwater Escape Instructor (HUET)
How Much do Aviation/Helicopter Underwater Escape Instructors Earn?
This job is extremely rare, but an important one.
As part of a HEUT team, you will be training people in the military to escape from helicopters if they were ever to fall into the water and general sea survival training.
You may also be hired to teach underwater stunt divers how to escape vehicles and helicopters during their training for the job.
This training is taught for both daylight and nighttime incidents, where you will assist in them escaping from their safety harness underwater. Training is taught either by breath-hold or on a STASS bottle (small oxygen cylinder with a mouthpiece attached).
What Responibilities do Aviation/Helicopter Underwater Escape Instructors Have?
- Safety checks
- Preparing the recompression chamber if there is an emergency
- Checking pool conditions (temperature, chemicals, etc.)
- Setting up equipment
- Operating the crane attached to the aviation unit
- Being the primary medic & assisting in emergencies
- Writing certificates
What Level of Expertise/Qualifications is Required to Become a Aviation/Helicopter Underwater Escape Instructor?
- Rescue diver
- Dive medical clearance
- Good fitness level
- Be competent in the water
- Able to hold your breath
- Recompression chamber operator
- Dive medic
- Knowledge of equipment maintenance
11. Dive Centre/Resort Manager
How Much do Diver Center/Resort Managers Earn?
Not all dive related jobs require you to get wet…
If you have strong leadership skills, why not become a dive centre/resort manager?
You may have spent years teaching and want to take a short break or even retire, making this job a perfect opportunity to encourage others to get into diving and share your knowledge.
Some of these jobs will offer you accommodation, including meals, and give you additional training in areas such as boat handling and compressor use and repair as a bonus!
Most dive centre/resort managers go on to own their own diver centre. So this job is a great way to gain experience before having full responsibility for your own centre or resort.
What Level of Expertise/Qualifications is Required to Become a Dive Centre/Resort Manager?
- Strong organisational, problem solving, and customer service skills
- Knowledge of the local diving rules
- Knowledge in diving courses
- Understanding of accounts
- Good leadership skills
- Knowledge of the local language is sometimes required
How To Find These Diving Jobs?
I am sure you are thinking, “how on earth do I find these jobs?!”.
Well, there are many different platforms and organisations that frequently list job openings such as the ones listed above.
In the UK you can search on the Government website under national careers or take a scroll through job listing boards such as Indeed.
If you are a PADI PRO you can take a look at the employment/classifieds under the online services section online. Or you can head over to SSI to find their worldwide career options for the latest jobs.
There are many public groups on Facebook that you can join, for example, SCUBA Dive Jobs Worldwide and Dive Jobs Worldwide. Here you can ask about jobs, advertise yourself looking for work, and also keep an eye out for employers searching for people to hire.
In addition to this, you can go old school and ask around at dive centres when on holiday if they know of any opportunities or drop some people some emails or messages on social media.
Don’t Forget Your Dive Insurance!
Before you go out on any dive trip or holiday, it is essential to make sure you have insurance that covers you if something goes wrong. Check out our dive insurance article for more information.
Or go straight to these dive insurance company websites:
Who knew there were so many diving-related jobs out there?!
Working in the diving industry can be extremely rewarding, with so many options to explore as a career. There are so many different routes you can take as a scuba diver, probably ones you never heard of, before this article…
So, what are you waiting for? Dive in, do your research and find a job where you can be paid for what you love.
Thanks again for reading, we hope to see you again soon!
Please share this article using the social media buttons!