Firstly, let me ask you a question...
Do you really LOVE your job?
What if you could get a job doing something that you LOVE, like scuba diving...
Becoming a scuba diving instructor is not the only job that requires scuba diving skills. There are actually many jobs that are scuba-related that you probably didn’t even know about!
1. Scuba Diving Instructor
Often seen as the “dream job” for many people, spending days on boats and exploring the ocean, because who wouldn’t love that?!
Becoming a scuba diving instructor is the perfect job to share your love for the ocean and diving, introducing new divers into the epic underwater world.
Your job as a scuba instructor involves teaching complete beginners to divemaster level.
As an instructor myself, becoming an instructor is very rewarding. It is extremely exciting to see your students smiling as wide as the ocean when they have passed their training and are now certified divers, which you helped them achieve!
As an instructor, you will be responsible for student safety at all times, teaching them skills for life.
Every student is different, therefore you job never gets boring, plus you can become a speciality instructor to mix things up, and they are super fun to teach!
There are many opportunities around the world, from liveaboards to dive resorts/centres, you can simply work anywhere!
Complete the Emergency First Response Instructor Course
Complete the IDC and pass the IE exams
A minimum of 100 logged open water dives
Active membership with a diving association
Professional dive insurance - some jobs may pay for this
Usually a full set of personal dive equipment
*If you can speak more than one language, this is a plus!
2. Commercial Diver
Being a commercial involves 3 tasks: exploration, inspection & construction, generally going into the oil, gas or construction industry. Not only is it a dangerous job, but it is also challenging, often requiring you to spend long periods offshore (on a ship/vessel), hence the high pay!
As commercial divers are mainly installing and repairing underwater structures, divers spend much more time underwater than recreational divers. Because of this, you are likely to spend weeks working flat out, and then a few weeks off to decompress before you go back on the job for more hard work!
If conservation is something you are interested in, some commercial divers’ role is to check fish farms, remove marine debris and waste in the ocean, and cultivating and harvesting specific marine organisms.
Must be at least 18 years old
Competent in the water, so strong swimming skills are required
Hold an up to date first aid certification
Pass a diving physical/medical
You may need an HSE diving certification
3. Underwater Photographer/Videographer
Do you love taking photos underwater, or could you imagine being featured in National Geographic or even working alongside people such as David Attenborough? If YES, then why not become an underwater photographer or videographer?!
The ocean is a mysterious and diverse place with so much to capture through a lens. Taking photos and videos shows people the incredible marine life and is a great way to spread awareness on ocean issues like plastic pollution and coral bleaching.
As an underwater photographer or videographer, you are probably going to be a freelancer, working for conservation organizations or in the media (magazines, TV etc).
Posting your best underwater photos and videos on social media platforms plays a vital role in being found, and showcases your skills to potential employers. Whenever you post any photos and videos you have taken, do not forget to add a personal watermark or your name so no one takes it and sells it as their own work!
Strong photography skills - the obvious one!
Usually you will need to be a scuba diver instructor/divemaster
Ideally you would have completed an underwater photography course
Strong editing skills (i.e. Adobe Lightroom/Adobe Photoshop)
Most jobs require you to have your own photography/videography equipment
4. Scientific Research Diver
If you love science, have a passion for the marine environment and love diving, why not become a scientific research diver?
Research divers mainly conduct surveys, take samples, spread awareness on ocean-related issues, and write scientific papers for journals such as those found in National Geographic and Nature, while others go onto publishing their own scientific research.
You may find some scientific diver jobs come with an integrated PhD, which is a great way to be involved in awesome science while achieving your Doctorate and publishing your own research in something that you love!
Conservation programmes are always seeking marine scientists that are also scuba diving instructors, so if you have a degree in marine biology and are a diving instructor, what are you waiting for!
Usually a master’s degree in marine sciences such as marine biology or in a similar field
Extensive volunteer/internship experience in marine conservation/research (some employers may hire you without a degree if you have this)
Scuba dive instructor/divemaster
*Completing diving specialities like the PADI Coral Reef Research Diver Distinctive Speciality certifications likely to help with your application!
5. Marine Archaeologist
Image Credit:Laskaridis Foundation(@laskaridisfoundation)
Could you be the next Sylvia Earle or Robert Ballard?
The ocean is hardly explored and with so much history lying below the surface, someone needs to unearth hidden secrets in the deep blue ocean, which is where skilled marine archaeologist divers come in.
Being a marine archaeologist isn’t just diving shipwrecks, it covers many roles and responsibilities such as:
Checking if any infrastructures being built will disrupt the sea bed
Complete ship logs, accounts & legal records
Writing books, articles & reports
Writing management recommendations for staff
Presenting research to academics and the general public
Checking and recording waterlogged remains
Navigating boats to and from archaeological sites
A degree in archaeology (usually a master's degree, a PhD is even better!)
Scuba diving instructor/divemaster
Very good buoyancy - you don’t want to knock over any artefacts!
A nitrox certification is usually required
A clear understanding of marine sciences such as oceanography or marine biology
6. Police Diver
If the sight of dead bodies makes you look the other way, this may not be the job for you! As a police diver, you are likely to be recovering bodies (both dead and alive) in addition to the search and recovery of sunken items/objects.
This job is well paid as it can also be dangerous. During ocean bomb disposals, it is likely you will on the scene with the military to take control of the situation.
Police divers are also highly involved in criminal investigations underwater. The challenging conditions can sometimes be exhausting such as strong currents and poor visibility, which is why you have to complete intense training to become a police diver.
If you are interested in becoming a police diver or public safety diver, PADI offers the Public Safety Diver course - check if your nearest centre offers it!
Scuba instructor (usually PADI)
Pass the PADI Public Safety Diver Speciality
You may need to train as a firefighter or policeman/woman first
7. Military Scuba Diver
If you are a diver and have considered joining the military, becoming a military scuba diver puts together your passion for scuba diving with serving your country!
The 4 military paths & the roles/responsibilities:
Air Force Diver
Navy divers are heavily involved in ship husbandry (maintenance, cleaning & upkeep of the ship’s hull, rigging, and equipment onboard), marine construction and restoration. As a navy diver, you will also work with the special forces to assist with underwater demolition and mine clearance.
Army divers are involved in engineering services such as infrastructure construction and demolition.
Marine divers are involved in police investigations, preparation for amphibious warfare operations, coastal demolition, and discarding explosives in the ocean and rivers.
Air Force Diver
Similar to a police divers role, being a diver in the air force involves search and rescue operations.
Eyesight 20/200 bilateral correctable to 20/25 with no colour blindness
Pass both a physical exam & diver medical
Under 30 years old when applying
Basic training (10 weeks)
Advanced individual training (29 weeks)
Meet the minimum ASVAB requirements (106 ASVAB score in skilled technical, 98 ASVAB score in general maintenance & 107 ASVAB score in general technical)
*Requirements may vary between countries. If you are interested in becoming a military diver, talk to your local military recruitment office for specific requirements and how you can get started!
8. Underwater Stunt Diver
Do you love acting or being on TV? Underwater stunt divers are sometimes used as a body double, so get your best side ready!
However, it is not always about being on camera and is one of the most competitive jobs to land in the diving industry - Szilvia Gogh says "if it was easy, everybody could do it". Becoming a stunt diver, you are also responsible for coordinating stunts and the safety on set.
Working on film and TV sets are fun, but challenging. Sometimes you will be submerged into very cold water, looking out for the safety of famous actors and actresses; this is when you need to know the difference between “acting panicked” and a “real panic” from screen stars.
If this is the job you want to get into, be prepared to work very long hours, weeks, and even months with very few breaks between filming.
The training to become an underwater stunt diver is extremely difficult! Usually, within 3 weeks, you will cover:
Basic freediving techniques
Falling from heights
Swimming in rough water conditions
Drysuit diving - some locations are freezing!
Be comfortable using a full-faced dive mask
Learn how to use a diver propulsion vehicle (DPV)
Practice underwater obstacle swimming
Learn and be comfortable swimming without a mask & regulator
Complete an underwater vehicle escape course
*All this training for the job will set you back around £540 ($750) - not all jobs will cover the costs!
Saying all that, it is probably one of the coolest scuba diving jobs out there, and if you are a stunt double you can watch yourself on screen and tell your family and friends that it is actually YOU performing that underwater stunt!
Enriched air certification
Knowledge in water safety
You need to have completed the above training
9. Aviation/Helicopter Underwater Escape Instructor (HUET)
This is a rare scuba diving job, yet it is super important! Being part of a HUET team involves training the military and other divers that may need to escape from planes and helicopters if they were to fall into water, and basic sea survival training.
This involves you teaching them how to escape in both daylight and nighttime accidents, assisting them to escape from safety harnesses and safely out of the vehicle as quick as possible. The escape training is taught via breath-hold or with a STASS (short term air supply system) bottle.
Sometimes HUET divers will train stunt divers and actors/actresses how to escape vehicles during filming.
Preparing the decompression chamber should there be an emergency
Checking pool water parameters (temperature, chemicals, etc.)
Setting up equipment on site
Operating the crane that moves the aviation unit/vehicle in the water
HUET divers are the primary medic in assisting emergencies during training
Writing certificates for completed trainees
Rescue diver (divemaster/instructor preferred)
Dive medical clearance & health check (a very good fitness level is needed)
Be confident in the water
Be able to hold your breath for some time
Know how to operate a hyperbaric/decompression chamber
Knowledge of equipment maintenance such as servicing regulators
10. Golf Ball Diver
Image Credit: Oy Jaakko (@game_on_golf_finland)
Ever wondered who collects all those golf balls that land in the water on a golf course? Well, that is where a golf ball diver comes in. That’s right, you can get paid to collect tiny white balls from a golf course!
Collected balls are cleaned, repackaged and resold to prevent waste. The more balls you collect as a golf ball diver, the more you are likely to get paid as most employers pay per ball collected - check this when applying for the job!
Being a golf ball diver doesn’t require you to go deep and it is not like diving in the Caribbean...most golf course ponds are no deeper than 5 m (16ft) and the ponds are usually very unpleasant, so you need to have a strong stomach!
Golf course ponds usually have very little visibility and are full of silt, mud, sludge, you name it, therefore, golf ball divers are paid well as they spend the day rummaging through all sorts!
If you do become a golf ball diver, you will not be alone. You will be working within a team for safety reasons; you may come across dangerous aquatic life and objects that have either fallen or been thrown (naughty golfers!) into the water such as broken glass.
Must be at least 18 years old
Certified diver (usually a commercial diver)
Experience diving in poor visibility
Excellent underwater navigation
Experience with search and recovery
Trained in general first aid & scuba diving first aid (usually a rescue diver)
As you can see there are so many other options if you did not want to go down the ‘typical’ scuba diver instructor route!
Working in the diving industry is extremely rewarding, with different options to explore in your career path, many that you probably had never heard of before reading this - even some I didn't know too much about!
If you have a job in one of these awesome roles above, then drop a comment below - I would love to hear all about it!
Written by Darby Bonner
PADI OWSI & Marine Biologist