Jobs for divers. How can a diver make money?

Jobs for divers is a topic often raised by students of diving courses. The question is very simple and at the same time reasonable. Will this diving license be useful to me for something more than recreation?

A diving course is a real adventure and a way to try something new. However, what options do you have if you would like to go deeper into the world of diving and start thinking about diving not only for pleasure but also professionally. Today we will talk about how a diver can make money. Perhaps this text will persuade you to change your life?

Jobs for divers. How can a diver make money?

Diving can be a job, of which I am probably the best example. I dive with people professionally and it’s my paid work, although that doesn’t mean I’ve lost the pleasure of it. However, a diver can do many different jobs and it doesn’t necessarily have to involve teaching others. Some of these jobs are more accessible, while others will require an extreme amount of effort to get into the circle of candidates at all.

Today I will discuss some examples of jobs for divers that came to my mind. As always, I won’t beat around the bush and present an idealized world in which we don’t live, after all. I’ll try to give a salary range for each of these jobs, but of course this is very rough. We will also see where such work can be sought and how to prepare for it. So let’s get started.

Recreational licenses are used for… recreation

It may be a cliché statement, but I have to start with it. Just the desire to become a professional diver is not enough. One must first invest in oneself and get “some” certification. Our dive center receives quite a lot of job applications, even when we don’t have any open positions. Unfortunately, the vast majority of them are descriptions of the author’s dreams, not specific skills. The fact that you have completed the basic course and are a fast learner is certainly a good start. But don’t expect to get any job offers with that.

The minimum license needed to start thinking about any paid work in diving is Divemaster. This is the first professional license that entitles you to do the job. All of the below are recreational licenses that you must obtain on your way to divemaster, but they are of no use on their own. No in the case of labor. So if you want to think seriously about making money, you need to invest in yourself and in getting a license. The higher and the more the better.

Jobs for divers in a dive center

One of the most common job roles for divers is typically found at dive centers worldwide, whether it’s a small dive center in Thailand, a resort in the Maldives, or any other location. The daily tasks can vary depending on the specific location and guest volume, but there are certain standard responsibilities. These include setting up and organizing the dive center, cleaning and preparing equipment, filling diving tanks, getting boats ready, transferring equipment onto the boats and much more. 

However, in most dive centers, the main focus is on teaching diving, offering courses or test dives. All of these activities can be performed by at least a dive instructor, so sorry, but a divemaser license may not be enough. Simply put, if I’m going to hire someone for customer service, I prefer an instructor who can perform all the duties of a divemaster and much more.

How much can you earn in a dive center?

That’s a tricky one… Of course, as always – it all depends on location, season, skills, negotiations and many other aspects. So if you are earning more than stated here, congratulations. If less…. well, you might want to think about changing your place of work. If you work full time you can expect a salary from $600/month. On top of that there are usually sales commissions and additional bonuses in the form of meals or accommodation. Read more about working as a Divemaster here: PADI Divemaster Course – Supreme Guide.

Where to look for work? Search classifieds on sites like PADI PRO

Diving career as underwater photographer

Somewhat combined with the work at the dive center may be the profession of underwater photographer or videographer. A career as an underwater photographer can be an exciting and creative path for divers who have a passion for photography and the underwater world. But it won’t come easily. Most dive centers work with photographers or have someone on staff. This is a very good solution but in my opinion it closes the way of development very much. The best form would be to build a personal brand and your own portoflio so that clients want to use YOUR services, not just a random photographer.

Diving career what can diver do
Underwater photographer

Earnings in this industry can be as changeable as the weather on the ocean. The worst form I met with was earning only on commission from the sale of the finished product. This means that in blind, you have to put your time and energy into taking pictures or video. You show the final result after editing to the customer, and then he decides whether he wants to buy it or not. If he buys it, you get some part of the profit, as you still work for the dive center, which takes most of the money. This is unfortunately how many centers operate, especially in Asia. Yes I know… it sucks… On the other hand, if you’re good and have your equipment, you dictate the conditions. Earnings? Unfortunately, I have to say that from an embarrassing dozen dollars a day…. Maximum to? Sky is the limit.

Artificial aquarium or swimming pool

The world’s deepest pool is 60 meters deep. As you can guess servicing such a facility is not a task for an ordinary team. Here you need a diver with experience. The same goes for large aquariums or oceanariums, which must have a team of divers to clean and maintain such facilities. This is an opportunity for you if you are thinking of working in diving. The job usually does not require being underwater all day, but of course it is not without it. In addition, there are duties such as preparing documentation, reporting, ordering necessary cleaning supplies, etc. As for wages, I’ve seen a lot of job ads in the US in the $18-25 per hour range.

Where to look for work? Search all job portals – LinkedIn, Indeed, etc

Diving career as marine biologist

Protecting the oceans is a pressing issue, and we divers are on the front lines of the fight for their survival. Many people and organizations do this pro bono, such as Project AWARE, in which we also participate. However, this does not mean that marine conservation cannot become a paid job. Of course, here more qualifications and skills will be required. It will be important not only to have a diving license, but also to have completed studies, knowledge and experience in the subject we want to deal with.

Where to look for work? Look for NGOs that may need hands on work. You can start with SeaShepherd.

Diving career what can a diver do
Jobs for divers – Marine biologist

Public safety diver – police, fire department

A job as a Public Safety Diver involves performing underwater search and recovery operations in support of public safety agencies such as police, fire departments, and other emergency response organizations. Public Safety Divers are highly trained professionals who specialize in diving techniques, search patterns, and the use of specialized equipment to conduct their operations.

Public Safety Divers often work in challenging and potentially hazardous environments. They need to possess excellent swimming and diving skills, strong problem-solving abilities, and the ability to remain calm under pressure. Extensive training and certification through recognized diving agencies are typically required to become a Public Safety Diver. Earnings in a good place should be around $4,000 per month. 

Where to look for work? I would try to find out from local public entities if there is a demand for it.

Commercial diver

A Commercial Diver is a professional who works underwater in various industries such as construction, maintenance, inspection, and repair. Their job involves performing tasks in a submerged environment, often in challenging conditions. Commercial Divers also play a crucial role in the offshore oil and gas industry. They may be involved in tasks such as underwater welding, cutting, and drilling, as well as pipeline installation and maintenance. These divers work in high-pressure environments and must adhere to strict safety protocols and procedures.

Diving career what can a diver do
Commercial divers

Commercial Divers must be physically fit and have excellent swimming and diving skills. They should be comfortable working in challenging environments, including cold water, low visibility, or strong currents. Strong problem-solving abilities, adaptability, and the ability to remain calm under pressure are also essential qualities for success in this profession. For example, to get a job on an oil rig, you have to complete a lot of additional training, such as escaping from a sinking helicopter. The training is long and expensive, but the pay is also tempting. In this industry, you can think about earning between $5,000 and $10,000 a month.

Where to look for work? Ads on the Internet, but more of a networking. This one can be developed during specialized industry training.

Best job for a diver ever

Finally, as a side note, not long ago I saw an ad for a job at NASA as a diver in the astronaut training pool. It’s kind of like being a kid on a big playground. Except that it’s underwater, looks like a space station and you get paid for it. For a moment I thought to send an application for this job myself…. If you don’t know what pool I’m talking about then check out the video below:

Jobs for divers – let’s recap

As you can see, there are many paths for divers, and working in a dive center is not the only option. Of course, many jobs for divers require specialized training and simply a lot of willingness. However, if you want to be in the water as often as possible, you should consider building your career and future on a decent foundation of good dive training. The better you present yourself, the more desirable your person will be. No matter what kind of job we are talking about. Best of luck!

costa rica divers instructor

PADI MSDT #384513


Peter "Pedro" Sawicki

My life has always been linked to sports commonly considered extreme. I once fell in love with big wall climbing, just as I am now in love with scuba diving. I climbed mountains, explored caves and took part in exploration expeditions. Through these experiences, I saw a large chunk of the world and learned a lot. Now I have been a professional diver and a scuba instructor for many years, and Costa Rica has become my second home. Check also my expedition project:

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