Diving Professional or Instructor

Learn what diving professionals and instructors do on a daily basis, and find out what the employment outlook for the scuba diving field is. Discover what training you'll need to enter this field and whether you'll need to be certified.

Is Becoming a Scuba Diving Professional or Instructor For Me?

Career Overview

Becoming a scuba diving professional or instructor would allow you to spend a lot of time underwater, either working with underwater structures or teaching others how to dive. As a scuba diving professional or commercial diver, you would spend your work days inspecting, installing, repairing, cleaning or removing structures underwater. These can include oil rigs, underwater treatment plants or aquariums at zoos and theme parks.

If you're more interested in sharing your passion for the marine world with others, you may consider working as a scuba diving instructor. In this profession, you will work with scuba diving students of varying ages, instructing them in scuba and underwater safety. You may also lead groups of people in recreational dives.

Employment Information

If you're interested in a career as a scuba diving professional or instructor, you should expect good job prospects over the next several years. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for commercial divers is projected to expand by 29% from 2012-2022, which is much faster than the average occupation. In addition, recreation worker jobs are expected to grow by 14% during that same time, and jobs for construction operators are expected to grow by 19% (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reported the average salary of commercial divers as $54,880 in May 2013.

How Can I Become a Scuba Diving Professional or Instructor?

Diver Training and Certification

Diving professionals perform underwater construction, research or other tasks for pay, while instructors teach others to dive. Both fields require training and certification in open-water scuba in addition to any specialties pursued, such as dry suit diving, underwater photography or night diving.

Training and certification are offered by agencies such as the Professional Association of Diving Instruction (PADI) and the National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI). Initial training covers use and maintenance of diving and life-support equipment, diving safety and underwater communication. You'll take courses in both closed aquatic environments and open water environments to give you a feel for both.

Instructor Training and Certification

In order to become a certified instructor, you need to have previously been an assistant instructor, you have to be 18 years old, be a certified Emergency First Response instructor, have at least six months as a certified diver under your belt and a number of other forms of experience including logged dives, CPR training and be medically fit.

Certification for those wishing to become technical divers is also available. Technical diving courses involve more training with more advanced equipment and specific types of diving including cave diving, ice diving and mixed gas diving. Training with decompression techniques and different types of gases is also available. With training like this, you'll be well-prepared for a career as a professional diver working in a variety of underwater settings.

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