Scuba Diving – The Job

There is a lot of fun things to do while scuba diving. Most importantly is the dive itself which can be very relaxing and enjoyable. For those of you that want to make a job out of it that is possible too. After getting certified to a certain level you are able to apply for jobs. From working in a dive shop to working as a dive instructor or even a commercial diver are various ways to make money from your certification.

Salaries range depending on where you are geographically but nonetheless you are able to get back what you put into your training. I myself was on the path to making a career out of being a diver but I fell short due to time lines.

I would think that anyone interested in get out what they put into diving should absolutely do so. Although it may cost up front for your scuba gear and certifications, it will pay off in the long run. I have always been an advocate of trying to get something out of everything that I do, which is why I tried to make a career out of scuba diving.

I have had the most experience with PADI so that is what I will be referencing. There are other scuba diving institutions that are just as good as PADI, I just however do not know much about them so I will stick to what I know. So without further delay, let us talk about getting a scuba diving job!

Master Scuba Diver or Dive Master?

Both qualifications indicate highly experienced and knowledgeable scuba divers.

If someone is a Master Scuba Diver, that means he or she has significant experience and scuba training. Fewer than 2% of divers ever achieve this rating, which makes them an elite group.

  • At least 12 years old (12-14 year old earn Junior MSD)
  • PADI (Junior) Advanced Open Water Diver certified
  • PADI (Junior) Rescue Diver certified
  • Earned five PADI Specialty Diver Certifications
  • Have logged a minimum of 50 dives
  • Complete application to be a Master Scuba Diver

A Divemasters help instructors teach scuba courses and can have leadership responsibilities that result in payment. Getting paid for scuba diving means you’re a dive professional.

Prerequisites to take the Dive Master course:

  • At least 18 years old
  • PADI Advanced Open Water Diver certified
  • PADI Rescue Diver certified
  • EFR Primary and Secondary Care completed within past two years
  • Medical Statement ‘fit to dive’
  • 40 logged dives before starting the course
  • 60 logged dives when finishing the course

What you have to do to get this rating:

  • Complete eight Knowledge Development sections
  • Pass the Divemaster Final Exam
  • Pass water skills exercises, workshops, and practical assessments

The best divemasters are also Master Scuba Divers.

Dive Instructor

Being a diving instructor is not a job for everyone. You have to deal with many different personalities as well as have a lot of scuba based knowledge. Most of the time you will be working 40 plus hours a week depending on the location you are teaching at. Being an instructor is a very demanding job but it does have its benefits.

When being an instructor you need to be aware of every person and their actions at all times. This is a good reason to keep groups small or have a certain ratio of instructors to students so you can bring in dive masters to help you out if needed.

The salary varies for dive instructors based on where you live geographically but it can go up to and exceed $100,000 per year. This is not going to be your starting pay by any means but if you work hard to establish clientele then it is possible. Especially if you work for a resort or cruise line.

Becoming a dive instructor seems to be very lucrative until you really break it down and look at it. You really should not quit your day job until you have successfully researched it and gotten down the dirty truth. Such as the fact that only 2,000 of the 8,000 certified instructors will gain full-time employment each year.

Dive Shop Owner

Being a dive shop owner is sorta self-explanatory. You own a shop that sells scuba diving gear and employs instructors to teach others how to scuba dive. Now if you are not a scuba instructor it does not mean you cannot own a shop. It just means you will have to budget in an instructor.

Shops are using run by instructors but it does not have to be. So not only will you sell equipment for diving but you will also be in charge of repairs on equipment (if licensed) and having scuba tanks filled and serviced. These always come with additional skills and training to be able to do certain things.

You would not want someone that has no training working on your regulators let alone doing a hydro static test on your tank. These are crucial parts of survival while diving. Not everyone can do it and you would not want that either.

Since running a business has many different realities to it such as accounting, sales and people interaction, you will want to employ the best personnel to work for you. They do not necessarily need to be scuba certified but they do need to know what they are talking about when a question is asked of them or a problem arises.

Commercial Diver

Commercial diving is a lot different from scuba diving. It still gets you under the water and seeing some cool stuff but it would be a job at which you would potentially live just to be under the water. It is far riskier from scuba diving but I believe the pay off in the end is better.

You can do quick searches to find that the salaries for different types of commercial diving is pretty good. On an average commercial divers make $56,300 a year for their efforts. You must admit that getting paid to do something you love isn’t something to shake your head at.

You can go to school to learn how to be a diver which will teach you what you need to know to become a certified commercial diver. In most cases you can become certified in as little as 4-5 months.


If you love diving to the point that you want to make it a career take some steps into getting qualified for whatever level you are comfortable with. You can always start small and keep expanding from there. If your love of diving is just that and that alone, maybe you should just stay as a qualified diver since you will have to deal with difficult people from time to time.

Advanced diving practices can really bring in some extra cash especially when you love what you do. A dive master or master scuba diver are always needed for taking dives out, helping instructors, and leading practical exercises that the instructor puts out are always of contributing to the diving world.

Always remember though that when the job becomes too much of a job and you are no longer enjoying yourself that is when it is time to step back and refocus. Diving, no matter what kind you’re doing should always be something that you enjoy. It is not only a passion but it is a lifestyle for most people.

If you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them below and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

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As always, Happy Diving

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