Born to dive but forced to work? Why not pursue a career in scuba diving? Below is a list of the most common scuba diving jobs you can actually get (plus a list of dream jobs at the bottom).

Most scuba diving jobs require a divemaster or instructor certification. Become a PADI® Professional, and you’ll always have a “Plan B.” 

a scuba diver explores a wreck covered in pink coral - learn about scuba diving jobs

#1 Dive Guide or Dive Instructor

A PADI Divemaster or Instructor certification is one of the best ways to say adios to office life and aloha to new friends and amazing adventures. Whether you work on a liveaboard, travel the world working at different resorts, or in your local waters to home, you’ll make life-long friends and have experiences you’ll remember for the rest of your life. 

Thinking about trading in your office shoes for flip-flops? Read the real-life stories of people who quit their jobs to become scuba instructors.

#2 Dive Shop Owner or Manager

Experience in marketing and/or retail sales is highly-valued in the dive industry. Many scuba operations are run by people who love diving but aren’t, for example, experts in PPC marketing or retail design. If you’re passionate about scuba diving, but not a divemaster or instructor (yet), managing a dive shop can be a great place to start.

Ever thought about opening a dive shop? Be your own boss, transform lives, and be an ambassador for the ocean (not to mention have the world’s best job title). Learn more about how to open a dive shop.

#3 Boat Captain

A captain’s license opens many doors – in the scuba industry and elsewhere. Many of the world’s best dive sites can only be accessed by boat, so dive instructor boat captains are highly sought after. Read the story of PADI Pro and boat captain Andrew Raak, “Dive Instructor for Beginners and Billionaires.”

#4 Public Safety Diver

Because PADI focuses on recreational diving, we’re omitting military and commercial diving jobs. You can, however, train to be a public safety diver at certain PADI Dive Centers. 

Law enforcement agencies need highly-trained divers to conduct underwater investigations and recover evidence. PADI’s Public Safety Diver course teaches scene handling, communications, documentation and other key skills you’ll need to join a public safety diving team. Learn more about PADI’s Public Safety Diver course and its prerequisites, or read our interview with Mike Berry, Operations Coordinator for the Virginia State Police Search and Recovery Team.

#5 Scientific Diver 

Scientific diving is an umbrella term for many different jobs. Some divers help ensure the quality of our drinking water, others investigate invasive species or conduct biological surveys.

#6 Marine Biologist

Marine biologists research underwater life and sometimes discover new critters. They share important information about ocean health with communities, businesses and other scientists through reports, images and underwater videos.

underwater archeologists analyze a dive site - underwater archeology is a scuba diving job that is challenging and rewarding
©Brett Seymour

#7 Underwater Archeologist

If you love history have the time and money to invest in an advanced degree (not to mention great buoyancy), underwater archeology might be for you. Learn how a rebreather certification and/or PADI Instructor certification can give you a leg up in this competitive field.

#8 Golf Ball Diver

Working as a golf ball diver can be a great side hustle. Golf ball divers collect, clean and re-sell golf balls collected from golf course ponds and other water features. Divers can earn $100-$200 US for a few hours work. Read about a day in the life of a golf ball diver.

#9 Travel Blogger

If you’re passionate about exploring new places and sharing advice, why not make a career out of it? As a diver, you’ll visit places most people have never heard of and gather important first-hand information about the health of our ocean planet. Use your scuba certification to connect with others and grow your network.

Dream Jobs for Scuba Divers

Our list above includes scuba diving jobs that are truly attainable with time, effort and patience. The jobs below require extraordinary talent and a bit of luck in addition to hard work:

Underwater videographer
Underwater photographer
NASA diver
Hollywood stunt person
Cirque du Soleil artist handler
Underwater model
Polar explorer

What are you waiting for?

If you love scuba diving, there are plenty of ways to earn a living while pursuing your passion. Taking the first step is super easy.

Contact your local PADI Dive Center or Resort and to learn more about becoming a PADI Professional. Some dive shops host special events where you can meet local dive professionals and learn about their career path. You can also read interviews with people in a variety of full-time scuba jobs on our website.

Simply becoming a PADI Pro offers many benefits, even if you decide not to pursue diving as a full-time career. Part of learning how to teach scuba includes learning how to break down complicated information and give constructive feedback. You may also be able to earn college credit. Read the Top 7 Reasons to Become a PADI Pro – some of them may surprise you.

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