Recreational diving is a big business, and being a qualified diving instructor allows you to work anywhere around the world. Being a professional diving instructor may sound like a dream job: your work is probably located in some tropical holiday resort, and you get paid for diving – it couldn’t get any better, right? However, before you start writing any resignation letters, it’s good to keep in mind that working as a recreational dive professional is not physically but also mentally quite demanding. As an instructor, you are the one responsible for everyone’s safety, and in case any blunders happen, you are the first in line. But after all, being able to dive all day every day and getting paid for it, sounds good to us!
If you are looking for more rugged working environment, commercial diving might be a better career choice. Commercial diving covers a wide range of different activities, although it’s mostly associated with offshore oil industry. In reality, there are many inland commercial diving professions, varying from being a nuclear reactor diver to maintaining and cleaning underwater structures such as bridges, dams or water tanks. Regardless of the field of specification, commercial diving requires a skill set unlike any other – and in case you wondered, being an enthusiastic recreational diver is not quite enough (but it helps, though).
Offshore vs. Onshore diving
Commercial diving on the other hand can be roughly divided into two major categories, which are offshore and onshore. If you are looking for a career in offshore diving, be prepared for great adventures at sea and long working periods: offshore commercial divers usually work for 4-6 weeks in a row, even more than 12 hours a day and then stay inland around two weeks. Offshore is popular among commercial diving novices since it is a perfect opportunity to experience exhilarating new offshore adventures and become a part of a tightly knit team. And it’s a great chance to see the world too: you can find offshore diving jobs from the Gulf of Mexico all the way to the coast of northern Europe.
It might not be a huge surprise for you that in order to become a professional diver, you need to have good swimming skills and be in good physical health. Besides being in good shape, age is one of the physical factors you might need to consider too (especially after reaching your so-called mature years). There is no certain age limit for professional diving, but most divers are restricted from deep diving for physiological reasons after age 45. This might be the reason that many prospective employers prefer hiring professional divers aged between 18 and 35. However, if making a career out of diving is your dream, we say go for it no matter your age – take your cue for example from Mr. Ray Ives, who worked as a commercial diver at the honorable age of 75!
Professional diving, like many other physically challenging professions are often seen as a “man’s world”. Even though majority of professional divers are men especially on commercial side, there aren’t any real physical barriers for women to pursue a career in the field. More important than your gender is your eagerness to learn and ability to adapt yourself to almost constantly changing working environment.
As we said before, in order to become a competent professional diver you need a little more than just passion for diving (even though it obviously makes the job more pleasant). The educational requirements for becoming a professional diver are not overly difficult to pass: a high school diploma or equivalency are enough to start from. Diver education varies depending on the career field you are pursuing, but all the courses and training programs contain three components: classroom studies, confined water or pool training and open water training.
As you divers might already know, becoming a recreational dive professional requires passing multiple education levels, progressing from scuba beginner to advanced, then rescue diver and dive guide, finally becoming a certificated dive instructor. This basic education path is used by main recreational diving organizations, such as PADI, SSI, CMAS and NAUI and offers a solid ground for your future career as a dive instructor. To put it briefly, a diver certification or C-card in your wallet is the best guarantee for prospecting employers of your competence to work as a diving instructor.
Career in professional diving might not be the easiest one, but in our opinion it can be more rewarding and thrilling than any other – why not see for yourself, right? 😉 We hope this shortish representation about different fields of professional diving provided you some useful information in your possible career planning (or just interesting new information). If this text raised any questions, feel free to ask us – our Divestock crew is always happy to help!
Happy diving! 🙂