Education and Training:
To work as a diver you usually need to attain certification as a commercial diver, although in some areas (such as abalone diving and reef fish collecting), a recreational scuba qualification such as those issued by the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) may be sufficient. The required qualifications vary depending on the specialist area you wish to enter.
Commercial diving qualifications are available through short courses, which are provided by training establishments accredited by the Australian Diver Accreditation Scheme (ADAS). These courses can provide the foundation for progressing to higher academic courses within Australia. Costs, duration and entry requirements vary. Contact ADAS for more information.
ADAS recognises four levels depending on the amount of experience and courses completed:
- Level 1 – Occupational SCUBA (onshore to 30m)
- Level 2 – Surface Supply Breathing Apparatus (onshore to 30m)
- Level 3 – Surface Supply Breathing Apparatus (offshore to 50m)
- Level 4 – Saturation/Closed Bell (offshore to open limit).
To apply for a commercial diving licence, you must be at least 18 years of age, hold a certificate of recreational diving competence and be able to swim competently. You must also hold a current First Aid certificate and be highly skilled in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or oxygen administration. Applicants must also have a certificate of medical fitness, issued by a doctor trained and experienced in underwater medicine.
Commercial diving courses are very costly, ranging from $6000 for occupational scuba divers to $30,000 for saturation divers.
While the following courses are related to this occupation, they may not necessarily lead directly to employment, nor provide the most direct pathway to the occupation. Courses which provide preliminary or informal training, as well as those which provide additional job skills following initial qualifications may also be listed.
*Course is offered by more than one institution. Click link for details.
There are no courses currently linked to this job for this state/territory. Please try another state/territory.
Commercial divers are employed on contracts and work both interstate and overseas. Most find work as onshore construction divers or with the offshore oil and gas industry, state or territory fisheries departments, water authorities, fish farms or civil engineering firms.
Employers of construction divers prefer applicants with a metals and engineering trade background (such as fitting, plumbing, welding, rigging, fitting explosives, electronics and motor mechanics). Although a trade is not essential, divers are expected to be proficient both manually and with tools.
There is little prospect of an untrained person finding employment as a trainee commercial diver. Companies expect potential employees to have some diving experience and a relevant qualification.
In the recreational diving field, opportunities are limited to people holding an instructor or divemaster qualification.
Recreational diving instructors in metropolitan centres are busy during summer and may work interstate or overseas during other seasons. Most work outside of the busiest times is on a part-time or casual basis. Seafood-related work is also often seasonal.
Demand for recreational divers in Australia is largely affected by tourism activity, particularly the number of people seeking diving instruction. Demand for offshore construction divers is strongly linked to the level of offshore oil and gas exploration.
After retiring from active diving, divers often move to other positions in the industry, such as supervising, dive shop work or operating decompression and recompression chambers.
For Further Information:
PADI Asia Pacific (Professional Association of Diving Instructors)
Information for other states and territories: