Turn Your Passion into a Profession: Become a Professional Scuba Diver

A common misconception is that you have to become a dive instructor in order to have a professional career as a scuba diver – not true!

Once of the best things I learned during the time I was accruing my various scuba diving certificates is that there are many ways you can make a living with your diving skills and knowledge, and not just as an instructor.

If you’ve ever thought about turning your passion into a profession, then here’s a great place to start!

Top 8 Jobs for Scuba Divers

1. Become an Underwater Videographer

Do you have a passion for capturing the sights, sounds, and motion of an adventure? How about an underwater adventure?? If you’ve got any experience working with video, you could have a career as an Underwater Videographer! Take the PADI Underwater Videographer course to learn how to choose, maintain and care for your underwater video equipment, as well as tackle video fundamentals like exposure, focus, storyline and sequencing.

2. Be a Dive Shop Owner or Manager

If you’ve got any experience in marketing, retail or sales, you can funnel those into the dive industry. Lots of scuba operations are run by passionate divers, but odds are they aren’t experts in modern forms of marketing or retail design. If you’re looking for a way to merge your professional career with your passion for scuba diving, then becoming a dive shop owner or manager could be the perfect opportunity for you!

3. Dive for NASA

Photo Credit: NASA website

Okay, I know what you’re thinking: “How am I, a scuba diver, going to make money as a diver for NASA the space program?!” But this is no joke. NASA has a Neutral Buoyancy Lab in Houston, Texas, which they use to prepare astronauts for the zero-gravity conditions they’ll face in space. While they’re in training, each astronaut is assigned a team of four divers (two for safety, one for tools and one as a cameraman). Sound like a promising career option? Click here to learn more!

4. Work as a Digital Underwater Photographer

As far as underwater careers go, working as a digital underwater photographer makes pretty good sense. I mean, we pay photographers on land to take awesome portraits, landscapes and action shots for us, so why not underwater? It’s not uncommon for dive centers to have a resident underwater photographer, who will document an entire day’s worth of dives and offer each diver their own copy at a reasonable price. Interested? Then be sure to take PADI’s Digital Underwater Photographer course!

5. Become a Search and Recovery Diver

Nobody ever wants to drop something from a dive boat or dock, but inevitably it happens. And more often than not it always seems to be the valuable dive computer or GoPro. Cue Search and Recovery divers. This isn’t just a course that PADI offers, it’s also a great opportunity to make some money! If you have the means and capabilities to recover someone’s valuable property, they’ll often pay you quite well to recover it for them.

6. Serve as a Public Safety Diver

Did you know that certain PADI Dive Centers can train you to become a public safety diver? Yep! A career as a public safety diver often means conducting underwater investigations and/or recovering evidence, and PADI’s Public Safety Diver course will train you on scene handling, communications, documentation, and other critical skills you’ll need to join a public safety diving team.

7. How to become a Divemaster

One of the best ways to make your living as a scuba diver is by becoming a Dive Guide or Dive Instructor, and with the PADI Divemaster course, you can choose between serving on a liveaboard, working at different resorts around the world, or setting yourself in your local waters.

Before enrolling in PADI’s Divemaster course, though, you have to be at least 18 years old and possess the following certifications:

  • Open Water Diver
  • Advanced Open Water Diver
  • Emergency First Response

If you’ve already passed your PADI Divemaster course (or you have a leadership-level certificate from another training agency), then you can enroll in a PADI Instructor or Assistant Instructor course.

8. Work as a Boat Captain

While it’s technically not a living as a professional scuba diving, you can make your living as a boat captain that works with dive centers and dive resorts to take divers to their various dive sites. Because so many of the best diving locations can only be accessed via boat, dive instructor boat captains are in high demand!

Previous Posts in my Scuba Diving 101 Series:

How to Get Scuba Certified

Scuba Diving on a Budget: 10 of the Cheapest Dive Destinations

Ocean Loving Brands: 10 Eco-Friendly Companies for Scuba Divers

Dive with a Purpose: How to be an Eco-Conscious Diver


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