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Divers Institute of Technology

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Scuba Diving Careers to Consider: Job Placement & Salaries

You have a range of options to choose from when it comes to SCUBA diving careers. If you are certified with PADI or NAUI, you can become a dive trainer, specialist, or contractor in the recreational dive industry. You could also choose the path of a public service diver or scientific or research diver. However, if you have a serious love of the open water and are seeking a challenging and rewarding career, advancing your SCUBA training into commercial diving might be right for you. 

After completing the required training with a certified commercial diving school, there are many career options for putting your commercial dive training to work. Whether you choose to work in an offshore or inland setting, perform salvage dives or pursue advanced training for saturation diving, the options are endless. Keep reading to learn a little more about your commercial diving career options.

What happens after graduation from a commercial diving school?

If you are considering SCUBA diving careers, know that there are many paths for you to take. However, commercial diving training offers a well-rounded background that can take you far.

After graduation from a commercial diving program, you will receive a certificate that indicates your ability to dive professionally. Some schools provide a certificate accepted anywhere around the world while others certify you just for the country you are in. The right school will help you determine which certification is right for you. It will also ensure that you have the opportunity for job placement in a variety of sectors within the diving industry. The right commercial diving school will also offer career planning resources to help you determine which sector of the industry best suits you.

As a professional commercial diver, you work for weeks to months at a time. Since diving requires a unique skill set, the industry promotes from within. As long as you maintain good health and physical fitness, you can dive well into your 50’s or 60’s. The industry has options for you to take your career as far as you want to go. Additionally, salaries for careers in this industry vary. Your salary will depend on which type of job you perform, how long the job is, where it is located and many other factors. You can refer to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for more specific information on each sector. 

Types of Commercial Diving Jobs: Offshore vs. Inland

While scuba diving careers are mainly focused in the recreational industry, commercial divers have two main industry sectors to choose from when seeking employment: offshore and inland. 

Offshore Diving

The term offshore refers to the fact that the work takes place on vessels and platforms in the open ocean. The offshore industry is challenging and exciting and the jobs in this setting are diverse. The major part of this work supports the oil and gas industry. However, it can also include major salvage operations and subsea construction. Jobs in offshore diving are often available globally, including locations such as the Gulf of Mexico, Mexico, the North Sea, Southeast Asia, and West Africa.

Offshore divers perform maintenance, repair installation, and removal of abandoned oil-related structures and salvage operations. The skills needed to perform this work include rigging, underwater welding and burning, and using hydraulic tools sets including guillotine and diamond wire saws. Many of these dives are done in conjunction with underwater robotics called Remote Operated Vehicles (ROVs).

Inland Diving

Inland divers can be tasked with underwater construction, in-water inspections including the use of Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) procedures, pier and pile installation and repair, ship’s husbandry, power plant and nuclear plant inspections/maintenance, and dam and bridgework. Often working in remote locations, inland divers have to be able to improvise and use all their skills to complete a given job. Challenges of inland diving include low visibility, high currents, and constant global travel. Given the high demand in this sector of the industry, tenacity and determination are very important.

Other Types of Commercial Diving Careers

Within these two main sectors, you can consider three other types of commercial diving jobs: hazmat, salvage and saturation diving. Some of these areas require additional or advanced diving certification. This is because a lot of the jobs in these categories are dangerous. They also require a different set of skills and even more time in the water.


HAZMAT diving is highly technical and requires special equipment. This sector of commercial diving is all about maintaining control in highly hazardous environments. This includes nuclear and hydrodynamic plants, industrial plants, and chemical manufacturing areas. In other words, any job that involves bio-hazards underwater is a HAZMAT diving job. 

Divers are can be tasked with the containment, clean up, and disposal of hazardous materials. HAZMAT requires an array of specialized diving equipment that seals the diver’s body completely from waterborne elements.

Salvage Diving

The main demand of salvage diving is reclaiming and/or restoring ships and their cargo, aircraft, and other vehicles and structures that have sunk in the water. Sometimes the goal of a salvage job is to pull out tools or structures that are still valuable. In other cases, the goal of a salvage job is to remove objects or structures that could be environmentally intrusive.

Saturation Diving (SAT Diving)

Saturation (SAT) diving work is a small community of experienced divers who have a significant amount of SAT-specific training.  SAT divers are pre-pressurized in specialized decompression chambers that double as living facilities equipped with bunks, dining areas, and bathrooms.   SAT divers are lowered to the job site in a pressurized diving bell. This then brings them back to their living chamber. Saturation diving occurs primarily in the offshore sector, particularly in deeper waters. Most individuals are not eligible for SAT consideration until several years into their diving career.

Divers Institute of Technology & Your Future Career

For over 50 years, DIT has trained quality divers to pursue global diving careers. Many of our students start with an interest in SCUBA diving careers and learn to love the challenge of commercial diving. We train our students in a comprehensive way that ensures they enter the diving industry with the knowledge and skills needed to thrive in the industry. At DIT, we care about creating a well-balanced diver, and we train students to succeed in many aspects of commercial diving. To learn more about our curriculum or find out if DIT is the right school for you, contact us today! You can also fill out an application here.

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