• Marine Conservation

Eight scuba diving jobs you can get as a PADI pro

Article by Petrina Darrah

Petrina Darrah

Posted: April 13, 2022

Are you looking to start a career that involves diving? Learn about the kinds of scuba-diving jobs you could get with a Professional Association of Diving (PADI) certification. 

Becoming a certified PADI diver can open the door to many underwater careers. You could dive into a career in science, exploration or entertainment. 

Whether you want to travel, contribute to safeguarding the oceans or just do what you love every day, you can build a career with these eight jobs that involve scuba-diving. 

1) Scuba-diving instructor



The most obvious career option to pursue once you have a professional PADI certification is becoming a scuba-diving instructor. 

This is an awesome way to share your love of diving with other people and make the most of job opportunities in locations around the world. Once you’re qualified, you can work almost anywhere – your local PADI dive shop, a resort on a far-flung island or even on a superyacht!

To become an instructor, you’ll need to have a number of scuba-diving qualifications. These include the PADI Open Water Diver, PADI Advanced Open Water Diver, PADI Rescue Diver, PADI Divemaster and emergency first response certifications. You’ll also need to successfully log 100 open water dives, complete an instructor development course and complete an instructor evaluation. 

2) Marine archaeologist


Original photo: “PMNM – Kelly Gleason At Two Brothers Shipwreck” by Greg McFall/ONMS is licenced under Public Domain Mark 1.0


Marine archaeologists are like real-life treasure hunters, exploring shipwrecks and searching for sunken artefacts. 

Marine archaeologists unearth underwater secrets by studying the ocean floor and sunken vessels in search of sites that tell stories from the past. These undersea adventures could uncover submerged landscapes, ports or even ancient artefacts.

Becoming a marine archaeologist is a very specialised career path. You’ll need to have a master’s degree in archaeology, history or a  related field, and have completed at least a PADI Open Water course. Completing more PADI courses will enhance your employability and increase your ability to explore different types of marine environments at a variety of depths. You’ll also gain lots of diving experience in a variety of environments, and be familiar with different types of remote sensing equipment.

If this sounds like a career you’d like to pursue, GVI offers a number of internship opportunities which can give you the experience and  training you need, help you excel in your master’s studies in marine archaeology, or boost your CV so you stand out when applying for positions. 

Our internship program in Mahe is one example, offering a 24-week program which will provide you with a professional qualification, work experience and marine conservation training. 

3) Underwater photographer



As a professional diver, you could work as an underwater photographer and spend your days capturing photos of marine wildlife, coral reefs, cave systems and shipwrecks. 

Much of the underwater world is unknown to us, which makes underwater photography an exciting way to document and share the wonders of the ocean with the world. If you’re passionate about marine conservation, this is also a powerful avenue for raising awareness about current global issues, such as plastic pollution. 

For this job, you’ll need strong photography skills, underwater photography equipment as well as lots of diving experience. Completing various PADI courses will also help you to become more confident in the water and increase the depths you can dive to.

4) Public safety diver



Public safety diving refers to the underwater work carried out by authorities such as the police or search and rescue teams. 

A career as a public safety diver could see you assisting with criminal investigations that have an underwater element, or playing a vital role in life-saving rescue operations. 

Often, this type of diving will require you to carry out underwater searches in very poor visibility, gruelling conditions or in areas where recreational divers wouldn’t normally be able to go. 

This exciting field requires special training. You’ll need to complete extra PADI courses – such as the PADI Public Safety Diver Specialty – and you’ll need to be trained as a first responder, such as a police officer or a firefighter. 

5) Scientific research diver



Scientific divers collect information on marine environments. Underwater research can teach us more about aquatic habitats and wildlife, and help guide conservation efforts.

Exploring underwater environments, collecting data on marine species and monitoring changes are all frequent tasks for a scientific diver. 

Scientific research divers are usually scientists first and PADI diving professionals second. A master’s degree is typically a minimum requirement. 

However, if you don’t want to pursue a degree in science, you can still participate in marine research by participating in one of our many exciting internships or volunteer programs. This is a great way to gain experience in this field while directly contributing to marine conservation

GVI’s PADI Divemaster training programs, as well as all diving programs longer than two weeks, also offer you the chance to gain a Coral Reef Research Diver Distinctive Speciality certification – a qualification exclusive to GVI programs that’ll greatly enhance  your employability as a scientific research diver. 

6) Dive centre or resort manager


Original photo: 015 – Dive Centre by Neville Wootton is licenced under CC BY 2.0


Running a dive resort or PADI dive shop is an excellent career path if you have strong leadership abilities.

Put your organisational, problem-solving and customer service skills to good use by making sure the dive centre or resort you’re in charge of runs smoothly. 

Management duties can include overseeing training on PADI dive courses and organising scuba trips, as well as handling guest relations, accounting and a team of staff. 

You can find these management positions all around the world. Perks can include accommodation and meals, as well as additional training in areas such as boat handling or compressor repair. Eventually, you can accumulate the knowledge you need to open your own dive resort.


Original photo: “Koh Rong Dive Center” by Aaron Bradford is licenced under CC BY 2.0


7) Underwater stunt person

Do you have a flair for the dramatic? If the answer is yes, then you could take your PADI scuba skills to Hollywood! 

Yes, you heard right, you could use your diving abilities to execute underwater stunts for films, television, commercials or music videos. 

Professional divers in the entertainment industry can be responsible for coordinating water stunts and making sure everyone is safe on set, or they can appear on screen themselves as extras or body doubles. 

Stunt diver jobs are competitive. To demonstrate your knowledge of water safety, you should aim to complete as many PADI certification levels as possible. In particular, the PADI Rescue Diver and PADI Enriched Air Diver certifications will come in handy for this profession. 

8) Commercial diver


Original photo:Diving Operations” by SCUBATOO is licenced under CC BY 2.0


Commercial divers are paid to go underwater to carry out tasks such as exploration, construction or inspection. As a commercial diver, you’ll most likely work for oil, gas, construction, engineering or shipping companies.  There are two main types of commercial divers.

Offshore divers who work in support of the exploration and production sector of the oil and gas industry. Their daily tasks could involve building or maintaining underwater structures. This line of work is often considered the most dangerous diving career. You may be required to spend long stretches of time living on a ship or offshore vessel, which can be challenging.

Inland divers work on projects based in lakes, harbours or rivers, usually around civil engineering operations. This could include carrying out surveys or helping with the construction of bridges and dams.

To become a commercial diver, you need to be aged 18 years or over, have a high school diploma and some mechanical inclination, be in good health, and have strong swimming skills. There are a number of schools that will provide you with the necessary dive training and skills to prepare for this job. 

Start your diving career with a PADI scuba certification and gain the skills and knowledge you need to take the industry by storm, while making an impact.

We understand that you may have questions about how COVID-19 will affect your travel plans. Visit our FAQs page which explains our latest safety protocols in response to COVID-19. 

By Petrina Darrah

Petrina Darrah is a freelance writer from New Zealand with a passion for outdoor adventure and sustainable travel. She has been writing about travel for more than five years and her work has appeared in print and digital publications including National Geographic Travel, Conde Nast Travel, Business Insider, Atlas Obscura and more. You can see more of her work at petrinadarrah.com.
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