Different types of scuba diving jobs are determined by the level of certification achieved by a diver, what kind of work environment they enjoy, and whether they want a full-time or seasonal career. Those certified as professional divers can lead recreational diving excursions, own a scuba equipment store, assist science researchers in collecting data, help in rescue efforts, or teach others how to scuba dive. The most popular locations for year-round scuba diving work are tropical vacation destinations such as the Caribbean, Australia, or Mexico.
Most scuba divers start with a certificate from the Professional Association of Diving Instruction (PADI), an internationally recognized agency. Then they can step through increasingly difficult certification programs, from an open-water private diver to rescue diver, divemaster, assistant instructor, instructor, and master instructor. Each level opens up more opportunities for scuba diving jobs. Some divers might specialize in one area, such as deep-sea diving or underwater photography, or combine diving with other skills, such as sailing a ship or owning a small business.
One of many scuba diving-related jobs is owning or working at a dive shop. This is a full-time career, in a coastal location, that combines knowledge about equipment with enthusiastic customer service and dedication to helping people of all skill levels. Often, dive shops provide limited scuba diving instruction on the weekends. Aside from getting benefits and a steady salary, employees get to test out new equipment and organize their own small excursions.
Popular scuba diving jobs are as scuba diving instructors. These people direct and conduct courses for the general public, or professional scuba divers, to teach them how to use their equipment, proper underwater safety, and how best to enjoy their trips. Often, instructors teach a quick course at the beginning of a vacation, on a cruise ship or at a resort, and then accompany a small group on a recreational dive. Dive masters know how to navigate, check water conditions, and assist divers with faulty equipment.
Researchers in oceanography and marine biology create scuba diving jobs to assist them in collecting data. This type of diver might have additional schooling that allows him or her to identify and collect species, make detailed habitat observations, measure current and temperature, etc. In marine science, field workers might study endangered tortoises or coral populations. In environmental science, they can work to protect ocean ecology or better understand global warming.