commercial diver

Commercial Diver is a well-experienced aquatic professional who normally works below the surface of the water using scuba equipment or surface-supplied air to inspect, remove, repair, or install equipment and structures. Besides this, they may use a variety of hand and power tools, such as torches, sledgehammers, drills, and welding equipment. Divers may conduct experiments, rig explosives, tests, marine life exploration, or photograph structures.

The commercial divers consist of onshore divers, naval divers, scientific divers, offshore divers, hazmat divers, and media divers.


Post Highlights:

  • Educational Qualifications
  • Certification/License
  • Commercial Diving Schools
  • Work Experience
  • Duties/Responsibilities
  • Abilities/Skills
  • Work Environment
  • Physical Requirements
  • Top Industries
  • Job Types
  • Salary Information
  • Benefits/Perks

Educational Qualifications

The education requirements are as follows-

  • High School Diploma or GED (minimum)
  • Bachelor’s Degree in a related area

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Certification/License

Candidates may or may not require the following licenses. They are as follows-

  • ADCI Entry Level Diver/Tender Card – American National Standards Institute (ANSI)
  • Underwater Welding Course Completion Certificate (AWS D3.6M-Class C Standard)
  • AED User Certification
  • First-Aid and CPR Certification
  • Open Water SCUBA Certification – National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI)
  • OSHA 30
  • Oxygen Provider Certification

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Commercial Diving Schools

Find some of the best commercial diving schools in the United States.

  • Minnesota Commercial Diver Training Center (Brainerd, MN, US)
  • International Diving Institute (Charleston, NC, US)
  • Divers Institute of Technology (Seattle, WA, US)
  • Santa Barbara City College (Santa Barbara, CA, US)

Work Experience

  • Possess any previous diving experience (preferred)
  • Work experience with other more experienced divers
  • Must pass a dive physical (required)

Duties/Responsibilities

They perform the following functions-

  • Assess vessel/structure conditions from collected test samples/photographs
  • Be familiar with diving tasks and environmental conditions
  • Carry out NDT tests for cracks
  • Check/maintain diving equipment
  • Check/maintain piping and valves underwater
  • Communicate with workers outside while being underwater
  • Cut/weld steel using underwater welding equipment
  • Descend into the water by using scuba gear or diving suits
  • For underwater demolitions, drill holes in rock, and rig explosives
  • Inspect/test ships, docks, plant intakes/outflows, underwater pipelines, cables, and sewers
  • Install pilings/footings for bridges and piers
  • Lead/train other divers including hobby divers
  • Operate underwater recording, sonar, video, and related equipment
  • Perform offshore oil/gas exploration and extraction duties
  • Perform underwater search, recovery, rescue, and cleanup operations
  • Recover underwater sunken objects by rigging, hooking, and operating
  • Remove pollution/rubbish from the sea
  • Repair bridge foundations, ships, and other underwater structures
  • Set up dive sites for recreational instruction
  • Take appropriate safety precautions before diving expeditions begin

Abilities/Skills

  • Able to use still/video cameras
  • Efficient while using diving equipment i.e. gauges, helmets, scuba gear, diving suits, air tanks, and masks
  • Excellent communication/interpersonal skills
  • Possess excellent organizational skills
  • Proficient while using welding equipment, power tools, and hand tools
  • Hard worker, bold and fearless by nature

Work Environment

  • Work under waterbodies or around them (river, sea, ocean, lake, pond, reservoirs)
  • Work at an offshore location for various underwater activities

Physical Requirements

  • Dive into waters at all temperatures, depths, and visibility conditions
  • Remain underwater for prolonged periods of time
  • Able to lift 25 pounds at a time (equipment weight)

Top Industries

They are as follows-

  • Construction Companies
  • Engineering Companies
  • Oil/Gas Exploration Companies
  • Shipping Companies
  • Scientific Research Companies
  • Military/Defense Companies

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Job Types

The following are some of the job titles-

Commercial Diver Offshore Commercial Diver
Deep Sea Diver Salvage Diver
Dive Superintendent Scuba Diver
Dive Supervisor Shipyard Commercial Diver
Divemaster Skin Diver
Diver Submarine Diver
Diver Tender Subsea Commercial Diver
Hard Hat Diver Trainee Commercial Diver
Marine Diver Under Water Assistant
Navy Commercial Diver Underwater Commercial Diver
NDT Underwater Welder Underwater Welder

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Salary Information

All commercial diver does not earn equal hourly/yearly salary. The employers pay them according to their work experience, skill level, and education. Take a look at the salary trends of commercial divers as per their levels-

  • Starting Level – $17.85 hourly/$37,130 yearly
  • Junior Level – $22.66 hourly/$47,120 yearly
  • Mid-Level – $29.02 hourly/$60,360 yearly
  • Senior Level – $55.45 hourly/$115,330 yearly
  • Top Level – $76.98 hourly/$160,110 yearly

The Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that five states employ the most commercial divers in the United States namely Alaska, California, Florida, Louisiana, and Texas.

Benefits/Perks

All employers offer various benefits packages to their employees according to their ranks. But some of the common benefits are as follows-

  • 401(k) with a Company Match
  • Competitive Wages
  • Dental Insurance
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • Health Insurance
  • Life Insurance
  • Paid Time Off
  • Tuition Reimbursement Program
  • Vision Insurance

Related: Other Welding Professions

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