How To Become A Commercial Diver

Do you love the water? If so, consider a career as a Commercial Diver, particularly if you enjoy scuba diving. In this capacity, you can combine your love for the water with a job in construction, maintenance, photography, explosives, and much more. 

So, if a traditional nine to five desk job is just not a good fit for you… consider becoming a Commercial Diver. As you “dive” in, you will find a rewarding and lucrative career ahead.

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Table of Contents


What do Commercial Divers do?

The field of Commercial Diving covers a wide array of job opportunities. The primary concept is… performing a job underwater! Commercial Divers work as scuba divers that work on any type of repair, installation, or maintenance on equipment under a body of water, such as pipelines, oil rigs, or bridges, and the like. 

If you would like to photograph underwater life, Commercial Diving is also for you. In whichever job you decide to do underwater, you will also work with the appropriate tools to get the job done.

Is the job of a Commercial Diver difficult?

If you have a demanding job or specialization on dry land… just imagine doing the same thing underwater. Yes, that cannot be easy. When you add several hundred feet in depth, icy cold, and black conditions, performing your job may be difficult.  

What education is necessary to become a Commercial Diver?

Generally, high school education is the minimum requirement, although certifications will be required, particularly from a diving school. You will need to pass a diving physical, too. Are you a good swimmer? No doubt, you will need to be a strong swimmer. The job of a Commercial Diver can also be mentally challenging.

In addition, you will need training in the equipment you will be working on. Continued education and training are often required for success. 

Will I need a license to be a Commercial Diver?

You will need to obtain your Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) card to access secure areas.

How long does it take to become a Commercial Diver?

The length of a Commercial Diving class can vary depending on the coursework; however, some last up to six weeks to six months. 

What accrediting agency should my training display?

The ACDE, or the Association of Commercial Diving Educators, is the proper accreditation for diving schools. 

Are there degree programs offered in Commercial Diving?

Yes, often, those who have some experience under their belt are interested in obtaining an associate or bachelor’s degree for job promotions or becoming an instructor themselves.

How much money do Commercial Divers earn?

According to the BLS, the average salary for a Commercial Diver is $71,850 annually; however, the highest 10% earn upwards of $111,130 per year. 

Is there a demand for Commercial Divers?

According to, the job growth rate for Commercial Divers is expected to increase by 9.8% between 2016 and 2026, adding up to 6,100 jobs in that period.  

What are the working conditions for Commercial Divers?

Commercial Divers often work during strenuous conditions in deep, dark, and cold water. Added complications include low visibility or waters filled with debris. Work hours are not typical as they sometimes spend weeks at sea. Working with explosives adds to the risks.

What will I learn in a Commercial Diver’s program?

Classes will consist of coursework in:

  • Standards for Commercial Diving
  • Diving Physics
  • Anatomy & Physiology
  • First Aid & CPR
  • Salvage Operations
  • Underwater Welding & Cutting
  • Drawings, Report Writing, and Blueprints
  • Hydraulics
  • Scuba Diving, and much, much more!

How do I begin a career as a Commercial Diver?

The best way to begin a career is by starting at the beginning, right? Often, a Diver’s Assistant (or Tender) position is a great way to gain valuable experience. On-the-job training for a few years will prepare you to dive professionally. Also, you will need time to sharpen your mechanical skills, so working as an assistant for a while is the way to go!