How to Become a Commercial Diver

Written by ehow sports & fitness editor
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A commercial diver takes their love of Scuba one step further. Instead of just casually cruising over reefs or sightseeing under the waves, a commercial diver learns practical skills that can be put to use in a variety of ways. Bridge building and repair, underwater pipelining, industrial construction and even search and rescue are just a few of the things you can look forward to when you become a commercial diver.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Certification
  • Naval qualification
  • Diving equipment

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  1. 1

    Complete all of your preliminary, mandatory training. Newer divers and those who are mere enthusiasts will need to complete training courses that make them competent in a wide range of disciplines, from emergency diving procedures to deep diving. Diving schools and even diving stores in your area can provide you with the training you need.

  2. 2

    Choose the area of expertise you'd like to focus on to become a commercial diver. Are you interested in salvage? Would you like to work in construction and repair? Does rescue diving appeal to you? Each discipline has it's own course of study, which you need to complete before you can be tested for a license.

  3. 3

    Plan on a commitment to training of at least 4 months, or longer if you're learning highly specialized skills. In addition, understand that classes for individuals are rare (and very expensive), so you'll want to join a class with a set schedule.

  4. 4

    Complete a First-Aid training course that awards you certification. Many states require commercial divers to have such certification.

  5. 5

    Learn secondary skills that can help you find a more lucrative commercial diving career. For example, learning how to handle standard and underwater explosives opens a lot of new career paths, particularly in the oil industry.

  6. 6

    Head to the Commercial Diving Academy--one of the nation's best known commercial diving instruction facilities (see Resources below). Thousands of students have gone on to high-paying jobs after training under their experienced team of instructors.

Tips and warnings

  • Get your training in the Navy. Navy divers are considered immediately qualified for the majority of the most demanding, most lucrative diving jobs available. Naval certification applies in the civilian market too, so it's easier to get a job once you are discharged.
  • Be aware that when you become a commercial diver your age will become a factor in your ability to work sooner than it would in other industries. Most commercial divers retire in their late 40s or early 50s.
  • Speak to your doctor about your health before you entertain the idea of becoming a commercial diver.

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