Expand mobile version menu

Diver, Professional and Instructor

Program Description

Just the Facts

Diver, Professional and Instructor. A program that prepares individuals to apply technical knowledge and skills to function as professional deep-water or scuba divers, diving instructors, or diving support personnel. Includes instruction in the use of diving equipment and related specialized gear; diving safety procedures; operation and maintenance of underwater life-support systems; underwater communication systems; decompression systems; underwater salvage; exploration, rescue, and photography; and installation and fitting of underwater mechanical systems and their maintenance, repair or demolition.

This program is available in these options:

  • Certificate / Diploma
  • Associate degree

High School Courses

See the high school courses recommended for programs in this career cluster:

See the high school courses recommended for programs in this pathway:

Related Careers

Check out related careers

Additional Information

In a commercial diving program, you may have to dive through pipes of raw sewage for a class assignment. Or you may have to lay pipes on the ocean floor wearing a heavy suit and helmet hooked on to a thin tether.

Only a handful of community and technical colleges across North America train commercial divers. Private schools also offer training.

Entrance requirements are fairly high. You must have experience diving and the necessary documents to prove it. Programs generally demand a certificate in sports diving.

You must pass a physical exam before you enroll. You may also have to pass exams that test your math and English skills. Programs generally ask for a high school diploma with courses in physics and math.

"There is a lot of math...required," says Dave Geddes. He is an instructor in an underwater skills certificate program.

Divers need math to calculate the right ratio of breathing gases and rates of decompression. As any diver can tell you, you can't just rise to the surface. If you rise too quickly, you will suffer the bends.

You should also like to work with your hands. Classes in shop, woodworking and automotive repair are good.

Being comfortable in the water is a must. Swim, surf or play water polo. And get as much diving in as possible, says Geddes. "Get as comfortable underwater as you possibly can," he says.

Courses in commercial diving programs cover a range of subjects. Aside from the diving-related courses, you may also take courses in general seamanship, boat handling, electronics, drafting, marine biology and small engine repair.

Expect to work hard. Instructors will hold you to a high standard. You may have to get a mark of 80 percent or higher in some or all of your courses to pass.

"We don't have C- divers," says Don Barthelmess. He is the program director of the marine technology program at Santa Barbara City College. "We have to set the bar a little higher for students coming in here."

The reasons behind the higher standards are obvious. They teach students to think about safety above all else.

"Even though we are in a learning environment, we don't have much room for errors...when we are putting people in the water," he says.

Expect to spend a fair bit of money on diving equipment. The dry suit alone costs $2,000. Other items you may have to buy include wrenches, boots and safety goggles.


Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Construction Laborers

UnderWater Magazine
Keep up with industry news

Dive Medicine and Safety
Outlines the many medical aspects of diving

Association of Diving Contractors International
Job postings and scholarship opportunities

Shipwreck Central
Watch amazing shipwreck videos and explore the interactive map


  • Email Support
  • 1-800-GO-TO-XAP (1-800-468-6927)
    From outside the U.S., please call +1 (424) 750-3900
  • North Dakota Career Resource Network
    ndcrn@nd.gov | (701) 328-9733