Everything You Need to Know About Working as a PADI Divemaster

Everything You Need to Know About Working as a PADI Divemaster

After completing your training, there’s a good chance you want to put your skills to the test. Maybe even get a job in a dive centre. Spending your time on a tropical island and diving three times a day, sounds good right? Working as a Divemaster is a lifestyle that many want but do you have what it takes?

If you love diving and are passionate about this activity, it makes sense to start working as a Divemaster. Turn your passion into a lifestyle and get paid for it. What could be better! 

This post covers common topics related to working as a Divemaster. Common questions about starting your career in diving are also covered. 

Want to know where you can get a job, or how much you can expect to make? Read on and find out if you have what it takes to get work as a Divemaster.

What Sort of Job Can I Get?

Scuba Diving Jobs vary massively. The most common job is PADI Divemaster. This job is the first on the PADI Professional ladder. Being a Divemaster means you will be leading dives and helping running the dive centres. Kinda like the main footsoldier of the PADI army. 

No day will be the same and your job is all-encompassing. You will be answering the phones, maybe add a dash of marketing. Then get your gear on and conduct some dives. After you could be making sure the equipment is working and closing the dive centre. We did say you will be doing a little bit of everything! 

If you decide to take this further you can become a PADI Openwater Course Instructor. This allows you to teach new divers and conduct PADI courses! After this, there are course directors and speciality instructors. Who knows where it could lead you! 

Maybe you could even become a Commercial diver. This work is usually for construction or offshore oil companies. We at STW are not advocating working on Oil Rigs though. Stick to protecting the Oceans, instead!

Swapping the cubicle for this view!

How to start working as a Divemaster

In order to start working as a Divemaster, you need a few things first. You have to be a qualified PADI Divemaster or equivalent. See our articles on becoming DiveMaster Certified here! 

After you are qualified, there are a few different roads you can take. Many trainee DiveMasters take on internships whilst training for their qualification. This means they will be working in a dive centre already. If you are a hard worker, you could be offered a job. Whilst this means you will already be employed, it could mean you’re stuck in the same place you did your training. Some divers like a change of scenery once in a while. 

Divemaster Hierarchy

Finding work as a Divemaster means you will be starting at the bottom. But that’s the same for any industry. No one gets a high paying job straight out of school and scuba diving is no different. A lot of people become DiveMasters and the jobs are finite. So, there is competition for good jobs. But with the right attitude, you can get that position you want on a tropical beach.

A new rule that some destinations have brought in, is to hire local Divemasters instead of foreign nationals. Some areas such as South East Asia require Divemasters to be from the area. This is to give jobs to the local population. This is great as it helps out the local people and we have met some excellent local Divemasters on our travels. 

These local Divemasters have true passion for the industry and environment. They are also some of the nicest people you will meet on a dive. 

If you are looking for a specific job in the diving industry. You will need to gain an additional qualification in order to stand out. This could take the form of many different qualifications over a range of industries. From Marine engineering to the Marine Sciences, there are a huge number of different routes to take. 

Beats the normal commute

How Do I Become a Divemaster?

If you haven’t yet got the PADI DiveMaster qualification, you should consider investing in it. This is a must for someone looking to begin working as a Divemaster. PADI Divemaster is the first professional qualification a diver can get. It allows them to work in dive centres and help PADI Instructors teach PADI courses. Divemasters can also lead fun dives with certified divers. 

Do you want to become a DiveMaster? Find out how here! 

In order to become a DiveMaster, there a few prerequisites that need to be filled. You need to be above the age of 18 and in good physical condition. There is also the requirement to have a signed medical note stating you are fit enough to complete the course. So hit that treadmill and pool! 

What Qualifications do I Need?

You also need to be PADI OpenWater, PADI Advanced OpenWater, PADI Rescue, and EFR trained within the last 24 months. If you have all this, you can begin the training. 

The DiveMaster Course/internship could take, in theory, a few weeks. But one month is usually the fastest option. The internship can run between 1-3 months and you will be working and completing the course simultaneously. 

To become a Divemaster, you need to have the right attitude and be prepared to work your socks off for months at a time. This is not the same as completing a few fun dives a day and looking at the pretty fish. You will be working in the dive centre, diving many times a day and carrying heavyweights. The course is physically demanding and can really be quite gruelling in parts. You will also be dealing with the most dangerous animal on the planet on a daily basis, one that is responsible for many deaths a year. We are of course talking about ‘the customer,’ you have been warned. They only bite when provoked! 

Clownfish out on the Reef

Where Can I Get a Divemaster Job?

Anywhere where this is an Ocean/Sea/ large enough body of water! There are endless possibilities when it comes to working as a Divemaster. 

  1. The first Scuba Diving Job covered is the PADI Divemaster or PADI Instructor. This job allows you to start working at thousands of dive centres across the world. You can also begin working on Liveaboards or in hotel resorts. You could even stay on your home turf and find a local job. Most gravitate to the tropical climates and beaches, but there are some excellent opportunities in the colder climates. Think differently and you will be rewarded. 
  2. Some divers with a passion for history become Underwater Archaeologists. This is a fascinating area to explore but you will need to have a degree in the field. Who knows, you may even find a sunken treasure! Joking of course but it does happen. Most of the time, you will mapping areas or working with excavation teams. But still, keep an eye out when you are down there. You never know what you may find. 
  3. Marine biologists have to included in the list. Marine Biologists are needed everywhere and the job can vary massively. From helping research teams to conducting water quality experiments. No job is the same and this could be an extremely rewarding job. You could be part of the team that stops coral bleaching or the acidification of the Oceans! 
  4. There are many potential routes to go down. The last one we wanted to mention was that of Underwater Photographer. We think this is the Holy Grail of Scuba Diving Jobs here at STW. Getting paid to spend weeks about a boat, photographing the natural world and its inhabitants. What could be better! These jobs are few and far between but not impossible to get. You just need to work for it!

In terms of what locations you can go to, the options are endless. There are many Job posting boards on the internet that are regularly updated. There are also options for people already in diving hotspots. Many dive centres advertise for staff in the shop. If you are in an area such as Koh Tao or Gili Trawangan, walk around and ask. Divers tend to be a friendly bunch! 

The last option is to ace the internship and begin work straight away. You just have to impress the dive manager and score great marks in the theory, easy right?

Lazy Day at the Office

How Much Money Can I Make as a Divemaster?

Most DiveMasters agree that this is not something you get into for the money. The salary you get depends on a number of different criteria. Where you work in the world for example. If you are planning to be DiveMaster in Southeast Asia, expect a much lower salary than if you are working in America for example. 

From looking at various sources on the internet you can see there are widely contrasting figures for what you can expect to be paid. Some are saying it is possible to make above £25,000 a year. This seems astronomically high in our opinion, maybe even £25,000 is too high. Depending on where you are based you can expect much lower than this.

In SouthEast Asia, nearly all DiveMaster’s will be making less than £1,000 a month, but you’re not in this for the money. If you are, we think even flipping burgers somewhere might earn you more. Even in countries with higher wages, anything above £1,000 seems unlikely to us. You will be lucky to even get close to this in offseason. It’s better to assume that being a DiveMaster will cover the costs of your lifestyle. You will get accommodation and food but not much else. Maybe, if you are lucky, some pocket money for beer. You can earn more if you are a PADI Instructor but then you will need to be certified above DiveMaster. 

Fixed Salary or Commission Based

It can also depend on whether you are on a fixed salary position or a commission-based model. Commission-based pay is very common if you are working as a Divemaster

FIxed salaries can be more common if you are working as part of a resort or hotel. You are employed by the hotel and will probably be taking home a basic salary each month. Although at least you know there is money coming in. So there are positives to this. 

For others, commission-based pay is better. There is the potential for higher salaries so this is a big incentive for some. However, you have to be a natural salesman obviously in order to make ‘good money’. 

This may be disheartening but as everyone says, you are not in this for the money. Whilst you can not expect to get rich off of diving. You will have a fantastic lifestyle, make friends from all over the world and your dive count will soar upwards. 

How Much Do I Have to Work as a Divemaster?

Depending on where you work, this could range from a lot to nearly all the time. You may get one day off a week but if you living at the Dive centre, you may still be expected to help out. Working as a Divemaster is a 24/7 lifestyle.

Even on non-diving days, you will be working in the office. Or, you could be trying to entice people to try out diving for the first time. 

DiveMasters on a whole could be expected to work 50 plus hours a week. However a lot of this time you will be diving. This balances out the long hours at work, as you will be doing what you love for a large part of the day.

Of course, diving 2-3 times a day is going to take it out of you. You will be shattered after work for the first few months. No one said living on a tropical island and diving every day was easy. Despite what a lot of people think.

Even if you are not diving, a large portion of your day will revolve around equipment maintenance, guest interaction, manning the office and doing odd jobs. No day is the same and who knows what it will bring. We can promise you you will be working a lot though. 

Divemaster Working Conditions

Depending on what area of diving you are involved in, the working conditions will vary massively. A lot of Dive centres offer food and board with the job, but the accommodation will be basic and if they need a hand on your day off, who do you think they will call? 

Resort DiveMasters may get better perks, however, you will not be able to use the services as a guest. Although you may get better accommodation and a better wage. 

On cruise ships or even superyachts, this again might be better. But, there is no guarantee. 

Wherever you work, the hours are going to be very long. The work is demanding and you won’t be well paid. But you have an awesome job, lifestyle and you get to dive nearly every day. You will become a better diver, see the underwater world and be outdoors nearly all the time. 

Who knows what you will see at Work!

Things to Know Before Working as a Divemaster

  1. Don’t expect to make a good wage, as we said before you won’t be making a ‘normal’ wage doing this job. But, it is a great job. 
  2. The hours are long and hard. You will be at work nearly every day, for long periods. However, the work is incredibly fulfilling. You will make great friends for life and have memories of these times forever.  
  3. Sometimes, it will be difficult to find work. Visa requirements in many countries make it very hard to find work, or impossible. Off-season in some places means there will be no jobs until tourist season starts. 

If this doesn’t discourage you and it shouldn’t! You will make a great DiveMaster! Diving every day and living a fantastic lifestyle is high on every divers list. This job is hard but the rewards far outweigh the negatives. 

Thanks for reading, see you down below! STW

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