Commercial divers work in a variety of underwater places, like deep seas, lakes, or other submerged places, and perform construction tasks, such as laying foundations for bridges, building structures, welding underwater cracks, like in oil rigs, and various other jobs. They always work in water in specialized dive suits, mostly in teams and may also work closely with engineers.
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How to Become a Commercial Diver
First, to be a commercial diver you should be a problem solver, clear thinker, and work well with a team. Usually a commercial diver begins their career as a diver’s assistant (called tenders) for a few years before they can dive professionally. They typically go to a diving school that is accredited by the Association of Commercial Diving Educators (link opens in a new tab). According to O*NET OnLine, over 70% of the commercial divers surveyed held a post-secondary certification and a little over 10% had earned an associate’s degree.
It is best to find a educational program that offers hands-on experience and job placement assistance. Once you are hired, you receive a lot of on-the-job training. Employers prefer applicants with some mechanical skills, like welding, motor repair, or some other related skill set.
Job Description of a Commercial Diver
The duties of a Commercial diver vary greatly from job to job depending on the type of work required, such as repairing cracks or laying foundations for bridges. A different skill set would be required for working underwater on a deep sea oil rig. Some jobs need inspections, or working on ports or some other type of water related work, like welding or building. Some jobs require living on ships for extended periods of time and may involve lots of travel while other jobs are for much shorter lengths of time and would be closer to home.
When a commercial diver works in deeper waters, they wear specialized wet suits when diving. When not diving, they assist the next team of divers from the boat. A diver submerged in deep seas must be placed in a decompression chamber to avoid decompression sickness. It is important to follow safety rules at all times as this job can be dangerous if one is careless. This career may pay sporadically depending on the length of time spent on a job and conditions may not always be pleasant.
Commercial Diver Career Video Transcript
Commercial diving is a profession that in many cases, combines construction with scuba diving. Commercial divers work on installations that cannot be removed from the water for servicing, such as oil rigs, bridges, and pipelines. Commercial divers use construction tools such as welders and saws, in combination with scuba equipment, to perform maintenance and repair installations that are either partially or totally submerged in water. Divers may also perform other underwater work such as photographing marine wildlife or rigging explosives. They often work long days and typically spend weeks at sea on a job.
Commercial diving can be both strenuous and dangerous, as it combines the risks inherent in construction work with the added complication of being underwater, sometimes working with or around explosives and volatile materials. Typical requirements to enter the field include a high school education, proficiency in English, a certificate from a diving school, and passing a physical. Mechanical abilities and strong swimming skills are helpful. Commercial diving offers both physical and mental challenges, but the work is often exciting and the pay can be lucrative.
National Center for O*NET Development. 49-9092.00. O*NET OnLine.
The career video is in the public domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.