Enter your search term

Search by title or post keyword

Scuba Diving Salaries: Top 10 Professions

Our website is supported by our users. We sometimes earn affiliate links when you click through the affiliate links on our website

Contact us for Questions

While scuba diving for recreational purposes is fun and adventurous, the reality is that there are no less than 10 professions that involve scuba diving.

There are scuba diving guides and instructors, but there is much more than that.

This article looks at the scuba diving salaries you can expect to make as a professional scuba diver.

Scuba Diving Salaries

Here are the 10 most popular scuba diving professions and how much each pays.

1. Dive Guide

As one who guides other people on their scuba diving adventures, you can expect to earn on average between $18,000 and $36,000 per year.

2. Dive Instructor

Being a dive instructor is vital because you teach the next generation of scuba divers how to stay safe.

So with that being said, you’d think that a diving instructor would make more than an average of $22,000 per year.

However, in the US, your average scuba diving instructor can earn between $35,000 and $40,000 per year, although around $20,000 per year is the norm.

3. Public Safety Diver

A public safety diver is a diver who engages in underwater diving as part of law enforcement or search and rescue efforts.

The difference between this kind of diving and other types of diving is that public safety diving usually happens at a moment’s notice, such as if a vehicle goes over a bridge and into the water.

Public safety divers can expect to make between $30,000 and $100,000 per year.

Generally speaking, this is a somewhat lower-paid job because it can be a government job instead of being a part of the private sector.

4. Marine Biologist

If you like studying animals and want to help preserve the world for future generations, being a marine biologist could be a good profession for you.

On average, as a marine biologist, you can expect to make around $80,000 per year.

The salary range for this profession is from $32,000 per year to  $127,000 per year.

5. Rescue Diver

If saving lives is important to you, there is nothing better to be than a rescue diver.

As a rescue diver, you can expect to make anywhere from $30,000 to over $90,000 per year, with the median annual salary for rescue divers being around $55,000.

However, keep in mind that becoming a rescue diver involves quite an intensive certification process.

6. Search and Recovery Diver

Recovery diving involves searching for and bringing items that have fallen overboard back to the surface.

A search and recovery diver may also be known as an underwater salvage diver.

As a search and recovery diver, you can expect to make around $54,000 annually.

The top earners make about $93,000 per year. Just like rescue diving, becoming an underwater salvage driver also requires a very intensive training process.

7. Underwater Photographer

If you’re into photography and scuba diving, something you may want to consider is becoming an underwater photographer.

In the US, the average salary for an underwater photographer ranges from $10,000 to nearly $300,000 per year.

The median wage for underwater photographers is around $51,000 per year.

Most underwater photographers make anywhere from $51,000 to $130,000 per year.

8. Underwater Welder

Welding is an already demanding profession on its own, let alone when you factor in scuba diving.

Although this is a difficult job, which is also quite dangerous underwater, welders can earn top dollar.

On average, most underwater welders make between $25,000 and $85,000 per year.

However, a well-trained professional working for a good company can pull in over $100,000 per year with ease.

9. Underwater Archaeologist

Underwater archaeologists, otherwise known as marine archaeologists, in the US can earn from $13,000 to $370,000 per year.

The median salary for underwater archaeologists is roughly $66,000, with the middle 57% making anywhere from $66,000 to $166,000 annually.

If you like archaeology and scuba diving, this could be the perfect profession for you.

10. Golf Ball Diver

You would think that being a diver who focuses primarily on retrieving golf balls on golf courses is not a very glamorous job.

However,  this is actually quite lucrative.

On average, a golf ball diver can earn anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000 per year.

The rates here are sometimes as high as $100 or $200 per ball retrieved.

Find just 10 balls, and you have a good day’s pay.

Wrapping Up

As you can see, if you get into the right kind of scuba diving, you actually stand to make a very decent annual salary.

Leave a Comment

Explore More within Diver Below

Diver Below
Curated information about scuba diving.
post explore
image showing a man swimming in an ocean and shark fins behind him - to show how to survive a shark attack header
  • Marine Life

How To Survive A Shark Attack: Ways To Stay Alive

August 17, 2022
5 min read
header graphic for do sharks attack humans post
  • Marine Life

Do Sharks Attack Humans? Reasons Why & How To Prevent

August 15, 2022
8 min read
  • Definitions
  • Snorkeling

What Is a Full Face Snorkel Mask?

November 17, 2021
8 min read

Browse our Resources

Find the highest quality content, reviews, and recommendations – from the front lines of the diving community.

Gear & More
Scuba Gear


When you’re looking to make an investment into diving, you need the right gear. We provide recommendations and reviews for our favorite scuba gear.

Find Gear
Diving Spots

Dive Spots

There are many places to dive, but many are a diver’s best-kept secret. We pull back the curtain and show you the best places to dive to maximize your travel time.

Dive Spots
The Basics


Learn what it takes to start scuba diving and getting into the sport. We cover the basics and essentials that you should know before getting certified.

Learn The Basics
Training Options


Whether you’re looking to get into scuba diving, or are already trained, there are plenty of options available to start or advance your diving education.

All Certifications