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Thinking about diving as a career and want advice!

Discussion in 'Introductions and Greets' started by zack santagate, Jul 18, 2016.

  1. zack santagate

    zack santagate Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Texas
    In an ideal world, if I was to get really into diving as an income source, I would want to live in Florida, California, or an island (probably virgin islands). I would say 50k would be really ideal. As far as skills, I do photography, video editing, and was also a college tennis player (have coaching experience), and I have a lot of marketing experience. I am only fluent in english unfortunately. Maybe getting into real estate could be another income source provided my experience in business and photography, etc.

    Thanks for all the help!
  2. John A Lewis

    John A Lewis Scuba Media & Publications

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: DFW
    The answer to that is always "That depends". Become a DM first, then look around at your possibilities, okay?

    Cart, then horse never seems to work out.
    Brandon likes this.
  3. northernone

    northernone Great White Rest in Peace

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Currently: Cozumel, from Canada
    People skills and passion count for a lot! Keep us posted as you continue and enjoy the community. All the best.
  4. drrich2

    drrich2 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Southwestern Kentucky
    When you mention becoming a 'dive master,' explain just what you think that means beyond a certification. It's been said in other threads that what customers often think of as a 'dive master' leading dives on boats is often someone with instructor credentials.

    Have you considered what impact a wife & maybe kids will have on the practical aspects of career planning?

  5. Brandon

    Brandon Shop Independent Diver ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Alaska
    Dive industry "careers" consist mostly of minimum wage retail jobs at the shop or possibly as a paid DM on the boat. Many instructors/DMs complain that they struggle to make minimum wage. Many DMs/Instructors also teach for no salary, but receive other benefits such as tips or discounted goods/services at the shop.

    There are tremendous regional variations, and Hawaii / California / Florida are probably the three states where you'll have the best luck, but I know shop owners and boat captains who don't make the $50k a year you dream of... much less shop staff, service techs or DMs. You'd be lucky to get $10-12 an hour with a full-time position. You're very unlikely to get healthcare, retirement benefits, or paid time off. Most people work in the dive industry because they're passionate about diving... not because it's a financially sound choice.

    Learn how to weld, fix fiberglass, and work on marine engines or electrical systems, and you could probably pull down $50k a year in a diving hotspot by working in a boatyard. Those are uncommon skills that are highly in demand anywhere ocean diving is popular. A combination of work and your off-time diving will likely produce all the diving opportunities you'd ever need.

    Alternatively, good bartenders and waitstaff are always highly in demand anywhere people vacation.

    My $.02,

    Last edited: Jul 19, 2016
    Shane Giger and northernone like this.
  6. MV Dive

    MV Dive Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Philippines
    Sounds like you have a lot going for you with your background, Take it slowly and gain experience first. If you want to make half decent money get into a high end resort or liveaboard. Practice making underwater video and that can also add to your income. I have been all over the world for nearly 10 years and it was the best thing I ever did, it will open up a whole world to you.
    Good luck from Kris :)
  7. TMHeimer

    TMHeimer Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dartmouth,NS,Canada(Eastern Passage-Atlantic)
    For DM, people skills do count a lot. Keep day job, get a lot of diving in, and see where it leads. Being a Capt. surely doesn't hurt.
    Brandon likes this.
  8. japan-diver

    japan-diver Dive Charter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Okinawa, Japan
    When I see these threads you can almost predict the responses of its impossible to make money in diving etc... These are normally made by part time instructors in more land locked areas. I have made my living the past 20 plus years in the scuba industry and have 3 kids and pay all the bills and have the opportunity to travel and see the world. As with most industries you have to be where the work is at first- this generally means moving to the work not making it moving to you. You will start at the bottom- the new guy doing the OW class or the DSD. If you stop your education at Instructor you will not get far, get experience, teach, dive make yourself marketable. Skills that shop owners look for- can you captain a boat, can you fix a boat, can you fix a regulator, can you help design a web page, edit photos and video, can you sell equipment, compressor knowledge, mix gases and more. All of these skills add value and make you more employable and increase your earning potential. Also staying up on teaching trends and skills is necessary if you are still teaching (or taking classes from an instructor) with students kneeling on the bottom and not neutral and floating you need to find a better instructor or get training on how to do things better.
    In my 20 years I have worked as an instructor, guide, manufacturers rep, videographer, regional expert for documentaries, boat captain and now a shop owner. I make a good living and others can to but you have to work and constantly move yourself forward and find the next area you can specialize in and be better than the majority of resumes I see asking for a job.
    Hank49 and wetb4igetinthewater like this.
  9. zack santagate

    zack santagate Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Texas
    Thanks a lot Kris!
    MV Dive likes this.
  10. zack santagate

    zack santagate Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Texas
    Extremely good insight. Thank you for not giving me the easy answer, as in "there's no money, etc."
    wetb4igetinthewater likes this.

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