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Diver

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Summary of occupation

Divers undertake a range of work activities underwater, from our oceans and rivers, to our ports and harbours. They work in fields as varied as scientific research, military maintenance and repair, offshore or onshore construction, aquaculture and police search and rescue. They may inspect, test and repair boats and other marine vessels, undertake search work, undertake maintenance and harvesting at aquaculture facilities, and may specialise in areas such as underwater photography or welding.

ANZSCO description: Swims underwater to undertake tasks such as seafood gathering, research, salvage and construction. Registration or licensing may be required.
Alternative names:
Specialisations: Abalone Diver, Clearance Diver (Navy), Fish Farm Diver, Fisheries Diver, Hyperbaric Welder Diver, Offshore Construction Diver, Offshore Diver, Onshore Construction Diver, Onshore Diver, Pearl Diver, Recreational Dive Instructor, Saturation Diver, Scientific Diver
Job prospects: Average
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A diver needs:

  • to be fit and healthy with strong eyesight
  • a high degree of responsibility and safety awareness
  • strong maths skills
  • to be able to work as part of a team
  • technical aptitude
  • the ability to undertake detailed and complex work.
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Working conditions

Divers work in a range of underwater environments, in either fresh or saltwater, in oceans and natural rivers, or in manmade waterways. Their work can be mentally and physically demanding with a lot of time spent underwater. This can be a potentially hazardous occupation so divers must adhere to strict safety standards. Divers may be required to use equipment in awkward positions and in low visibility underwater.
Divers who work at great depths may be required to spend time in a decompression chamber after their dive to allow their bodies to re-adjust to regular air pressure.

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Salary details

On average, industrial divers working inshore can expect to earn at least $896  per week ($46 613 per year), while offshore industrial divers can expect to earn at least $1 565 per week ($81 357 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, their level of experience and the nature of the work they undertake. However, experienced divers with specialised skills may have a significantly higher earning potential.  

​Divers working in the recreational industry can expect to earn between $696 and $741 per week ($36 305 and $38 631 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a diver develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.

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Tools and technologies

Divers use self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (scuba), surface-supplied breathing apparatus or underwater work chambers in order to breathe underwater. Depending on the type of work undertaken they may use hand tools, hydraulic and pneumatic power tools, explosives, cameras and other scientific research equipment.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

The qualifications required to become a diver vary according to the work undertaken. In some circumstances a certificate of occupational diving competency that complies with the

Australian Standard AS 2815 - Training and Certification of Occupational Divers may be required, whereas other roles may only require a recreational scuba qualification such as those issued by the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI).

The Australian Diver Accreditation Scheme (ADAS) covers occupational divers and recognises four levels of accreditation, depending on the amount of experience and courses completed. Visit the ADAS website​ for further information. 

​All divers should be highly skilled in scuba diving, swimming and hold a current Provide First Aid Certificate. They must also have a certificate of medical fitness to dive, issued by a doctor trained and experienced in underwater medicine. Divers must be at least 18 years of age to apply for a commercial divers licence. 

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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