A word that makes you think of plenty of things. War. Greed. Power. Money. Deepwater diving. That’s right, diving. It may not be your first association with the big oil companies, but it is a place where divers can launch lucrative careers. A place where you can push the limits and do what you love to do – dive.
Commercial diving jobs for oil companies are possibly the best means to a big paycheck as a diver. Imagine diving every day in some of the most remote locations on the entire planet – Alaska, the Black Sea, Gulf of Mexico, Red Sea, and anywhere else that oil hides offshore beneath the surface of the Earth.
When you work as a diver for the oil industry you need to have strong diving skills. And to make the big bucks you need to be a fully certified commercial diver. That means attending a commercial diving school where you will learn the mandatory skills to begin a career as a commercial diver.
You need to feel 100% confident in everything that you do underwater. Any mistake can be costly, even fatal. When you work for the oil industry you will be diving in extreme conditions. Depth, penetration, darkness, cold, currents, bottom time, even underwater welding will become part of your daily routine. Every single day will be completely different – with new challenges, new adventures, and new locations.
So what is the life of an oil diver like? How do I get started in this sweet career? How much will I make? Is it hard to find work? Is this the career for me? These are all questions that you most likely are pondering right now. Well let’s start at the beginning…
To get started diving for the oil industry, you need more than a basic open-water diver certification The International Marine Contractors Association website has lots of information about such training programs. A commercial diving school will teach you the complex skills of gas mixing, depth diving, and underwater construction. More notably, you’ll learn to dive using surface supplied air instead of SCUBA.
The next step is to find a job. Usually this can be done by searching the big oil company’s employment pages or by searching Google. Next apply for a job. If your skills are top notch and you have a solid background, you’ll be hired. Be ready to jet set off to some remote oil rig and be prepared to travel again to your next gig. You may be in Alaska one week welding a pillar at 100 meters and the next week be exploring for oil in the South Pacific.
Traveling on the oil company’s dollar is one perk of working in this industry. Another is your paycheck. Often entry-level dive jobs pay between $900 and $1,500 a week. And with more experience, you can earn upwards of $80,000 annually – an awesome salary for doing what you love – diving. Not to mention that you are always traveling, never having to settle down in a little cubicle with a window down the hall.
As for finding work, yes it is difficult, but not if you have the skills and willingness to search out the work and to go where it is. Many commercial divers in the oil industry burn out quickly due to the long hours and adrenaline pumping work. But a few years of heart pumping underwater work is a pretty great gig. If you are qualified, the jobs will come, but always be sure to look for your next job even when you are on you are happily employed. It seems that once you are in the system, the work is steady, exciting, and there is plenty of it.
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