Underwater inspectors are commercial divers who are trained to perform a host of tasks under water. Their jobs may include maintenance, repair and installation, or they may specialize in inspections. They may work on water treatment plants, bridges, submersible operations, telecommunications lines buried beneath the ocean floor, and oil drilling platforms. In order to become a commercial diver, you must have a high school diploma or its equivalent and pass a physical, as strong swimming skills are essential. Basic programs of study take two months to complete while more in-depth courses take up to a year. Some schools incorporate diving instruction in two-year degree programs. Other facilities, such as the National Highway Institute, offer seminars that focus specifically on inspection. After you complete your training, you're eligible for certification, which all commercial divers must have.
In 2013, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the average pay for a commercial diver was $54,880 a year. According to the Divers Institute of Technology in Seattle Washington, starting salaries fall between $40,000 and $60,000 a year and can climb to $100,000 and more as a diver gains experience. It doesn't come easily, though. The job of a commercial diver is physically demanding and often dangerous. He regularly works 10-hour days with little time for coffee breaks. Those who work offshore may spend weeks at a time away from home.