A scuba diving internship is an excellent way to:

  • Gain experience
  • Level up your skills
  • Start a new career

If you choose a program outside your home country, you can also experience living in a different culture. Conversely, if you’re from a resort area, such as Nusa Penida, Indonesia, some dive shops offer special internship opportunities for locals.

NOTE: This article provides a general overview of internship opportunities for scuba divers (whether you’re just beginning or want to become a PADI Pro). If you’re interested in a Divemaster traineeship program, check out this deep dive article about Divemaster internships.

Research Internships

The majority of scuba diving internships around the world are focused on training. But there are also opportunities for divers who are passionate about marine conservation or want to pursue a career in diving physiology and medical research.

Divers Alert Network (DAN) in North Carolina, USA has an unpaid internship program that runs from late May through August. An Open Water Diver certification is required, but Rescue is preferred.

“During the three-month internship, interns are given opportunities to learn, develop and enhance their professional skills all while promoting dive safety and furthering DAN’s efforts to help divers in need of emergency medical assistance. In some cases, this experience leads directly to career opportunities. All DAN interns will work alongside a mentor at DAN Headquarters in Durham, North Carolina.”

Marine Conservation Internships

Many divers and non-divers alike are looking to become more knowledgable and involved in marine conservation. Sound like you? Consider one of these marine conservation internships.

Love the Oceans Mozambique offers an internship program with in-country expenses paid, but you have to participate in a volunteer expedition first. Activities include:

  • Megafauna research training
  • Coral reef surveys
  • Conducting swimming lessons for local kids
  • Fisheries research
  • Beach clean-ups
  • Sea turtle nesting patrols

Visit their expeditions page to learn more. Be sure to read the descriptions closely. Some programs have prerequisites while others are open to anyone. 

Divers conducting a reef survey. Marine Conservation Philippines Ocean Conservation

Black Turtle Dive Koh Tao (Thailand) has four different conservation internship programs that last from one to two weeks each. An Advanced Open Water Diver certification is required to participate. Activities from the various programs include:

  • Coral reef monitoring
  • How to identify hard corals using coral taxonomy
  • Fish, invertebrate and substrate identification and surveying
  • Coral restoration and coral gardening
  • Sea slugs, nudibranch and seahorse ecology

Divemaster + Marine Conservation Internship

Blue Corner Dive (Bali, Indonesia) offers four different conservation internship programs that can be added to a Divemaster training program – for an additional fee. Divers can learn about reef monitoring, practice coral restoration and assist with manta ray research.

a coral restoration diver hangs coral on an underwater tree

Divemaster Internships

PADI Divemaster is the first rung on the professional scuba diving ladder. This transformational course helps you build the confidence and skills you need to be a dive leader. As a certified PADI Divemaster, you can apply for job openings all around the world. You don’t have to quit your job and travel, but you could.

What Does a Divemaster Internship Entail?

As part of your Divemaster traineeship, you’ll gain experience working at a dive center or resort. In addition to guiding dives and assisting with classes (which are part of the standard PADI Divemaster training program), you may also:

  • Work on a dive boat
  • Learn how to fill tanks
  • Help divers choose equipment

Here’s how Alexandra Dimitriou described her Divemaster internship program:

You will become an integral part of your chosen dive center. You will understand the entire operation…through hands-on experience. You will become multiple instructor’s shadows…and see the way an instructor deals with problems firsthand. Each will teach you something different on any given task until you, the Divemaster candidate, have picked and chosen the way that works for YOU.

An over/under shot of divers on the back deck of a boat waiting to jump in the ocean

How Does a Divemaster Internship Work?

There are a lot of “free” Divemaster internships out there, but (despite the name) you still have to pay for things. The free part means you don’t have to pay for any training. Essentially, in exchange for assisting with classes, washing gear, carrying tanks, etc., you don’t have to pay any tuition. Some dive shops, such as Go Pro Costa Rica, offer internships only after candidates have finished their Divemaster training. 

What you do and don’t have to pay for depends on the dive shop. Some will loan you dive gear, others require you to bring your own. 

A free Divemaster internship typically doesn’t include:

  • Food
  • Lodging
  • Application fees

How Long Is a Divemaster Internship?

It’s possible to become a PADI Divemaster in two very intense weeks, but most Divemaster internships last a few months. Skye McCulla went from a novice with 17 dives to a confident and capable Divemaster during a two-month Divemaster internship in Tenerife.

The length of your Divemaster traineeship may be seasonally dependent. For example, TSK Zurich and Bern offers a 3-month Divemaster internship, but only during Switzerland’s summer months.

Free Intro to Divemaster Online Training

To learn more about what’s involved in becoming a PADI Divemaster, try the free online course Intro to Divemaster. It’s truly free. We don’t even ask for a credit card.

PADI IDC Internships

Many Divemaster internship programs allow you to keep going and take the PADI Instructor Development Course (IDC).

What Does a Dive Instructor Internship Entail?

As described in the Divemaster internship section above, you trade your time and energy for free training…sort of. You may have to pay for food, lodging, application fees, etc. 

In addition to guiding dives and helping out with classes, you may conduct Discover Scuba Diving® (DSD®) programs, PADI ReActivate® scuba refresher programs, fill and carry tanks. 

Students learning scuba diving skills in confined water during a PADI Open Water Diver course

How Long Is a Dive Instructor Internship?

The length of the internship depends on whether you’re already a certified diver when you enroll. One of the prerequisites to becoming a PADI Instructor is you must have been certified for at least six months. 

Scuba diving internships are one of the best ways to improve your skills and expand your horizons. For more information on becoming a PADI Divemaster or Instructor, check out the articles below or connect with a PADI Dive Shop.

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