What to expect from a career in Underwater Construction and Salvage work
Many people consider diving to be a hobby, but for those with training from underwater skills programs at Ontario colleges, it can also be a career. Underwater skills programs combine diving training with construction and salvage techniques to prepare students for safe and effective work under the water, laying and repairing pipeline, inspecting underwater support structures and much more.
If you’re interested in becoming a certified diver and taking your career under water, here’s what you need to know.
Underwater Skills Courses
Underwater skills programs are unique because, in addition to teaching techniques for underwater construction and repair, they prepare students to become certified divers. Because of this split, underwater skills courses typically fall into one of these two categories:
- Diving Skills. Students will study the physics and physiology of diving, along with hyperbaric chamber operation, diver medic techniques, navigation and charting techniques and deep diving to prepare them for the practical diving component of the program.
- Construction Skills. Students will build on their diver training with underwater construction skills, such as welding, rigging, small engine mechanics and more.
Upon completion of underwater skills programs, students may apply for certification from the Diver Certification Board of Canada.
General Underwater Skills Program Requirements
Ontario college underwater skills programs typically require an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent, which includes a grade 12 English credit. A grade 12 mathematics and senior physics class will also be required.
Non-academic requirements include a Recreational Scuba Diving Certificate and diving experience consisting of a minimum of 20 dives and 10 hours bottom time. Proof of completion of a commercial diving medical exam from an approved hyperbaric physician will also be required.
Underwater Skills Jobs and Salaries
Underwater skills jobs cross many industries, but are most commonly found in oil and construction. Within these industries, job opportunities may include construction, inspection, repair or all three. Because of the specialized nature of their work, underwater skill professionals are often in high demand.
Work is often done on a project-to-project basis rather than with a single company, which means salaries can vary; however, it’s common for underwater skills professionals to start at around $50,000 per year, and increase up to $100,000 or more with high-paying projects that require a significant level of expertise.
Ontario Colleges Offering Underwater Skills Programs
Use the left-column navigation to refine your search by College, Program Availability, Program Start Date and more, or see the table below for a complete list of underwater skills programs at Ontario colleges.