The Salary Range for Deep Sea Divers

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Deep-sea divers use highly specialized equipment.
Deep-sea divers use highly specialized equipment. (Image: scuba diver before diving image by janika from Fotolia.com)

Deep-sea divers, also known as commercial divers, specialize in working under the water to inspect, install or repair various kinds of equipment and structures. These workers can be found both in fresh and saltwater environments and perform a wide range of tasks that are often associated with construction projects or maintenance work. Salaries for deep-sea divers can vary considerably based on various factors.

National Averages

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there were about 3,030 commercial divers working in the United States in 2009. These divers earned an average hourly wage of $27.91 per hour, or about $58,060 per year. The lowest 10% of diverse earned about $15.63 per hour, or about $32,510 per year, while the top 10% earnrf nearly three times this amount, taking in about $45.25 per hour, or about $94,130 per year.

Most Common Sectors

The industry sector that employed the highest number of commercial divers in 2009 was the "other support services" sector, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The approximately 900 divers in this sector of the industry earned an average hourly wage of about $30.56 per hour, or about $63,560 per year. Commercial divers working in the second-highest paying sector, "support activities for mining," earned an average wage of about $28.58 per hour, or about $59,440 per year.

Highest Paying Sectors

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the commercial divers in the "utility system construction" sector of the industry had the highest average wages out of any sector in 2009, making an average hourly wage of about $32.37 per hour, or about $67,330 per year. Deep-sea divers in the "other heavy and civil engineering construction" sector made about $30.82 per hour, or about $64,110 per year.

Geographic Differences

The five states where commercial divers had the highest average incomes in 2009 were, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics: California, New Jersey, Texas, Louisiana and Missouri. Commercial divers in California had an average hourly wage of $39.76, or about $82,690 per year, while those in Missouri earned a much lower average of $26 per hour, or about $54,070 per year. Commercial divers working in Oxnard, California had the highest average wages out of any city in the nation, earning an average of $40.12 per hour, or about $83,450 per year.

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