Do you want to work as a shark cage dive operator?

  • Read about the most important info you need to decide on following this career.
  • ​Follow the 7 points below and search for a tertiary institution near you for future studies. If you already are graduated, you may also search through our list of Jobs in the main menu.
  • If you want to PLAN the way you need to prepare, then join our community in step 8 where you will learn everything, while chatting with other potential operators and experts from around the world. Prepare to be amazed!


Mentor Avatar
Position Vacant

UPDATED: 4 November 2020

1. What is a Shark Cage Dive Operator?

Shark Cage Dive Operators are highly qualified scuba divers who use their skills and knowledge of sharks to accompany tourists in steel cages in the water to see and photograph sharks.

Also known as:

  • Great white shark guide
  • Shark Cage Boat Operators

Other diving careers are discussed together under Scuba Diving & Snorkel Tour Operator

Largest Shark?

The Whale Shark (Rhincodon typus) can grow to an average of 55.7 feet (17 m) in length

Comfortable Cages?

Cages are built for safety and can accommodate up to 10 people at once

2. What do they do?


Business / Marine Conservation


The primary focus of Shark Cage Dive Operators is to take tourists down in a metal cage so that they can be close enough to sharks to enjoy the experience.

Daily Tasks:

  • Develop a dive plan for tourists
  • Advertise and discuss the plan with new tourists
  • Explain safety guidelines to tourists
  • Prepare and lower cage into water
  • Keep an eye on tourists while sharks are around
  • Take pictures and video of tourists
  • Create and add new work to a portfolio and website
  • Administration, filing and marketing

Where they work:


Dive Operators work mostly outdoors, in the water.

Places of Employment –

Dive operators can work for established tour companies, or start their own business.

Average Salary:

As most operators are self employed, their income is based on attracting tourists. On average the income per year is around $60,000, slightly higher than other scuba and snorkel related careers. This will differ from country to country, and depending on the type of sharks that can be seen.


Tour operating is seasonal and dependent on tourists. Slow seasons can see a drop in income. Operators can work long hours and over weekends. Although the career has safety guidelines, diving with sharks can get very dangerous.

​Future growth and Possibilities:

Despite the type of shark and location, the cage diving industry remains competitive. 

3. Which Skills are required?

The skills required for a career as a shark cage dive operator can be divided into two very important groups. The first is the group containing life skills, which are the core skills that are necessary or desirable for full participation in everyday life. The second group is career skills, or the specific skills required to allow a person to enter and operate effectively within a specific career. Some or maybe even all of the life skills can assist in strengthening the career skills, and they might even be the same for specific careers.

Life Skills:

  • Self-awareness
  • Empathy
  • Critical thinking
  • Creative thinking
  • Decision making
  • Problem Solving
  • Effective communication
  • Interpersonal relationship

Career Skills:

  • ​Good business knowledge
  • Basic customer service skills
  • Good health and physical fitness
  • Excellent SCUBA diving skills
Life Skills
Career Skills

4. Which Subjects must I have at School?

The subjects you choose at school are important as they lay the foundation for further studies at college or university. While still at school, it’s also important to learn more about the animals you will work with, as well as gain some experience.

OZT has a list of various tertiary institutions where you can study further, after school. Each of these institutions also have their own Group page on OZT where you will find the exact subjects they require of you to have passed in school. Keep these requirements in mind, and discuss it with your school, guidance counselor and parents to ensure that you are prepared!

5. What will I need to Study?

Minimum Requirements:

The minimum required educational qualification is a High School Certificate, but most of the top operators do have at least a College diploma. Divers will also need an advanced SCUBA diving qualification.


Major –

A College diploma in Marine Biology, Marine Conservation, Marine Science or Zoology.

Short Courses –

Divemaster or SCUBA Instructor


The duration of College Diplomas can be up to 3 years. Short Courses are usually between a few weeks and a year.

Possible Career Preparation Paths:

If this is your dream career that you want to pursue, then it’s important to plan the way forward.

Why is planning important?

​To ensure that you understand the requirements for your career, and that you are always prepared for the next step on the road towards your dream. A Preparation Path is like your road map to where you want to be.

Possible Paths:

Possible Combined Career Paths:

It is possible to sometimes combine two or more related careers. This normally happens when you study and practice a specific main career, but the knowledge and experience gained also help you to have a paying hobby or secondary income career.

Possible Alternatives (there are a lot more):

Stepping Stone Career:

Being a shark cage dive operator can also be used as a stepping stone career. A stepping stone career is one which is used to help you get to another career, normally because the other career is too difficult to reach (sometimes due to things like high fees etc).

You can begin as an intern operator or handler after basic short courses and expert guidance (maybe working under a dive mentor). The money made can then be used to pay for studies towards a promotion or another career, and the experience helps in gaining knowledge. One paying to help get to the other.

Some of the possible paths:

Training and apprenticeship:

Even though it is important to study to get into some of the animal careers, most of the skills you will need as a cartoonist will be acquired through practice. This means that you will learn how to perform some of the daily tasks by actually doing it a few times and learning the steps.

In some cases entry level positions (or junior divers) require training sessions even before you are allowed to actually perform your job duties. These sessions are offered by the place of employment, after you have successfully applied.

Apprenticeship is also possible where you need to learn skills from a more senior diver or shark expert.

Join the Shark Cage Dive Operators Group in STEP 8 to learn more and even interact with the educational institutions that will help you secure your dream career!

Average level of education of people who enter the career:

High School Certificate 0%
Diploma or Short Courses 0%
Degree or Higher Studies 0%

6. Licenses, Certificate, Registration and Professional Associations

Certain animal careers require some form of legal certification to prove that you can indeed do the work, and work with the necessary equipment.

Dive operators are legally required to have a scubamaster certificate, and an operator permit.

Learn more about requirements by joining OZT in STEP 8.

Professional Associations:

7. Where can I study further?

All of the above information will help you understand more about the Career, including the fact that there are different paths to take to reach it. But if you are almost done with High School (Grades 11 or 12), you also need to start thinking about further studies, and WHERE you will study.

See the List of Universities, Colleges and Online Training Academies who offer courses towards marine science and diving.

Shark Cage Dive Operator Career_opt

8. Join the OZT community

Join us as a special member and learn more about becoming a shark cage dive operator.

Members of the Platform have special access to:

  • Info on the best places where you can study (colleges, universities and online)
  • Expertly designed advice to prepare you for the career, and links to places where you can gain valuable experience. For some career experience is necessary, otherwise you wont get the job!
  • Top notch info on each of the different species you will work with
  • Make friends around the world and share knowledge
  • Compete and win points, badges, games, prizes and certificates. Be the best of the best, while you learn and prepare!

If you have decided on being a Shark Cage Dive Operator, please click on the JOIN GROUP button. Members will be directed to the Group, while non-members will be assisted to register first.

If this career is NOT the career for you, then you may return to the MAIN CAREER menu, and search for something different.

Other interesting Careers

Career Profiles and Resources

Career Mentors are Members who assist by volunteering to keep each Career Page factual and current, while mentoring Students in the related Career Group.

Learn More …

Contributions by expert members are always appreciated to allow the Students to make informed decisions. Please add your contribution through the attached Form:

Contribution Form

List of Career Mentors/Educators who have contributed to this Career info:


One Zoo Tree

A few pictures about the Career:

Some of the best websites to help you decide on the Career:

We believe in feedback from our users. Please rate the career info, or leave us a comment on how we can improve on it

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x