How To Become A Professional Skydiver, Or Close To It

How To Become A Professional Skydiver, Or Close To It

Published: April 12, 2021

Skydiving is perhaps the definitive bucket list experience, but it is also much more than that. Since people realized that you could jump out of airplanes for fun, skydiving has grown into a leisure activity, hobby and even a competitive sport. Professional skydivers have various roles, but all have a couple of things in common - they are not superhuman, and everybody starts with a first jump. Here is a bit more information about what goes into a professional skydiving career.

Tandem Skydiving

Tandem skydiving was first developed in the early 1980s and has since grown into a global industry, with constantly evolving techniques and technology helping numbers expand year after year. The ability to have highly experienced instructors introduce people to skydiving after just a small amount of training opened up the potential of the industry as a full-time career, and is an essential part of skydiving operating at a much larger scale.

Tandem instructors not only need to be very experienced and qualified, but must also be good with people, as they guide them though what is likely one of the most intense (and awesome) experiences of their lives. To become a tandem instructor in the United States, you must have completed at least 500 skydives.

Camera Work

Your very first skydive is an amazing experience, and capturing it in photos and on video to share with your friends and family is an important part. You'll want to have a qualified camera flyer jump with you in freefall and record the action from a third, or "outside," perspective. Flying camera is traditionally the first job that people get in the industry that pays them to jump, and you can start doing this when you have more than 200 jumps. It's a way to build skill and experience before moving on to other areas of employment.


Teaching people to skydive for themselves can be a very rewarding thing to do, and for many professional skydivers this represents an important career goal. To become an instructor in the United States, you need over 800 jumps. Instructing can be a job on its own, but just as likely by the time people get to this stage they also continue to do the other things as well. Skydiving is a diverse sport, and can represent a varied and involved career. By the time you become an instructor, you will likely already have occupied many of the other roles on the dropzone - all of which give you the correct experience to pass on to others.

Other Things

Packing Skydiving Parachutes is a traditional way to earn money to pay for jumps, and completely immerses you in dropzone culture. Learning while on the ground, and simply spending time in and around the sport, is extremely important.

Coaching is something you can do once you have developed enough skill in a particular area that other qualified skydivers will pay you to share your knowledge with them. Many professional skydivers use coaching to supplement their other work, but the very best can make a living from coaching alone.

Dropzone Operations involves all of the various ground-based tasks that keep a skydiving operation running - such as manifesting all the jumps or editing video. There are also all the non-skydiving related things like groundskeeping and facility management, which keep you close to the action until you're ready.

How Do I Get Involved?

Start skydiving! Becoming a professional skydiver might seem as though it involves a staggering number of jumps, but everyone starts with zero jumps and builds from there.

A tandem skydive is by far the most accessible way to experience skydiving for the first time. Once you get involved and start hanging out at the dropzone, you will be surprised at how those jumps numbers start to creep up. There is no professional skydiving course that will take you all the way to being an instructor, but the things listed above are established stepping stones and guidelines for how to be a professional skydiver.

Jumping out of aeroplanes for fun is potentially life-changing, and those that work in the sport are simply people that tried it once and then wished to do it again, and again, and again. It all starts with that first jump, though, so book it with Skydive OC today!

It's something everyone should do @ least once in their life time!

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