Professional Diver

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How would I become a professional scuba diver in the ocean that takes photos and videos of animals and plants?

I need some information on how I could possibly become a professional scuba diver that goes deep into the ocean to take photography or video-capture coral reefs, rare fish, underwater animals, anything under the ocean. Amazing things. A professional. Is it hard? What would I have to do to get to that point? What is it like? the lifestyle? competition for a job like that? What is the pay? etc. My AGE is 15, freshmen in highschool. PROBLEM: I live in the middle of the US, nowhere near an ocean. help please?!

You don't need any marine biology degree to become a underwater film maker. Photographers and film makers are there to document things, not study them in detail or conduct research as a marine biologist does. You do on the other hand, need to have a keen interest in film making or photography and taking a college course on photography will help as well. The only difference between a above surface photographer and a sub surface one is the specialized equipment and the fact that they're certified to dive. Diving is just their way of commuting to work, like mine is to work on underwater construction or repairs.
For starters you'd have to get your open water certification at a bare minimum and move up the food chain a bit, probably eventually taking a re breather course, since many professional underwater photographers are moving in that direction for stealth purposes. It let's them get a little closer to their subjects without a stream of bubbles scaring them off.
When you're first learning to dive, there's actually a PADI course on photography you can take. It's not meant as a professional course, but it'll give you an idea on what lays ahead. Here's some info on it: http://www.padi.com/scuba/padi-courses/diver-level-courses/view-all-padi-courses/digital-underwater-photographer-courses/default.aspx
While you're on the PADI site, take a look at the dive shop locator. Chances are, even if you're located well away from a large body of water, there will be a dive shop relatively close to you.
I can't answer anything about pay etc. I'm afraid, since none of my pals are professional photogs.

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