Skydiving is one of those bucket list activities that sounds like a dream to some and a nightmare to others. Regardless of your perception, however, jumping from planes at high altitudes to free-fall for a few moments before gliding back to earth post parachute pull is an exhilarating sport and, in some cases, a lucrative career.
Skydivers can be paid hourly, per jump or, more commonly, on a salaried basis. The latter typically includes salary plus tips based on performance, qualifications and experience. It’s important to note that salaries vary widely between drop zones and individual instructors. Some instructors at bigger, more popular facilities may earn 6-figures or more. This is especially true if they’re super-veterans with every qualification imaginable and are willing to travel with the season and jump from different dropzones.
Those who work as load organizers, filmers and coaches also make good money, although on less of a steady basis than the aforementioned. These professionals are responsible for a variety of tasks, such as assessing the skill and experience level of each jumper to determine which equipment they’ll need and arranging group events at their drop zone.
The most experienced and qualified instructors can earn up to $50,000 a year. This is particularly true if they specialize in specific types of jumps, such as HALO or tandem jumps with overweight guests. Some even choose to become business owners and run their own skydiving center, which requires a lot of hard work and investment.