Currently accepting applications for cold water experienced divers! Must have at least five hours of experience in water 60 degrees Fahrenheit or less within the last two years. Deadline to apply is July 31, 2019.


“Dive in” to volunteering at Shedd and see things from our animals’ perspective. Opportunities are available in several exhibits, and the diving conditions are ideal!

All divers must be Open Water SCUBA certified by a recognized agency (PADI, NAUI, YMCA, etc). Some roles require additional certifications, as noted.

Dive applicants must be able to present proof of at least 30 logged open water dives. Training dives and resort certifications are not included.

Our dive programs are very popular, so there is often a waiting list. You must meet all requirements before joining the list.

Shedd provides all necessary dive equipment.

Diver Responsibilities

Our divers help with many tasks in each area. These may include the cleaning and maintenance of exhibits and equipment, cleaning and maintenance of support areas, preparation and set-up of gear, record-keeping, and tending while other divers are in the exhibit. At all times, divers abide by strict safety and husbandry protocols. Other duties will be performed, depending on assigned area.

Assigned areas may include:

Caribbean Reef diver
• Connect guests to the animals in our iconic Caribbean Reef by giving public presentations from inside the exhibit! In addition to the overall diver responsibilities, Caribbean Reef divers also hand feed the animals during presentations, prepare food, and assist in animal observations.

• Volunteers in this role will need to pass a scripted audition as part of training, and public speaking experience is preferred. Knowledge of aquatic life is also preferred.

• An ability to commit to 2 years or more is preferred.


Marine Mammal diver
• Chill out in the Abbott Oceanarium! During these evening dives, volunteers help staff provide the best possible environment for our marine mammals. In addition to the overall diver responsibilities, Marine Mammal divers will help with scrubbing algae and additional gear preparation and set-up.

• At least 5 hours of cold water diving experience is required for this role, which may be part of, or in addition to, the 30 logged open water dives required of all divers.

• Please note: this role does not involve contact with the animals.


Wild Reef diver
Swim among the colorful fishes in one of Shedd’s most popular exhibits, modeled after reefs in the Philippines. In addition to the overall maintenance responsibilities, Wild Reef divers may assist in animal feeding and observations. While there are several habitats our divers enter within Wild Reef, the large shark exhibit is limited to staff.

Rescue Diver certification is required for this role.



Shift times

Caribbean Reef: 8:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. or 1:00 p.m.- 4:00 p.m. Monday−Sunday

Marine Mammal: 6:00 p.m.- 8:00 p.m. Monday-Sunday

Wild Reef: 9:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Monday-Sunday


1 year, preferably more

What are the benefits of being a volunteer?

• Opportunities to help Shedd fulfill its mission by sparking compassion, curiosity and conservation for the aquatic animal world.

• Knowledge gained about our animals and the environments they live in

• Interactions with a diverse group of staff members, volunteers and guests who share a passion for aquatic life

• The chance to see how Shedd works behind the scenes

• Admission to the aquarium and other cultural institutions

• Gift shop and café discounts

• Discounted parking while volunteering

• And more!

Frequently Asked Questions

Have more questions? Get all the answers right here! 

Contact Us

Still have questions? Email volunteer services.