For many of us, scuba is our greatest love. And if you’re looking for work or a change in career during these tough economic times, then why not make your passion your profession?
There are, however, many myths about the life of a scuba diving instructor: the sunshine, the glamour; the prestige and the money – all of which don’t flow as plentifully as one might expect. It’s also very hard work, with long hours not uncommon, and like any job, it can become repetitive and dour after a while.
But that’s not to say that being a scuba instructor is a bad job – for thousands it’s an exhilarating lifestyle that allows them an interesting way to meet a variety of people and see some of the planet’s most impressive underwater sights. How do you become a scuba instructor?
You’ve got to want to do it
As we hinted, scuba teaching is a profession with unsociable hours and relatively low pay, and you’ll be spending the majority of your days thinking, talking and doing scuba, so it goes without saying that you’ve got to want to do it. Otherwise, there are plenty of better vocations for you to do.
It’s true that to be a scuba instructor you need to be pretty fit or you’ll be absolutely shattered after your first week or work. So, ensure that you’re well practiced, with great all round strength and stability.
You can’t become a master of the underwater world without prior lessons. So, take lessons and learn new techniques and skills from leading teachers.
Get the right kit
Unfortunately, you’ll need to purchase your own kit if you’re looking to become an instructor, which can burn a considerable hole in your pocket so make sure that it’s from a trusted provider that will last hundreds of dives. Before you buy, ask your training provider exactly what you need, but chances are you’ll need a good quality mask, fins, exposure suit, snorkel, compass and some audio and visual signalling kit.
Get accepted on a scuba instructor course
There are two courses to become a scuba instructor: the PADI Divemaster Course initially and then the PADI Scuba Instructor course, after which you’ll be a qualified instructor. The PADI mothod is the most popular and renowned way to train as a scuba instructor, and will be your best bet for landing a job afterwards. But to be accepted on the initial course you need:
- To be no younger than 18 years old
- To have logged at least 20 separate dives, including a night dive, a deep dive and a navigation dive. By the time you sit the exam, that amount will have to be 60 – and 100 by the time you finish the senior PADI Scuba Instructor Course.
- 24 month’s proof of CPR and first aid, and be a certified Emergency First Responder Instructor.
- A medical statement of your fitness and health from a doctor.
Like the majority of other jobs, experience in the field (or, more appropriately, in the sea) is essential, and the more you have, the better. It goes without saying that potential employers will look more favourably on a candidate with ounces of scuba experience than someone who’s just passed his PADI course with the minimum required amount of dives.
Plus, a scuba instructor who has extensive experience of a variety of climates and types of sea will again be more popular with prospective employers, so try and experience scuba in a variety of different places. Scuba instructor positions are sometimes very competitive, so don’t forget to shout about your non-scuba experience and skills – these are the areas in which you will probably have an advantage over rivals.
- License: Image author owned
- License: Image author owned
Charlie Maine is an employee of Marine Scene, an online retailer where you can find the very latest essentials and accessories for watersports, yachting and scuba diving – at fantastic prices.