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How to Become a PADI Dive Instructor

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When becoming a scuba instructor experience is key, diving in as many different environments will lead you to decide if this is the career choice for you. This is why I recommend getting overseas today!

Most all “normal” jobs today are able to be done anywhere. For me, I was a server and bartender and that is what helped me pave the way to becoming an instructor. Always have a back-up plan unless you have the means to support yourself on this journey.

I also want to add, there are many dive companies you can affiliate with such as:

There are plenty more. It is up to you to choose which association fits best with you.

However, I am a certified PADI Instructor so I will be talking about the qualifications with this agency.

a female scuba diver looking over her shoulder at a shool of sharks
Diving with a school of sharks

Requirements to becoming a PADI Instructor:  

  • PADI Divemaster, or leadership level with another diver training organization
  • +18 years old
  • 60 logged dives; documented experience in night diving, deep diving and underwater navigation
  • If not a PADI Divemaster, successfully complete the PADI Divemaster course dive rescue assessment
  • Certified diver for six months
  • Medical clearance attesting to dive fitness signed by a physician within the previous 12 months
  • Emergency First Response Primary and Secondary Care course completion (or qualifying training) within the last 24 months.
  • Complete Instructor Development Training
  • PADI Assistant Instructor, or current instructor member in good standing (eligible to renew*) another recreational diver training organization at least six months
  • 100 logged dives to take the Instructor Examination
  • Successfully complete the Instructor Development Course or the Open Water Scuba Instructor Program within the past 12 months.
  • Once completed you’ll also get your instructor training for Emergency First Response or CPR/first aid with another emergency care organization.

Where to start:

If you are expressing interest in becoming a PADI Dive Instructor you must successfully complete your Open Water, Advanced Open Water, Emergency First Response, Rescue, Divemaster and Assistant Instructor courses. 

You can take these classes anywhere that has a PADI shop and you can find this information out online on the shops website. It will be clearly stated which association the shop is affiliated with. Many locations also have instructors from more than one agency, which can help you decide.

When you decide to go to the professional level overseas I recommend checking out Divezone.net. If you have a location in mind there are drop down bars that help you find internships in the specific area you are looking for.

Or just a basic google search specifying what you are looking for.

When I looked for my Divemaster internship I wanted to work in Komodo National Park in Indonesia. They are known for fast currents and huge manta rays. I was also wanting a program focused on sustainability and community service work and that’s exactly what I found.

Unfortunately, the shop I did my DM is no longer running, but I would have recommended it to everyone, it was an incredible time! Check out their website anyway since it's such a unique spot.

Another great place to become a dive master is in the Philippines. With so many epic dive spots, you'll get the best of diving while you train.

A group of scuba divers on the boat after a big day of divingf
Having fun with a group of Divers from Wicked Diving

Different types of Internships:

You can find internships such as the 4 month Divemaster program with Lord Howe Island, that are free of charge plus accommodation, in exchange for work. Check out Pro Dive LHI here! These programs are few and far between but if you keep digging they are available.

Of course, there are plenty of paid internships all over the world. I recommend if you go that route, and are genuinely interested in going for your instructor, that you look for shops that also have Instructor Development Courses, you will get discounts if you sign up for multiple courses at a time! Dive Bohol is where I did my IDC, check them out!

Other amazing opportunities would most definitely include liveaboards.

There are tons of liveaboards all over the world. A quick google search of liveaboards will put you in the right spot, just go to the section stating what classes they offer such as Divemasters and Instructor Development courses.

What happens once I become an instructor?

I highly advise you go for your Master Scuba Diving Trainer.

This comes at a cost, but allows you to teach 25 courses while working alongside other instructors. It was the best experience I could have ever asked for. My confidence as an instructor is unmatched.

In 4-months I was able to teach every single class that I am able to as an instructor and even co-instructed 2 dive master programs. It is a lot of hard work but worth every second of it.

While it's a lot of training and hard work, imagine getting paid to dive in some of the best dive sits in the Caribbean. That's motivation enough for me!

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Once I am an instructor how can I make money overseas? 

Depending on where you are from you will have to apply for visas, yay!!!

an underwater picture of a turtle swimming near the shore
Visas are stressful but calling this your office makes it worth it!

Traveling is always about the visas and we always want to respect the culture by gaining the correct one.

First things first, I want you to google search which countries allow your passport to work in by obtaining a visa. It can be quite difficult but there are always opportunities to get specialized visas for scuba diving instructors.

Depending on where you work the salary can change drastically.

You could be making up to $1,500 USD base salary, not including classes, in Australia and make $250 USD per month in South East Asia.

You will have to sacrifice some of your crazy spending but those salaries are quite large in places like the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia for example.

My best advice? BE OPEN MINDED!!

If you choose the dive life for a while or even for life you will be a changed person.

It is a very unique and fulfilling career choice and opens you up to finally explore this big world while protecting the ocean in the process.

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