So you’ve decided want to expand your diving knowledge, now what? How do you know who to train with? When compared to sport diving, technical diving consumes a significantly greater amount of time and money, which makes it very important to choose an instructor and training facility that can help you get the most out of your resources. There are many determining factors to consider when looking at dive centers and instructors; we will briefly discuss a few of those factors here to help get you started.
First of all, you have to decide if you want to train locally, or if you are willing to travel for your training. A couple points you want to think about when making this decision include:
Where will you be doing the majority of your diving?
- You want to train in conditions that are similar to the diving you plan on doing. The training you would receive in the Caribbean in warm clear water may not be entirely appropriate for diving in the cold dark water of the great lakes, for example.
2. Would you prefer to have access to your facility/instructor after receiving your training? If you travel great distances to get trained, will you be able to make it back to work with that instructor/dive center in the future for additional training? If you have questions after your course, is it important to you to be able to walk into the dive center or give your instructor a call to ask?
Once you have decided whether you are going to travel or train locally, you can start thinking about whether to search for a dive center or an individual instructor. Both options offer advantages, first, we’ll look at a couple advantages of the dive center:
Opportunity to learn from several different instructors.
- This could be a huge advantage, especially if you are planning on taking multiple courses. You will have the ability to learn from people whose teaching styles may vary, and whose techniques may be different. You can take what you liked from both instructors and apply it to your diving.
2. Easier Scheduling. Technical courses are logistically more difficult than sport diving courses. Dive centers often have more resources available, making it possible to schedule a course that fits into your preferred time frame.
Advantages of looking for an individual instructor:
- You know who you will be working with, you may have even had the chance to meet with the instructor and discuss your individual goals with him/her.
2. Individual attention. While you may have other students in your course with you, it’s likely you will receive training catered more to your individual needs when you hire an instructor as opposed to signing up with a dive center.
Once you’ve decided between training with a dive center or an individual instructor, you can start narrowing the search criteria even more. This can take a little research and legwork on your part, but can be extremely beneficial to your training process in the long run. A few things to consider include:
- Some instructors have a militaristic, no nonsense, my way or the highway style that some divers prefer in technical training. There are also many instructors out there who take a slightly more laid back approach that emphasizes comfort and an open mind to different learning styles. Many instructors are able to incorporate both styles into their courses. It’s important that you match your learning style to that of the instructor in order to maximize your learning potential.
2. Is the instructor the real deal? You want to train with people who are actively making the dives that you want to make. Technical diving is constantly evolving, so it’s important that your training is up to date with the latest equipment, procedures, and philosophies. All TDI instructors are required to teach to their highest level on a regular basis, otherwise they lose that rating, so you can be certain that your TDI instructor is up to date. It’s OK to ask your potential instructor or dive center about their dive history, most are more than happy to talk about the diving they have done and are currently doing.
3. Cost. Technical diving is an expensive hobby, many people who are interested in getting involved may experience a bit of sticker shock when they first start pricing out their training. This is no time to try to save a few bucks, though. There’s a reason we left cost as the last of the search criteria, because it should be the least of your concerns at this point. You are considering going down a path where cutting corners may mean your life, and when you look at the big picture, a few hundred dollars is pretty insignificant. Dive centers and Instructors that offer discounted rates have trouble filling their courses; you should be looking for the courses that have waiting lists to get into. That being said, do not just jump for the most expensive instructor or dive center you find, make sure they meet the rest of your requirements first.
These points are by no means the only criteria by which to choose your instructor or dive center, however it’s a good place to start. You may be a bit intimidated by the task of searching for the best training option for you, but remember, the training you receive could save your life someday. Take the extra time and spend the extra money to make sure whatever route you choose is a good fit. You won’t regret it.
We are here to help if you need a nudge in the right direction. Visit www.tdisdi.com to view our available course or to search for a dive center.
Contact SDI TDI and ERDI
If you would like more information, please contact our World Headquarters or your Regional Office.
Tel: 888.778.9073 | 207.729.4201