first step

The First Step to Become a Scuba Instructor

by Dennis Pulley:

So you just completed your open water certification dives, how exciting! Now you’re dreaming of the glamour of the tropical islands, boats, beaches, warm clear water. You think, “I could handle this type of environment all the time”. Just then it hits you, why not become a scuba instructor? You love diving, love the environment, and are ready for a change in lifestyle.

The big question becomes – how can I make this dream happen?

Well you have accomplished the first step by getting certified as an Open Water Scuba Diver. What you will need now is experience, training, and time.

Experience

The only way to become really comfortable with diving is TO DIVE! Go dive, become more comfortable in the water; fine tune your skills, especially buoyancy. Each dive tell yourself you’re going to work on a specific skill. Before you know it everything is becoming almost second nature.

Training

You will need to complete several courses on your road to becoming an instructor. You will begin with specialty classes that include deep, navigation and many others such as rescue, night/limited visibility, really any type of diving that you see yourself doing – you should take a class in.  Not only will these classes give you more in-depth knowledge about that particular subject but you will also be working directly with a mentor that you can learn valuable teaching techniques from along the way.

During the Rescue Diver program you will learn how to assist individuals in need as well as apply the CPR, oxygen administration, AED and first aid skills you learned during your CPROX1stAED program.

The Divemaster level will teach you how to work with divers, and especially leading dives as a dive guide. During the Divemaster training you will observe other Divemasters and instructors as they lead divers on guided tours. You will also begin to gain valuable teaching experience as you assist these instructors with teaching real or simulated courses, and honing your skills as a certified assistant. At the completion of your Divemaster training you will feel comfortable and confident in leading certified divers on various types of dives as well as assist instructors with the supervision of student divers.

The Assistant Instructor will really start to fine tune your teaching skills. The Assistant Instructor program will teach you how to complete lesson plans and how to do academic and in-water presentations. As an Assistant Instructor you can become qualified to teach certain diver specialties. By qualifying to teach specialties you will gain knowledge, skills, and experience on how to teach these specialties. This will really help to move you into the instructor program.

You have spent many hours diving, gaining experience and learning to work with others. Now that you are ready to participate in the Open Water Scuba Diver Instructor program you will continue to improve your abilities to teach, as well as dive.

The SDI Open Water Scuba Diver Instructor Course will continue to refine your teaching abilities and prepare you for the Instructor Evaluation Course (IEC).  This is where you take everything you have learned along the way and demonstrate it to a qualified Instructor Trainer, earning your SDI Open Water Scuba Diver Instructor rating.

Once you have completed the Instructor Evaluation Course you will be ready to start teaching and sharing scuba diving with others.

To reach the instructor level you will need a minimum of 100 logged dives and be certified as a diver for a minimum of 6 months. You can see this won’t happen overnight as they say. With dedication and hard work it can be accomplished in six months to a year.

The other thing to remember and consider is the monetary investment you will have completing this adventure.  You will need a complete set of equipment as well as an exposure suit or suits. You may also add to this equipment as you proceed to your ultimate goal.

The various courses you will complete will also be an investment.  Training is part of any occupation and becoming a scuba instructor is a less expensive investment than many other occupations. The important thing to remember is you will enjoy the lifestyle.

It is also important to remember that just because you are now an Open Water Scuba Diver Instructor, you’re learning does not and should not end there!  It is extremely valuable to continue to develop both your diving and teaching skills by learning new specialties and taking specialty instructor courses.  The more you learn, the better you will be able to teach, improving your likelihood of success in the diving industry.

Good luck on your adventure!

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