become an IT

The Most Efficient Path to Becoming an IT

by Stephanie Miele:

Becoming an Instructor Trainer can be the pinnacle of one’s professional scuba career.  Individuals work and prepare for years to have the opportunity to take the Instructor Trainer course that allows them to directly impact the next generation of professionals and divers entering into our sport.

It is a great honor to have participated in teaching these courses overseas and domestically over the years and many have asked what they should do to prepare for this course.  Well, the first thing to do is to breathe and get organized as this article is going to highlight what you will need.

First, it is essential that you read and understand what required of you to be considered for one of the Instructor Trainer Workshops.  A direct link to the requirements can be found here: https://www.tdisdi.com/ITW/.  This is a great resource and organizational tool for you to get started.

Looking at the prerequisites, there are several things that you need to have when applying.  Some are self explanatory, but it doesn’t hurt to review them.  Also, if you do not meet these prerequisites, you will know what needs to be done to get you ready.

  • Minimum age 21.  Age is important here as you do need to be 21 years old to participate in the program and of course to have the celebratory drink after you successfully complete the course. 
  • Provide proof of 300 logged dives.  Your logbook will come in very handy here.  Many people print out or email a copy of their logbook as proof for this prerequisite.
  • Be an active SDI Open Water Scuba Diver Instructor who has assisted with 1 complete Instructor Development Course (IDC).  Actively teaching with the organization that you would like to acquire Instructor Trainer level with is a must.  Each agency is different and it is important to know and have a thorough understanding of the agency which will no doubt help you when you are entrenched in the 8 day intensive Instructor Trainer Workshop.  Familiarizing yourself with the website and what is available to you as an instructor is valuable not only to yourself, but to the future instructors you will be creating.  So if you have not started teaching as much as you would like with SDI then this would be a good time to start getting more acquainted with us.
  • Have issued a minimum of 200 SDI Diver certifications at various levels, or equivalent, suggested levels as defined below:
    • 150 Open Water Scuba Diver
    • 20 Rescue Diver
    • 25 Specialty Diver
    • 5 Divemaster or Assistant Instructor

    Please note that the above number is a minimum suggestion and the levels that are broken down are also a suggestion.  Our training department is available to answer questions regarding these suggested levels and minimums as each candidate is different and we recognize that.  Please reach out to the highly knowledgeable members of the training department should you have any questions about these numbers.

  • A minimum of 50 of the required student certifications must be SDI unless authorized in writing by SDI Training Department prior to course commencement.  Again, being well versed in our standards and training philosophy is a crucial characteristic of an Instructor Trainer.  Remaining in touch with our training department is key and it is important to talk to them within a timely manner so that they can properly advise you. 
  • Provide proof of current CPR, first aid, and oxygen provider, where local law permits.  Making sure your first aid credentials are up to date is essential and if you know that it will expire right before or during the program, please make sure that you become recertified.  So take a look at the dates on your credentials and plan accordingly.
  • Have a current medical examination for scuba diving signed by a licensed physician.  Finding someone to conduct a diving medical can sometimes be difficult.  We know that many people have been able to do so by contacting DAN to find a local diving physician.  Also, your family practitioner or some walk-in clinics are able to provide these types of services, so please plan accordingly.

Now that we have touched upon the prerequisites for the program, I would like to expand upon some areas that have caused issues in the past and that proper planning would alleviate.

The swim test.  You will be required to perform a swim test – this is not a joke.  We have experienced many individuals that have not passed this part of the Instructor Trainer Workshop and had to come back to repeat.  There is no shame in admitting to yourself that you might need a little practice before the course.  Start swimming now so that you are ready for the test.  Our philosophy requires all professionals to perform this test as you should be able to do anything that you request of your students and/or professional candidates.

Preparing for the course ahead of time.  You will receive the pre-course study and a package from us that must be reviewed and completed before the start of the program.  Do not make the mistake of neglecting to read the materials and doing what is asked of you or waiting until the last minute to do so.  This pre-course study was designed to get you and the other candidates ready for the course.  Having to review what should have been done prior to the start of the course is not only unfortunate for you, but also for those that took the time to do what was asked of them.  Part of how we are able to get so much information across in a short period of time is everyone being familiar with the materials and not having to teach what you should have learned already.  Don’t be that person!

Demonstration of basic level skills.  We have had several technical and public safety  instructors have a great deal of problems with basic skill demonstration.  The IT program is taught primarily using basic open water skills for demonstration and presentations for logistical reasons only, but covers everything from technical to public safety.  It would behoove you to get in the pool and go back to basics with skill demos – you will thank me.

Again, this course will be something that you will carry with you during your professional scuba career and you want to make the most out of it.  The people that you meet during the Instructor Trainer program will be a great networking resource and many lifelong friendships are formed .  I encourage you to contact us if you have questions about these programs – we are ready to help.

If you are reading this article, then this program has crossed your mind and we applaud your desire to better the diving community by welcoming the next wave of diving professionals into our sport.

Safe Diving!

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