How to Become a Scuba Diving Instructor

How to Become a Scuba Diving Instructor

Scuba diving instructors are awesome! They take brand new Scuba divers below the surface, teaching them how to breathe underwater, learn new skills and become excellent Scuba divers! 

With that being said, becoming a Scuba diving Instructor is not for everyone! You might be considering this career path because you love Scuba diving and want to teach it, have a passion for teaching or you are just generally interested in how to become a Scuba diving instructor! 

So how do you become a Scuba diving instructor? In this article, we will discuss:

  • What a Scuba diving Instructor is
  • Different Scuba Organisations
  • The PADI Instructor Development Course
  • The SSI Instructor

Let’s first have a look at what a Scuba Instructor is!

What is a Scuba Diving Instructor?

Scuba diving Instructors are very experienced Divers. Instructors can teach a variety of courses and qualify their students to be able to Scuba dive all over the world! That sounds like a cool job!

You cannot teach yourself how to Scuba dive, you must be taught by a qualified professional! Scuba diving Instructors must meet age, health, education and experience requirements, before going through precise training. 

Instructor training improves their Scuba diving knowledge and provides coaching on how to deliver the best courses while meeting high standards. One important tip for beginners is to always listen to your instructor! Instructors are very experienced and know their stuff! 

Students, having learnt these skills and received qualifications from their Instructor, can adventure the underwater world all across the globe!

Witness incredible marine life, wrecks, caves, cenotes and more! 

Millions of Scuba divers a year are enjoying the underwater world, thanks to the incredible Scuba diving Instructors globally! 

You might now be wondering, what standards do they have to meet? Who creates these rules? The answer to this question is Scuba diving organisations! There are many organisations, with Instructors which can teach specific courses while meeting their standards. 

Different SCUBA Organisations

Within Scuba Diving, there are many different organisations! SCUBA certifications are issued within each organisation, and memberships can be made for both recreational and technical Scuba diving! 

Some organisations are mainly Recreational Scuba diving, for example, PADI, SSI, BSAC and a very large amount more!! Trust me, there are loads! 

PADI, SSI and SDI are three of the most common and world recognised recreation Scuba diving organisations. All Scuba diving organisations reach certain standards, and you can complete your training with any that are in your area and accessible to you. 

If you are planning on creating a career path in Scuba diving, you should carefully consider which organisation you want to do your training with. At a recreational level, certifications are recognised between organisations.

However, at a professional level, you are only recognised as a professional by the organisation with which you completed your training!

In addition to recreational organisations, there are a large amount of Technical scuba diving organisations. These include PADI TecRec, TDI and RAID

Technical Scuba diving goes beyond the recreational limits, diving deeper and for longer! Certain qualifications are required to begin your technical Scuba diving course, which with additional training allows you to teach such courses yourself!

So, how do you become a Scuba diving instructor for one of the world recognised agencies? Let’s take a look at PADI first. 

PADI Instructor Development Course (IDC)

The PADI Instructor course is a two-part course. The first part is Assistant Instructor (AI) and the second part is Open Water Scuba Instructor (OWSI). Once completing this course, you can teach PADI Open water, Advanced Open water and certain other qualifications depending on which you have completed yourself. 

The IDC is a minimum of 5 days, coaching the next generation of Scuba diving instructors! Students learn how all PADI courses are taught and conducted, to ensure they can produce safe, engaging and awesome PADI courses! 

Divers’ organisation, speaking and demonstration skills are refined, allowing you to blossom into an excellent teacher! PADI Instructors spend many sessions in the pool, demonstrating certain skills and perfecting techniques!

How much does the IDC cost?

The price of the PADI IDC depends on the country in which you complete it! The IDC can cost anywhere from $1,100 to even above $3,000! 

Looking at PADI IDCs in America, a dive shop in Florida is offering an 8 day IDC package with an EFRI course for $2,240. However, this does not include the PADI fees, which are over $1,000 in Examination, IDC and EFRI course applications. 

In Indonesia on a beautiful Island called Gili Trawangan, Blue Marlin Dive is offering the PADI IDC for $1900! This price includes the IDC, EFRI and MSDT! MSDT is Master Scuba Diver Trainer, which takes your instructor certification to the next level, allowing you to teach all recreational courses! 

We asked Orca Diving Academy in the UK which is a leading PADI 5 Star IDC Scuba diving centre for the price of the IDC programme. They are offering the development from PADI Divemaster to PADI instructor for £2500/$3,300! This price includes the IDC, IE, all course material and PADI fees! 

As you can see, the price of the PADI IDC varies a lot between countries. Generally, the benefits also differ! When completing Scuba courses in tropical regions, you are more likely to be provided with accommodation plans, and food and equipment discounts! 

What are the Requirements for Becoming a PADI Instructor? 

Before learning how to teach Scuba diving to students, you need to become a master of your own skills! All divers entering the PADI IDC must be over 18 years old and a certified PADI Divemaster for at least 6 months. 

With a minimum of 60 logged dives, this requirement ensures you have had enough dives to not only refine your skills but encounter a wide variety of diving experiences to increase your knowledge and confidence. 

Getting out into the ocean is the best way to improve your skills. You can practice and refine them in the pool, but being out in the wild environment allows you to improve your fast reactions to situations, guide, plan dives and ensure safety throughout. 

The 60 dive minimum is to begin the course. If you have less than 60 dives, do not worry! 

If you are eager to get started, you can begin the first assistant Instructor part of the IDC. As you move through this stage of the course, you can build up your dives for the next part!

Another requirement is that you need at least 100 dives to attend an Instructor Examination! Therefore, if you begin the course with 60 dives, you need to complete another 40 dives before you can take the exam.

Emergency First Response Primary and Secondary Care are courses that are an absolute requirement and must have been completed within the last 24 months.

To become a PADI Instructor, you must become an Emergency First Response Primary and Secondary care Instructor, which can be completed before or during the Instructor training. 

These courses develop your first aid response, training each instructor to not only be able to handle emergencies while conducting PADI courses but be able to teach these internationally recognised skills to anyone! 

First aid response is crucial for Scuba diving in case an accident does occur. However, these skills are also beneficial to everyone, not just Scuba divers. Being able to medically assist someone in an emergency, can make a massive difference to everyone around you. 

Completing a professional course requires professional Insurance! Scuba divers generally need special travel insurance, to cover any hidden costs during an emergency that the average travel insurance does not cover! 

When becoming professional, so should your insurance! Your professional Scuba diving insurance will cover yourself and your students! 

The last PADI requirement for the IDC is a medical statement, signed by a physician within the last 12 months. A medical statement from a physician provides evidence that you do not have any medical conditions that prevent you from Scuba diving, you are fit and healthy enough to dive and take students on a new adventure!

SSI Instructor Training Course (ITC)

SSI is another example of one of the world recognised Scuba diving agencies. You can become an SSI Open Water Instructor, by completing the ITC. This includes academic sessions, pool/confined sessions and open water sessions. Once completing this course, SSI Instructors can start teaching new SSI Scuba divers, each Nitrox, Diver Stress & Rescue and train the next generation of Dive guides!

Dive shops all over the world conduct SSI Instructor training, led by an SSI Instructor Trainer! Completing this course can turn your passion into your career, opening the whole world as your office!

SSI is internationally recognised, allowing you to work in most countries around the globe! 

Open water Instructor training has a suggested duration of 72-85 hours, with a mixture of training sessions in the classroom, confined water and open water sessions. Taking this next step in a Scuba diving career is incredibly exciting and rewarding! 

Let’s have a look at how much you could expect this course to cost!

How much does it cost?

Just like anything else, the SSI Open Water Instructor course varies between countries! This course can cost between $2000-3000+, depending on where and what is included!

At Mojo Divers in Thailand, Koh Tao, the SSI ITC costs 75,000 baht/ $2,236! This price includes the ITC, Instructor Evaluation, all the course materials required, SSI fees and even the first year of SSI membership! At this shop, the course is 12 days, learning how to inspire the next generation of Scuba divers in both the classroom and out in the beautiful ocean.

In the UK, Dive Newquay is offering the Open Water Instructor course for £1580/$2058. This price includes a 7-day programme, IE fee, First-year renewals, all required materials and SSI support! 

SSI ITC at Tramuntana in Mallorca is on offer from around €2,600/$2859! This Instructor training is 13-15 days, ensuring you are provided with enough training and practice to inspire new divers by delivering a safe and fun adventure in the underwater world!

What are the minimum requirements? 

For the SSI ITC, there are similar requirements to the PADI IDC. The Instructor training student must be at least 18 years old, with first aid training, medical clearance and 75 open water dives.

SSI ITC Students are required to be a Divemaster or equivalent, to guarantee the required skills, knowledge and experience have been gained. Such knowledge and experience are required to pass on to students! 

Medical clearance from a doctor is required to ensure you are fit and healthy enough to complete this training. This can be done beforehand but must be no older than 1 year. 

First aid, CPR training and Oxygen administration should be completed before this course. Having the ability and certification to provide oxygen in an emergency, provides an added layer of protection in case an accident does occur and the diver requires emergency Oxygen and is taken to a Recompression chamber. 

A minimum of 75 Dives is slightly more than the PADI IDC, however, this can be seen as a benefit of the SSI ITC. Students enter this course with more diving experience, ready to convert their skills into teaching abilities! 

Just like the PADI IDC, the SSI ITC requires instructors to have diving insurance that covers both themselves and their students!

Don’t Forget Your Dive Insurance!

Before you go out on any dive trip or holiday, it is essential to make sure you have insurance that covers you if something goes wrong. Check out our dive insurance article for more information.

Or go straight to these dive insurance company websites:


Diver Alert Network (DAN)

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Final Thoughts

There are hundreds of diving organisations located all around the world. Many diving organisations have their own rules and standards for Instructor training. 

Within this article, we talked about the different organisations and went into more detail about the requirements and costs of the Instructor training of two internationally recognised agencies, PADI and SSI. 

Becoming a Scuba diving instructor is a great way to prove that your passion can be your job! Do you want the ocean to be your office?

What’s stopping you? Go for it!

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Bethany Nyquist

Bethany is a writer, an Environmental Scientist and Dive Master, exploring the underwater world. Practising Underwater Photography, Bethany aims to raise awareness for and help protect marine life.

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