Imagine seeing up close coral reefs and the creatures that inhabit them, exploring uncharted ocean territory, and traveling along the ocean floor with your own fins to propel you. As a SCUBA instructor and dive leader you’ll teach vacationers how to properly use diving equipment to best experience all that the underwater world has to offer.
SCUBA instructors and dive leaders are in high demand at resorts all over the world. Diving has become a huge draw over the past decade, with vacationers seeking out new and more exotic dive sites. A certified SCUBA instructor should have no problem getting hired wherever they choose to work.
The first step in getting a job as a SCUBA instructor or dive leader is to learn to dive yourself. Once you have diving experience, there are several levels of instructor certification, ranging from dive master to course director and specialty instructor trainer. The Professional Association of Dive Instructors (PADI) and the National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI) are the two largest certifiers of SCUBA instructors worldwide. Other organizations, like SCUBA Schools International, the National Association of SCUBA Diving Schools, and the YMCA, also certify and train divers.
Getting certified as a dive leader first involves attaining the PADI Divemaster or NAUI Skin Diving Instructor rating. This includes advanced open water and rescue diver training, supervising diving activities, and assisting with student training. Candidates are also required to have logged 60 dives for PADI certification, and eight hours of underwater experience for NAUI.
The Instructor rating is the highest level of certification for both PADI and NAUI. This exam is what certifies you to teach other divers. Prerequisites to the exam include experience as a dive master or assistant instructor with a certain number of logged dives. PADI and NAIU both hold several exams each year all over the world.
You can take the exam as many times as you wish, but repeated attempts could be costly. The exam itself is intense, lasting up to a couple full days. One way to ensure a successful exam is to take an instructor development course, similar to taking a class to prepare for the GRE or SAT. Though expensive-between $1,000 and $1,500 a shot-the courses provide extensive review and thoroughly prepare applicants for the instructor course. The PADI exam is separate from the course, and costs $360. The NAUI exam is given at the end of the course, and its cost is included.
For more information on becoming a certified SCUBA dive instructor, contact one of the following:
1251 E Dyer Road, Suite 100
Santa Ana, CA 92705-5605
Fax (714) 540-2609
#3-10114 McDonald Park Road, RR#3
Sidney, BC V8L 3X9
Fax (604) 656-6221
P.O. Box 14650
Montclair, CA 91763
(800) 553-6284 or (909) 621-5801
Fax (901) 621-6405