Updated: Nov 7, 2022
During the pandemic, many diving instructors had to turn to other jobs to make a living and were pleasantly surprised to see that they had actually amassed a wealth of transferable skills that made them attractive on the job market. So what are all these great skills that you can add to your CV when you have worked as a scuba diving instructor?
1) People skills
Undoubtedly, the most important quality needed to be a good scuba instructor is good human contact and that is useful in many jobs, even in an office job for teamwork, etc.
A successful scuba instructor has shown the ability to be welcoming, engaging, and reassuring with diving guests and students as well as be a good team player when working with a diverse group of international colleagues. As a dive instructor, you need to be able to convey information clearly, make small talk, and make people feel at ease and relaxed as well as cooperate with all sorts of people; these are essential skills that you can fall back on in any work environment.
2) Talent for sales
The ability to be a convincing salesperson is an essential quality in diving; after all, the more courses and dives you sell, the better your earnings in most dive centres. Scuba pros are often good at up-selling to guests: they came in for an open water course, why not do an advanced open water course too; They came in for a discover scuba diving experience, why not jump in and do the whole course... Being honest, convincing, and trustworthy in your ability to sell diving can be applied to anything you sell.
3) Dealing with stress
As a dive professional you will find you will have to deal with people who are worried or unsure in diving situations, your job is to appease them and help them enjoy themselves and supersede their fear or stress. For this, you need to be empathetic and have good psychological skills to find the best way to reassure and help. If taking people scuba diving in Nusa Penida in strong currents for example, you may want to explain that the current is their friend and will help them drift effortlessly, as a way to make them feel more comfortable in this new environment.
Dive gear breaks, gets forgotten, gets misplaced; sea conditions change; divers get sick, change their minds, don't turn up; as the person dealing with all of this, you need to be ready to change plans, fix things, make decisions and find solutions. Planning ahead, being prepared for the unexpected, thinking outside the box, and, generally, problem-solving are essential skills any scuba instructor needs which will come in handy in any job. Pop that down on your CV!
5) Time management
Part of diving is sticking to deadlines and small time windows. For instance, if diving in Nusa Penida, you'll need to stick to your schedule or you'll miss the tides and some dive sites won't have the right conditions to be dived. When teaching a course, you'll also need to respect a timeline to be able to complete all the parts of the course, whilst sticking to the boat schedule. Good time management is an essential skill in any job, if you end up going for interviews for non-diving jobs, you can still use examples of achievements from your diving career.
Open Water scuba instructors (and above) are teachers first and foremost. The pedagogy behind being a good teacher can be transferred to anything you want to teach. The PADI system ( but others as well) certainly helps to train teachers to tailor their input to student profiles, encourage them and help them to master their subject and enjoy the process of learning. You can apply the same approach to any other subject you want to teach and you can be sure that it will make you a better, if not, a great teacher.
Skills for life!
The conclusion to all this is that working as a professional instructor will give you a number of honed qualities that employers will value in other areas of work. If you decide to change paths and want to re-enter the workplace in a completely different field or if you are thinking of starting a career but don't want to be 'stuck' there, think of the challenges faced and skills gained from your scuba diving career as selling points for other employment. Scuba instructors are humane, versatile, problem-solving individuals who will be a credit to any company, don't forget that!