There comes a time in your diving life when you start thinking about taking things a step further and becoming a teacher, a mentor, a person who can open the doors to the underwater realm for others. This is also a time when you might wonder and ponder whether you are ready to take that leap and dive into a career as a scuba professional. What essential elements will help you enjoy and succeed in your IDC (Instructor Development Course) and be ready to teach on the other side?
1. Impeccable diving skills
The IDC will not teach you to dive or to improve your diving skills. Candidates are expected to arrive pretty much ready to go. You might be a little rusty so there is usually a session or two to brush up on everything and perfect that hover or CESA (Controlled Emergency Swimming Ascent) but overall you need to be up to standard when you start the course. If in doubt, watch some dive skill videos, practice with a dive pro, practice with a friend, practice on your own and perfect those skills!
2. Wanting to look out for others
Being an instructor involves taking ‘baby’ divers out into the wide wild ocean and ensuring they stay safe. To enjoy being an instructor, you have to like looking out for others and ‘holding their hand‘ as they take their first fin kicks in a completely new world. Patience, empathy and common sense are necessary qualities you’ll need. If you feel you might be lacking in these, take more time guiding certified divers or assisting scuba courses before you jump into your teaching career.
3. The desire to teach
Guiding divers and teaching diving are two distinct activities. When you teach, you spend a lot more time in the pool / confined water, more time explaining, and more time teaching and going over scuba skills. Yes, of course, you get to do incredible dives and, still, depending on what you’re teaching admiring clown anemone fish (Nemo) at 12m with a newbie on their open water diver course dive one or meeting a Molamola at 40m with a seasoned diver doing their deep dive speciality. Remember, however, that the personal investment in your divers will be greater than what it was when you were a dive master.
4. An understanding of dive theory
The IDC involves theory exams so you’ll need to brush up on that, especially if your Divemaster training is a bit of a foggy memory and you haven’t been regularly going over your Archimedes’ principle and Ear anatomy (as you do, you know!) If you do plan to do your instructor course, give yourself plenty of time to go over the PADI eLearning and brush up on your dive theory!
5. Some diving experience
Having the right amount of dives is not necessarily proof that you have the right amount of dive experience to become an instructor. How many dives were in challenging conditions? On how many were you in charge? How many did you plan and execute without a(nother) dive pro? How long ago were they? Spread over how many years and in different places?
You should be completely at ease in the water, have great buoyancy, be able to plan and guide a dive, assist others if needed and have some idea of how courses are conducted (as in having assisted courses, for instance). Ask yourself if you are already able to completely forget about yourself when diving so that you can completely concentrate on others before you jump in.
Remember the rewards for being a scuba diving instructor are amazing, people will always remember you as the person who taught them to dive. It's an incredible career that will bring a lot of job satisfaction!
Feel like you are ready? Get in touch!