Travel and Work Abroad as a Scuba Diving Instructor

by | Jan 25, 2023 | Live Work Play Travel, Work Abroad Backpacker Jobs | 0 comments

If you have a passion for being in the underwater world then why not make it your profession and become a scuba diving instructor. Hmmmm…..your mind is now ticking over! You hadn’t thought of turning a passion into a profession before? Well many have and you could too. Here is how to become and work as a scuba diving instructor and travel the world teaching others how to transform their life underwater.

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The Pros and Cons of Being a Scuba Diving Instructor


Before you become a scuba diving instructor you may want to know is it worth your while first. At the moment, you may just want to dive in some of the best dive spots around the world! Right? 

The biggest advantages to taking the next step and becoming a qualified scuba diving instructor would be that you can work and travel the world, train people in your diving passion and be paid for it. Also, having scuba diving certification means you could get work that involves scuba diving, not just teaching others to scuba dive.


The Pros of Being a Dive Instructor


  • You get to scuba dive around the world.
  • You get paid to work and travel abroad. In some of the best dive spots in the world.
  • Turn your passion for scuba diving into a career.
  • Meet many people.
  • Discover the culture of the country you are living in.


The Cons of Being a Dive Instructor


  • You will be living away from home.
  • Some say the industry isn’t very professional with poorly maintained dive gear.
  • It is a physically demanding job.
  • You are responsible for the safety of your students.
  • You may just want to dive great dive spots around the world as a scuba diver rather than having the responsibility that comes with a scuba diving instructor job.
  • Work hours can be very long and salaries aren’t always the best.
  • Jobs are mostly tourism based and can be seasonal.


Types of Scuba Diving Jobs besides Instructing


Teaching scuba diving is one of the more accessible entry-level positions if you are seeking to make a living in underwater scuba diving. You could work for a dive shop, on an island resort taking people out diving or even on a superyacht! However, with a scuba diving qualification you can get different jobs around the world including:


  • Underwater Photographer – If you are a keen photographer, add these skills to your diving and sell your photography around the world. You will need underwater photography equipment.
  • Public Safety Diver – the name changes for different parts of the world. Basically, public safety diving refers to the underwater work carried out by authorities such as search and rescue teams or police.
  • Scientific Diver – someone who works for a marine organisation to research underwater environments to collect information on marine environments. 
  • Dive Centre Manger – If you don’t want to dive all the time, get a job in a dive centre or shop and oversee the training of dive courses and dive excursions.
  • Underwater stunt person – Movie and TV show makers seek divers to coordinate underwater stunts. You could use your diving abilities to ensure diving stunts are safe. And you could be on screen as a body double!
  • Commercial Diver – commercial divers are paid to carry out construction, inspection or exploration tasks for oil, gas, construction, engineering or shipping companies. So you could work offshore in the oil and gas industry or inland in lakes, rivers and harbours working on bridges and dams.


However, this post is about becoming a scuba diving instructor to teach others to scuba dive rather than the type of scuba diving jobs available. I’ve only mentioned the above to advise you what you could do with a scuba diving qualification. Note: these jobs usually require you to have further qualifications in the field of work.


What About Visas for Scuba Diving Instructors?


Having a scuba diving instructor qualification will mean you can teach other’s to dive anywhere in the world. Many positions are tourism related, so where it is popular to dive, is where people like to get their qualification to dive. Not all dive organisations will provide a visa to sponsor you to work for them, however, some do. 


How Much Can You Earn as a Scuba Diving Instructor


How much you can earn as a scuba diving instructor will depend on the employer and where you are in your journey. When starting out, you are going to be at the bottom for a while and maybe competing with others. Put in a little extra leg work with more training and qualifications and you will work your way up the ladder. But how much can you make you ask? Well, how long is a piece of string! It will depend on what part of the world you are in. For instance, in Hawaii, an experienced diving instructor could be on around US$25,000. Depending on where the job is, you may have accommodation included. Many instructors work on a casual basis, as tourism is often seasonal so you could be paid hourly and only work a few hours a day or a few days per week. Some may only pay you for face-to-face time with clients. Know what is on offer before accepting.


Work and Travel Abroad as a Scuba Diving Instructor under the sea with tropical fish all around.
People scuba diving instructors under the sea with beautiful orange coloured fish.

Choose the Diving Organisation to Gain Your Scuba Diving Instructor Qualification


There are a few organisations to gain a qualification. The top three are:

  • PADI – Professional Association of Diving Instructors
  • SSI – Scuba Schools International
  • NAUI – National Association of Underwater Instructors

There are other organisations as well, but out of all of them, PADI is the most recognised around the world.


Steps to Become a Scuba Diving Instructor


The steps to become a scuba diving instructor are consistent no matter who you choose to get your qualification with. Here are the main steps:


Step One: Meet the IDC (Instructor Development Course) Prerequisites


To start your dive instructor training you must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a certified diver for at least six months
  • Hold a divemaster certification (or qualifying certification)
  • Have at least 60 logged dives (100 logged dives will be required to receive your instructor credentials)
  • Hold a current CPR and First Aid certification and maybe Emergency First Response certification
  • Have an in-date medical approval to scuba dive

Note: To have your divemaster certification you will have the following recreational scuba diving certificates:
Scuba Diver – this initial certification allows you to dive to maximum depth of 12m / 40 feet.
Open Water Diver – allows you to dive independently
Advanced Open Water Diver – allows you to dive deeper – 30m / 100 feet.
Rescue Diver – this helps you be a much safer diver.
Master Scuba Diver – this is the highest recreational scuba diving certification level and can dive deep, or do night and wreck diving. With this, you then meet a prerequisite of gaining your professional scuba diving instructor qualification.


Step Two: complete the IDC


By the time you begin the IDC, you will already have great diving skills so the IDC is usually spent in the classroom covering:

  • How to give classroom presentations
  • How to work with students in confined water (a pool or pool-like environment) and open water
  • Risk management
  • How to market yourself as an Instructor


Step Three: Pass the Instructor Exam


After completing the IDC, you will be eligible to take the Instructor Exam. As long as you pass that, voila, qualified as a scuba diving instructor.


How to Find Scuba Dive Instructor Job


Once you having your dive instructor qualification you could get a job as one. Check out:

  • Job boards such as the PADI Job Board – only available if you get your qualification through them.
  • Divezone – a website about diving around the world has job board.
  • Facebook pages such as Dive Jobs Worldwide

Places to Work Abroad as a Scuba Diver


Wherever there is water, there is the possibility to scuba dive. Popular places to work abroad as a scuba diver include in the countries of Thailand, Maldives, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Hawaii, Pacific Islands and Mexico to name a few.


Are you ready to dive in to becoming a scuba diving instructor?


There are a lot of certificates to gain before becoming a fully qualified scuba diving instructor. If you love scuba diving you will probably enjoy every moment of what you learn on your journey to being able to work and travel abroad as a scuba diver instructor.


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