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5 pros and cons of becoming a diving instructor


diving instructor

Becoming a diving instructor is a big step to make. It will raise a lot of questions like: Where do I want to work? how much does it cost? how much does a diving instructor make? Is it only fun or are there also downsides and many more.

In this blog, I will try and help you answer these questions with the 5 Pros and Cons of Becoming a diving instructor. If you need more information on how to become a diving instructor after this blog, then you can personally contact me through my PADI IDC Course website.

Being able to travel and work in some of the most beautiful places around the world

This morning I woke up enjoying my coffee on my balcony watching over the breathtaking Seaview of Koh Tao. I got on my KLX bike and drove 5 minutes to my work to the beach where the Sairee Cottage Diving is located. After enjoying some breakfast on the beach it was time to meet my students to start teaching them scuba diving.

I don’t know about you, but I believe this is a pretty good start to a working day, and it is all possible because I became a diving instructor. As a diving instructor, you are able to work in most places around the world, from Alaska to Europe, the Caribbean, the middle east, and all the beautiful Islands of Asia are now open for you to work and live a life most other people dream off.

Living conditions in some of these places are not only fantastic, like nice weather, always happy people, amazing diving locations but also because the cost of living is usually lower compared to most countries where we are from. This not only improves your way of life but can significantly increase your monthly income.

Learn more about a dive instructor salary.

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Imagine waking up to this scenery every day

These beautiful and far locations are not always perfect

As amazing it sounds to work in these beautiful countries, full of culture, nature, and some of the most pristine dive sites, it can also cause unforeseen problems that can affect your work and income as a diving instructor.

For example, you might get the perfect diving instructor job with this amazing dive shop on one of the most beautiful tropical Islands in the world. After a few months working you notice a tremble while having lunch and suddenly the Island volcano became active. This caused gases to be released from the volcano, grounding air traffic for a few months and you just realized that without tourism coming to the island you won’t have any work as a diving instructor. A few weeks might not be a problem, but months of no income are. 

Other con’s of working in these locations might be political unrest, no easy access to medical care, and other reasons. For most diving instructors this is not something that stops them from working there and teaching scuba diving, but others might now quit the dive industry.

There are so many places in the world to work as a diving instructor, so I recommend doing your research before committing to a diving instructor course or job. Check first if you would like to work there, write down the pro and cons of that location, and then decide to go, work and live there.

Learn more about becoming a diving instructor!

Getting paid for what you love

Most of us will have to work for a living and we spend most of our time doing this. I have always said that it is important to do a job that you love, not only to make an income but to enjoy doing it. Lots of people around the world do have a job, but they don’t love it. They are doing the same thing day in day out.

But can you imagine being a professional sports athlete in your favorite sports or going to space as an astronaut? These jobs pay you a salary, you do what you like so what is stopping you? Well becoming a professional athlete or astronaut is hard to do, it takes years of training, studying and there are not many places available. However becoming a diving instructor is relatively easy, only takes a few months, it’s affordable and you can not get paid for doing what you love: Scuba Diving!

Diving instructor sales can be low in certain areas

The downside in some causes of a diving instructor income is that in some locations, dive shops, and liveaboards the diving instructor salary can be low. This is definitely a problem in the dive industry, where not all dive shops pay their diving instructors fairly. You might already learn about this on social media.

As much as I know this is true, it is not all gloom and doom. It really depends on the location where you want to work or the dive shop's owner. I for example made between 1500 to 3000 USD dollars in my first 2 years as I was paid fairly, received a steady stream of open water diver students, had an average 80% continuo education ratio and most of my students bought some scuba equipment when I taught them. My diving instructor salary only went up after that and it made me able to invest it in my PADI Course Director course.So the reason why some diving instructors do not always make a high salary is not always the location or dive shop, it also depends on their qualities, attitudes, customer service, and teaching skills.

In my case, I had a combination of working on Koh Tao the highest certifying Island in the world, working for an amazing dive shop and management, and on top of working hard, seeing this diving instructor job as a career. I never had any issue with a low diving instructor salary. On top of this please don’t forget that living costs can also be very low in some locations. So even with a low salary you still have good money at the end of the month as you have less cost to live there.

If you love what you do you never have to work a day in your life

Like I mentioned already doing what you love is worth sometimes way more than just an income. I remembered working other jobs where the clock never moved and my days were never-ending. Long travel times to work didn’t make it easier. As a diving instructor, I never felt that I was working, I just loved teaching people scuba diving and enjoy some of the best working locations with pristine reefs and lots of fish surrounding me all the time. I never ever looked at the time as a diving instructor.

However please don’t forget that it is still a job. Besides teaching and diving which is the fun part, you still need to work hard, sometimes early morning and long days preparing for your day and finishing properly in the end. Most likely you also need to fill tanks, carry them, wash and take care of the equipment and help in the marketing and sales that a dive shop needs to stay successful. These are not always fun, but in my mind a lot better than most other jobs in the world.

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You might work long days, but with sunsets like this to round out the day, who cares?

Meeting people from all over the world as a diving instructor

One of the best parts of becoming a diving instructor for me was meeting people from all over the world. You get to experience different cultures and they share their life stories with you during the scuba diving courses. This made me learn so much about the world without even traveling there.

The downside sometimes is the language barrier. If you only speak 1 or 2 languages then it is sometimes hard to teach them or get more work as a diving instructor. Some people say that if you don’t speak a lot of l languages you don’t stand a chance as a diving instructor, but I disagree. With the right attitude, you are much more employable than only knowing multiple languages. You first need to exhale in a great attitude, be passionate, have lots of patience, and fantastic customer service. Then you will be successful as a diving instructor even if you only speak 1 or 2 languages. But if you have all those attributes, plus extra languages, it will help you even more in becoming a successful diving instructor.

Teaching your passion to others

This is by far the best con in becoming a diving instructor! When I ask any of my PADI IDC Course students why they want to become a diving instructor, I always get the same answer: “I am so passionate about scuba diving and I now want to teach that to others”Imagine the look on your Open Water Diver students when you taught them how to control their buoyancy better or when they enjoy aquatic life so much more because you just taught them where to find them, how to interact and some knowledge about the species. Lots of people are scared to go scuba diving and because of your amazing scuba diving teaching skills, they now conquer their fears and enjoy the underwater realm for the rest of their lives. This is a feeling that is hard the describe and for most diving instructors the best feeling in the world.

So what is a downside or con to this? Well… Uhmm… actually I can’t think of any! Teaching your passion to others is amazing and the best part is that someone is actually paying you for this!

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Teaching people to dive is one of the most-rewarding things you can do


Becoming a diving instructor might be the best choice you will ever make and I for sure have never regretted it. I hope that this blog helped you to make a decision if you would like to become a diving instructor, but please feel free to visit my website and contact me so I can more questions you might have personally. I also have a YouTube channel with lots of information about becoming a diving instructor so please check it out and you can SUBSCRIBE here:

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Mark Evans
Mark Evans
Scuba Diver's Editorial Director Mark Evans has been in the diving industry for nearly 25 years, and has been diving since he was just 12 years old. nearly 40-odd years later and he is still addicted to the underwater world.
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