How to become a Scuba Instructor

How to become a Scuba Instructor


You can go from non-diver to PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor in as little as six(6) months!


Have you ever wondered about how to become a scuba instructor? Maybe you’re already a scuba diver and want to make a scuba a career.  Maybe you’ve just been in the tropics and seen how awesome a scuba instructor’s job is.   Let’s take a look at how to become a scuba instructor.

Fish seen at Catalina Island whilst working as a scuba instructor

Becoming a scuba instructor lets you share nature’s treasures with new divers.

Starting as a non-diver (or not a certified diver):

  • Complete the PADI Open Water Diver course (or equivalent)
    • Learn and practice basic diving skills to allow you to scuba dive safely with a buddy
  • Complete the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver Course (or equivalent)
    • Advance your skills by exploring specialty areas of diving.  Learn what divers do for fun.   Navigation and Deep dives are core to this program, but you have a choice regarding three more adventure dives (fish identification, underwater photography, and altitude diving to name a few).
  • Complete the PADI Rescue Diver course (or equivalent)
    • Learn how to prevent and respond to problems.   You’ll practice several rescue skills and put it all together in some rescue scenarios.  Often cited as one of the more challenging programs, but always cited as one of the best.
  • Complete the PADI Divemaster Course (or equivalent)
    • The first step on the professional ladder.   Learn how to manage groups of divers, how to assist a scuba instructor teaching new divers and fine tune your scuba diving skills to demonstration quality. You need to have logged at least 40 dives to start this course and have at least 60 logged dives to complete the course.
  • Complete the PADI Instructor Development Course
    • The scuba diving industry’s most complete and demanding scuba instructor course.   You’ll again practice your diving skills and fine tune them so you can teach new divers.
    • You’ll learn how people learn and you’ll practice teaching in the classroom, pool and open water.
    • You’ll demonstrate your understanding of the PADI system of diver education by taking a written exam
    • You’ll demonstrate your understanding of dive theory (physics, physiology, equipment. dive planning, and dive skills and the environment) by taking a set of written exams.
    • You’ll be introduced to PADI’s core diver certification programs: Open Water Diver, Advanced Open Water Diver/Adventure Diver, Rescue Diver and Divemaster.   All of the courses you can teach as a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor.
    • You’ll participate in several workshops and discussions to give you a good background on the scuba diving industry and all of the players: Education (you as a new instructor), Equipment (toys we have to have to dive safely), Experience (the cool places we travel to) and Environment (we need to protect the place we work in).
    • You need to have been a certified diver for at least 6 months and have at least 60 logged dives to start the program. 100 logged dives to attend the IE.
    • Now, you’re ready to attend the PADI Instructor Examination (IE)
  • Complete the PADI IE
    • One of the ways PADI ensures that new instructors are ready to teach is to conduct an Instructor Examination.   This is an objective, 2-day evaluation of your knowledge and skills.  Passing the PADI Instructor Examination is a very cool thing: you know you meet the same requirements as a scuba instructor in Denmark, Honduras, Moscow or Utah.
    • Just like the PADI Instructor Development Course, you’ll demonstrate your knowledge with written exams.
    • You’ll demonstrate your ability to teach by giving a presentation in a classroom, teach a skill in the pool and conduct an open water training dive.
    • You’ll also demonstrate that you can demonstrate your diving skills as well as demonstrate your rescue ability.
    • Woohoo!!!  Now, you’re a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor.   Time to get to work.

As a new PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor, 70% of the planet is now your office.  Do you want to teach in the Pacific Northwest, with cooler water and awesome aquatic life?  Or perhaps teaching scuba in the Bay Islands of Honduras in warm water?   Or, you can live the dream of traveling the world as a scuba instructor.    Just like skiing and ski seasons, scuba can be seasonal in many areas.   You could teach for three months in Honduras, three in Fiji, three in Australia and then teach back in the States for a few months.   Just as learning to dive as an Open Water diver opens up a lifetime of adventure, becoming a scuba instructor opens the world as your new office.   Now, get out there and network with your new office mates.

Life of a scuba instructor: School of fish in Roatan, HN while teaching a scuba class

Your new office as a Scuba Instructor.

Learn more about the preparation, costs and materials you’ll need for the PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor Development Course.