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Advice on where to go pro

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by Dragondiver1, Oct 29, 2020.

  1. Diving Dubai

    Diving Dubai Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Dubai UAE
    As a newly qualified DM I have my "moment"

    US lady, AoW certified in Hawaii 9 years previous with 50 dives needed Reactivate. Easy stuff just the basics, Reg mask and buoyancy skills. Everything went well until buoyancy and she couldn't do a basic 30 second hover. I tried all sorts of things, we spent 4 hours in the pool before "I gave up"

    I booked the lady in the next day with one of my CD's - she spent another 4 hrs with this lady before she passed.

    Ignore the ladies skill, I had a melt down in the dive centre at my inability to come up with other variations in order to communicate the principles. It really knocked me for six with self doubt especially as that time I was a tech diver with over 500 dives and 10 years experience.

    What I learnt was that it takes time to build your tool box of teaching skills, and its an experience that i pass onto new Instructor candidates. If students "get it" it's easy, once you get students that struggle - either with concepts or with confidence, well that's when you "earn your money"
  2. NothingClever

    NothingClever ScubaBoard Sponsor ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Red Sea and Atlantic Ocean

    I think your motivation is a precious resource.


    You’re very focused on becoming proficient at something and willing to make a significant commitment to get there.

    However, the world needs proficient divers more than it needs more instructors. There is no shortage of instructors. We are not on the cusp of a collapse in the industry because there aren’t enough instructors. Conversely, in the aggregate, there is a shortage of skilled divers.

    The pathway to becoming a proficient diver is much broader than your chosen horizon of becoming an instructor with only a very modest amount of dives under your belt.

    Just go dive.


    What if I were to tell you that what you’ve assumed is the right thing to focus on (before this whole thread emerged) was, in reality, off target and that perhaps there is a more noble direction to focus your energies?

    Let me give you a completely unrelated analogy.

    When you learned to drive a car, you wanted to become a better driver, right? You wanted to to learn to get where you’re intending to go, smoothly blend into traffic, adjust your speed and technique for weather conditions, learn about various car types that fit your needs or desires, learn about basic maintenance, perhaps minor modifications to your car, take trips, sometimes push the limits, learn from others’ accidents, etc, etc.

    With all that said, did you ever say to yourself “To be a great driver, I should become a driver’s education instructor.”?

    Probably not, right?

    So, what is making you think you should pursue MSDT with only a very modest dive count under your belt?

    I can’t predict your exact answer but I’ll bet that PADI’s marketing focus helped to get you where you are when you wrote this thread. My observation is that PADI wants to take new divers and convince them that the pathway to proficiency is by becoming an instructor.

    I think this model is very limited in its approach. To be pointed, this model is focused much more on PADI’s revenue stream and helping you achieve individual proficiency is really very secondary. Hence the comments about becoming a sausage factory. Put another dollar in, get another certification....all at the expense of real training. PADI needs volume which means turnover so they’re going to move you along quickly to the next course.

    That’s NOT to say that all PADI instructors are bad, not at all. There are PADI instructors out there that are very focused on training (rather than certification) but I don’t think they are the majority and I think they brought something else to the table (that PADI didn’t give them) to get them where they are.

    I suppose I was fortunate that I had a several decades of individual, team and organizational training experience in high risk environments before I started diving. I started with PADI and quickly realized the training wasn’t up to my own expectations of how to run a training course where there is some individual, team, equipment and environmental risk. Every way I looked at PADI the path towards progress was pointed at becoming an elite instructor. I’ve seen elite and PADI ain’t it. Their marketing of “joining the elite” was a real turn off when what I saw was crap instruction and “Five Star” flags in sub-standard dive shops.

    So, where is it that I recommend you point your energies and resources this winter? Like others have recommended, I would take the money you were going to spend on a bunch of courses and re-direct them towards just diving. That’s the goal this winter. “I’m going to ______ (insert tropical destination) where it’s warm and I can dive as frequently as possible and I’m going to become a proficient diver in a variety of conditions and equipment configurations.”

    Also, I would research various certifying agencies. In no particular order, take a look at RAID, SSI, GUE, SDI, SNSI, CMAS, BSAC...the list goes on. Call up instructors and talk with them about how they run their courses.

    I would select a few courses that are going to challenge you to the point you have to focus primarily on yourself to achieve or surpass clearly defined and communicated course standards. Courses that REALLY develop your individual dive skills. Playing Kindergarten teacher to a bunch of DSD folks on vacation doesn’t really develop your individual proficiency as a diver, IMO.

    Perhaps you can train in one location with one organization and then go to another location to train with another organization. I understand brand loyalty but I would discourage you from limiting your horizons.

    There is a much bigger world of diving out there than PADI would have you believe.

    I think @Diving Dubai makes some very cogent and relevant points and that you would benefit greatly from seriously considering his advice in your decisionmaking.

    Best of luck.
    sqbagal and Diving Dubai like this.
  3. fisheater

    fisheater Divemaster Candidate

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Sebastopol, CA
    I strongly believe that you should train where you dive. If you plan on moving to the tropics for life, then train there.
  4. Dragondiver1

    Dragondiver1 Barangay Pasaway

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Ottawa, Canada
    Thanks for the feedback folks. To add a little context, I recently retired from the army after 23 years in leadership rolls. I have extensive experience leading and training new and advanced soldiers alike. So I totally get where you guy are coming from, and for the most part, agree with you.

    I know what PADI is up to. They aren’t fooling anyone here. My motivation for becoming an instructor has absolutely nothing to do with PADI marketing material.

    The thing is: it really sucks being a soldier without a mission. Diving is great, but diving just because it’s fun won’t quite fill that void. Certainly not for long anyway. In my short tenure as a diver, I have already seen that many organizations and instructors are focussed more on certifications that they are with thorough training. That’s what motivates me to throw my hat in the ring. There is an opportunity to make a difference.

    My plan is to be somewhere warm for six months minimum. During that time I would like to complete as much of this training as is possible. It will be extremely challenging. Were it not, I’d lose interest fast. I don’t know if I’ll be able to pull it all off in that type of time period. Maybe I will turn out to be a very slow learner when it comes to diving. Whatever I can’t complete this winter I will simply do the following winter.

    What I really need to know now is where would the best place be to do such training. Who can provide the best training at a reasonable price? Not just looking for tics in the box.
    lowwall likes this.
  5. NothingClever

    NothingClever ScubaBoard Sponsor ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Red Sea and Atlantic Ocean
    You might think about every Canadian’s second home, Florida. You can do a wide variety of diving year round to broaden your skills. The volume of dive activities in Florida will give you a good cross-sampling of successful instructors and business practices (and some not-so-successful practices).

    “Who can provide the best training at a reasonable price?”

    Any answer you get will be very subjective and I think that’s one you’ll have to research broadly to determine your best ROI. The adage “You get what you pay for” comes to mind.
  6. lowwall

    lowwall Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Chicago
    Don't let the naysayers get you down. While there is a minimum level of diver skill and experience that an instructor needs to have*, the best instructors are first of all good teachers and second of all passionate about diving.

    To directly answer your question. Utila is the normal answer to the question of cheapest pro certification in the Western hemisphere. That's your baseline. You've received a few suggestions for other options, you'll have to price them out yourself. Over a 6 month period, local cost of living is probably going to matter more than tuition costs.

    *They are making a valid point that the 100 dive Zero to Hero instructor is unlikely to meet that minimum. You'll want to make sure you can dive to standards and get experience well beyond the typical warm water 100 ft rec diver before you start instructing.
    chillyinCanada likes this.
  7. NothingClever

    NothingClever ScubaBoard Sponsor ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Red Sea and Atlantic Ocean
    I don’t say nay...I say ni!
    JBFG likes this.
  8. Hoyden

    Hoyden ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Rockville, MD
    I would recommend Rainbow Reef in Key Largo, FL. I did my IDCS there (run in conjunction with one of their instructor training classes) and had a great experience. It is a pretty ideal set-up and close to a ton of great diving.
  9. Searcaigh

    Searcaigh Chromodoris gordonii Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Dubai, UAE
    Fancy a shrubbery ? :D
    NothingClever likes this.
  10. NothingClever

    NothingClever ScubaBoard Sponsor ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Red Sea and Atlantic Ocean
    One that looks nice....and not too expensive.
    Searcaigh likes this.

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