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Becoming an Instructor

Discussion in 'SSI: Scuba Schools International' started by Arkman, Mar 1, 2011.

  1. Arkman

    Arkman Barracuda

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Moorhead MN
    I'm actually a PADI open water diver but the PADI shop in town isn't someone I'd like to support. There is another shop, an SSI shop. I've been diving out of that shop for the last year and I really like them. A really great group. Anyways...

    Ever since I was certified its been in the back of my mind that I'd like to become an instructor. Now, I have no intention of quiting my job and making this my full time job...although if I could, that would be awesome.:D

    My goal here is to share my love of diving with people, not make money. Maybe just support the habit a little.

    Now to the point. As you have probably already looked, I don't have very many dives under my weight belt, and I don't have any intention of going out and getting my instructor as soon as standards will allow, but I want to be conscious of my long term goal.

    I've been certified for about 8 years and have only logged a couple dives a year up until this year. Last year I tried to get in a few specialties and this spring I'm going to do my navigation and possibly my stress rescue if he's offering it. I can't decide what other specialties to take right now.

    I guess my question is...What should I be trying to do to make sure that I'm on the right track? Any advise? I just want to be a good instructor...when I get to that point.
  2. tstormdiver

    tstormdiver Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Kentucky
    The big thing is to just dive, dive, dive! That's great that you just don't want to do the minimums. Get in as much experience as you can in as many different environments as you can. Fresh water, salt water, currents, still water, warm water, cold water, clear water, murky water,.... you get the idea. Make yourself to be the most well- rounded diver you can. Talk the owner &/or head instructor at the SSI shop you like. Tell them what your goals are & ask how they might be able to help you to achieve those goals. They should be willing to point you in the right direction, but don't be affraid to ask, "why might I need this class for?"
  3. AndyNZ

    AndyNZ Instructor, Scuba

    What Tammy said. Just go diving heaps. And then some more.

    Once you've done a rescue course, offer to help out on another one. I quite often get ex-students to be victims during a course - it will give you an insight into how courses are run (and what it takes out of the instructor) that you don't quite get when you are an actual student. You can also sit through other courses now and again for the same reason.
  4. tstormdiver

    tstormdiver Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Kentucky
    That & it also so much darned fun playing the victim.:eyebrow::D
    mmintz likes this.
  5. bigdave1969

    bigdave1969 Divemaster Candidate

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Dadeville, Alabama, United States
    just dive ever chance you get.
  6. Peter Guy

    Peter Guy Divemaster

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Olympia, WA
    As Tammy and Andy wrote -- get experience -- and get experiences. Don't worry so much about what specialties you get -- worry about what training you get.

    Over and over again people write -- It is the instructor that matters -- well guess what, that is true. A Good instructor will give you great value on every class you take -- a not-so-good one perhaps won't. The best way to evaluate instructors is, unfortunately, to take classes from a lot of different ones and then see for yourself which ones actually provide the best value/information for you.

    Many years ago, when I first learned to ski, my instructor told me at the end of the class -- Go ski and when you reach a plateau, take a class (or lesson) to help you get over that plateau and then go ski some more. When you reach the next plateau.....

    This same advice is applicable to diving. With just a few dives a year, you just need to dive.
  7. mselenaous

    mselenaous Island girl ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Key Largo, FL... Dive Capital of the World
    Most excellent advise. Dive as much as possible, and not just in classes under instructors' guidance, but go exploring & practicing with a buddy. Dive with lots of different buddies too. Learning to "read" people underwater is one of the most valuable skills an instructor relies upon. Dive with folks whose skill level you want to emulate...watch them and learn. It also means watch "that guy" and don't be like "that guy". We can learn as much from watching a :dork2: about how to not be that :dork2:as we do from ideal models.

    Remember, the best instructors are the ones that keep it fresh and fun by always learning, challenging themselves, and improving their own skills. That thirst for knowledge and personal growth is infectious. Find someone like that to be your mentor and you will in time become a good instructor.

    Best of luck in your pursuits.
  8. Arkman

    Arkman Barracuda

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Moorhead MN
    Thanks everyone. Thanks kind of what I was thinking. Just get experience. Its been tough finding people that dive in my area. Thats why it took me so long to log dive at the beginning, nobody to go with. The shop I got certified from has some dive weekends but they cost money and when I was in college I couldn't afford them. I found the other shop in town now that does a lot more fun stuff just to get out and dive.

    Now the biggest problem is that we shoot weddings on the weekends during the summer. Finding a buddy that can dive after work is a bit tougher. This summer I'm going to make it happen. There is a much larger group of people that dive in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area but we don't make it down there too much to dive with them, because of the weddings.
  9. VGdiver

    VGdiver Dive Charter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Virgin Gorda, BVI
    Don't worry about how many dives you have! We all started with the same number - ZERO! As the other posters said, get out and dive. Freshwater/saltwater, cold-dark, warm-clear, whatever as long as you are getting the experience. I started out diving in Texas before moving to the Caribbean. It is a lot of fun and there are some great opportunities out there.

    My most important instructor qualification when looking at new staff: Be a good, positive person. I can teach you to drive boats, lead tours, service gear, etc. But if you show up with a great can-do attitude...you are going to have a lot of fun, make some great friends and learn more than you've ever dreamed of!

    Good luck!

  10. Sharkbait2005

    Sharkbait2005 Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Twin Cities, MN
    Arkman, I understand the timing thing also. Self employed, you work for the client on their schedule. You just need to figure out some time.
    You're a bit far away for me to join you during the week (TC area), but when there's a will there's a way.
    With SSI starting their dive guide/dive master program, that might be a way to see if the pro level is something you want to investigate into.
    I don't believe that there is any king of "crossover" to worry abut because of being certified with a different agency. That only has to be dealt with after having your pro level cert.
    And as everyone else has said, just try to log more; different places, different dives. Definately get your stress & rescue.

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