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Best way to become an SSI OW instructor from PADI Rescue diver

Discussion in 'SSI: Scuba Schools International' started by Seta, Oct 4, 2020.

  1. rick00001967

    rick00001967 Tech Instructor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: canada
    Meesier42....obviously i agree with everything you said above. the only difference i would point out is that not all instr pay their own insurance. i am sure this varies, but for me personally at least, i am insured through the shops policy.
  2. meesier42

    meesier42 Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Kennewick, WA
    sure, but group policies exist for all agencies, that is a shop policy, not a agency policy
  3. meesier42

    meesier42 Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Kennewick, WA
    to respond to the OP. SSI, from Rescue your next class would be Dive Guide. If you already have Science of Diving, or once you complete it you will be recognized as a DiveMaster (DM is not a class on its own). There is both professional and a non-professional DM with SSI. If the LDS you work with wants to put you to work, they'll make sure you move into the professional cert with all the liability insurance and Dues payment covered. From there you are eligible to enter a ITC class. SSI no longer has a Dive Control Specialist (DCS). The ITC has a split that you earn AI at the half way point. At this point you are able to start working with Entry Level Students (including Open Water Students) which helps you as your ITC is more of a working internship with actual students under supervision of an Instructor learning the trade, vice a week long seminar with other instructors and instructor candidates that gives you little practical experience.

    I am not in the loop on the details of PADI anymore, but when I took DM it included both Science and Practical. I have been told those are also split in PADI, but I don't know the details. You must complete both prior to entering an ITC (SSI or PADI, etc...)
  4. meesier42

    meesier42 Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Kennewick, WA
    I see it as a big advantage. I don't have to maintain billing, I don't own the rental equipment or pay for the maintenance thereof, I don't have to pay for the air fills used for teaching, I have a shop to get things from when something unexpected breaks, I have the support of other instructors to help me learn new skills and better ways of doing things. I still teach the classes that I want, when, and where I want. Effectively everything I do is made better by having the support of the LDS and I try to encourage my clients to shop there too.
  5. tursiops

    tursiops Marine Scientist and Master Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: U.S. East Coast
    Yep, I instructed for a dive shop like that once, too. Then the shop changed hands.
  6. boulderjohn

    boulderjohn Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boulder, CO
    When the dive shop for which I originally worked switched to SSI, the SSI owner, Doug McNeese (who still runs it under Head), gave us a week-long marketing workshop in which a lot of the questions in this thread were answered in detail. Here is a quick summary.
    • Both NASDS and SSI were born in the early days of scuba. NASDS was originally a group dedicated to helping with gear sales, with the name National Association of Skin Diving Stores. When it decided that the best way to sell gear was through instruction, it changed stores to schools.
    • Doug McNeese owned (and still does, I believe) 4 NASDS scuba stores, one of them across the street from NASDS headquarters. Those stores were very successful because of (in his opinion) the marketing methods he used.
    • NASDS was not particularly successful, and McNeese bought it. He went to work across the street from his main store. He promoted his marketing techniques through the agency.
    • NASDS and SSI merged under the name SSI, with McNeese being one of the leaders. He bought out the others and became the sole leader of SSI. He transformed SSI into NASDS, using the same logos, etc.
    • The SSI marketing philosophy is promoted by McNeese, but it is not required. Shops can follow his suggestions to the degree they like. My shop adopted almost all of what he said, but I left at that time so did not participate. Here are a few of the key parts of it.
      • The shop identifies specific models of gear that will be the focus of sales for all personnel. These models provide the best markup to begin with, but my increasing sales of specific models, the vendor lowers the dealer price, further increasing the markups.
      • Retail workers advising customers on gear choices are to push them to buy the preferred models.
      • Instructors are to purchase and wear an "instructor uniform" consisting completely of the targeted models. They are to tell the students that they personally selected the items they use because they are the very best available. If they actually use different items in their own diving (as was the case for me), they could not tell the students that, even though the shop sold those items as well. My shop selected Aqualung Slingshot fins, Atomic regulators, Seaquest Balance BCDs, Suunto Cobra III computers, Atomic SS1 alternate air sources, and Henderson wetsuits for the instructor uniform. If I had stayed with the shop, I would have been required to purchase that gear (at a discount), wear it whenever I was in the presence of students, and tell them it was my personal choice.
      • The goal of all people in contact with students is to get the student to purchase a full set of gear before they finish instruction, preferably before they begin instruction, and a number of strategies were suggested to make that happen. A friend of mine was uncomfortable with those strategies and choose not to use them. As a result, few of his students purchased gear while they were students. As a result, he was let go as an instructor.
    ScubaBoard had a huge thread on a shop that used these philosophies to an extreme, resulting in one particular unhappy customer. I will summarize to the best of my memory. A woman who was considering OW scuba instruction came into the shop and asked some questions. The owner took her aside to a comfortable room where they discussed options over a couple glasses of wine. She decided to follow the owner's advice and purchase all he gear before the first class, with the understanding that she could return it if she changed her mind. She used the gear in the first pool session, and changed her mind immediately--scuba was not for her, and she wanted out. She tried to return the gear, but she was told that the gear could only be returned unused. Since she had used it in the first class, it could not be returned. That included the rebreather. Eventually, after much pressure generated by the ScubaBoard thread, the owner relented and took the gear back.
    wnissen likes this.
  7. ICatchBadGuys

    ICatchBadGuys Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: USA
    One thing to consider, since you are on the PADI track already, is to finish up your OWSI through PADI and then take the Crossover OWI training with SSI and be certified in both. You then have more options if going out on your own AND you open yourself to more employment opportunities if you decide to work for someone else. Just a thought. I'm on the SSI pro track now myself and intend to also get PADI OWSI certified as I will be looking for full-time work after I retire in a couple of years.
  8. boulderjohn

    boulderjohn Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boulder, CO
    One bit of advice if you are planning to become a pro--decide where you want to work and see what is available there in terms of hiring instructors.

    A few years ago, a new instructor started a thread in the Instructor-to-Instructor forum on ScubaBoard, bitterly complaining that he could not get hired as an instructor by any of the shops where he lived. How could he get the instructor experience he needed if no shop would even give him a chance?

    Someone asked about the agency that had certified him as an instructor. That agency (which I will not name here because it isn't the point) is a very small one with only a small handful of instructors in the world. He had gone through that agency because he felt they had a superior program. Who knows? Maybe they did. But no shop that is affiliated with a different agency or even multiple agencies is going to hire someone to teach classes they don't offer, so it did not matter how well he was trained.

    I would guess that instructor's decision was influenced by a prominent ScubaBoard poster who lauded the agency frequently. That prominent poster now teaches for a different agency himself.
    rick00001967 likes this.
  9. Seta

    Seta Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Castellon, Spain
    WOW, I was away for a couple of weeks and did not see all this great feedback; thank´s you all!!

    My main goal is maybe start a small diveshop in southeast Asia in the near future; and when I say small I mean it, maybe 4 divers max on some friends resort. I have no interest whatsoever in selling gear, I just want to live in a place I like and get enough money to go on.

    However the whole covid 19 situation may delay this so I would not mind getting the certifications here in Europe and work for a while as a freelance instructor. In this case seems PADI would be the way to go , both because I already took that path and and seems easier to jump from PADI to SSI than the other way round.

    As it seems we are going to expend the winter inside our homes I will have plenty of time to think about it...
    Bob DBF likes this.
  10. ChuckP

    ChuckP Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Cozumel
    I remember reading the tread when you started it and just now re read it. I'm suprised no one has really said it till you did. Continue on and become a PADI instructor - it is much easier to cross over to other agencies where as PADI will not allow you to simply cross over to them.

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