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Considering Switching to SDI/TDI from PADI

Discussion in 'SDI/TDI/ERDI' started by Riles2226, Mar 28, 2020.

  1. Riles2226

    Riles2226 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Tucson, AZ
    34
    13
    8
    Hello,

    I'll start by saying I'm not trying to disparage any agency, inflame anyone or anything like that. These are honest questions from an instructor that is trying to be thoroughly thoughtful.

    For reference, I am a PADI IDCS, PADI Tec Instructor and PADI Full Trimix Diver. I am also an inactive SDI/TDI instructor. To help complete the circuit, my OW was with SSI. :)

    Right now, I actively teach the PADI system but am considering reactivating with SDI/TDI and making it the primary system I teach while probably keeping current with PADI to maintain the marketability of the PADI rating. The major drivers for this are the reduced student costs under SDI and the increased flexibility I'd have as an instructor. I would like your counsel.

    In many ways, I really like the PADI system. The structure of the system, while sometimes constraining, is nice to have both for instructional quality and for liability protection. (I wasn't just told that by PADI, I've heard it from a number of others and have come to believe it myself.) The other part is that, while PADI's student materials have this and that quirk, overall, I think they are top notch. I was especially impressed at the quality of the materials as I went through my Trimix course...I expected them to be weak on the Tec side. While they were late to the Tec game, I'm very impressed with the quality of their courses.

    Several years ago, I did a crossover to SDI/TDI to learn another way of doing things. I really enjoyed seeing diving instruction from a different perspective but, ultimately, decided to stick with PADI for a two main reasons: The first thing I noticed was how loose many of the SDI/TDI standards were...especially compared to PADI. While things like being able to move skills around between dives in courses creates minimal risk, other things, like how loose SDI is about accepting a referral from another agency, seem really loose. My major concern here is that these looser standards, while they give me more freedom as an instructor, also expose me to more liability as I'm having to make more judgement calls that could all be called into question.

    The other thing was the quality of the student materials. I haven't seen much of the SDI side of materials yet but, on the TDI side, I went through AN/DP and Sidemount and found the materials to fall short of what I've seen from a number of other agencies. As an instructor, I think I can make this up with supplemental reading and classroom training...in many ways, I like having that opportunity. My concern, however, goes back to the liability thing. Am I opened up to more liability because more falls on me to teach directly because it isn't as well laid out in the materials? It seems like it would be much easier for a student to claim that you didn't teach them something they needed if that thing wasn't in their materials or wasn't clear in their materials.

    On the plus side for SDI, the costs are much lower than many of PADI's and they seem to do a lot to empower the professional to use their own discretion. Their eLearning platform seems pretty solid and powerful as well.

    So, what are your thoughts? Pros and cons of PADI vs SDI/TDI? Am I making a mountain out of a molehill or is there something here that I should be concerned with/way of?

    Again, I'll reiterate...I have no desire to trash PADI, SDI, TDI or any other agency...this is not about that. This is about giving my honest insight and seeking the insight of others. I'm pretty sure this forum will mostly be SDI/TDI people and that is largely why I came here...I want to know why you teach through them, how you have resolved some of these concerns and what additional concerns you may or may not have.

    Thank you in advance for your counsel and insight!
     
    Protondecay123 likes this.
  2. Scott

    Scott ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
    2,460
    791
    113
    Mountain out of a molehill.
    I taught PADI courses for 30+ years, still active with them, SSI for a year, years ago, and crossed over to SDI/TDI a few of years ago. The pros and cons you mentioned about both agencies are the pros and cons.
    Do I feel I have more liability with SDI/TDI? No. Honestly I feel the have my back.
    Does SDI/TDI need better/updated materials? Sure, but in the grand scheme of things they are still small and young. You should have seen PADI's and SSI's materials 15, 20 or 30 years ago.
     
    RainPilot and OceanEyes like this.
  3. Protondecay123

    Protondecay123 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Apex of Moronia
    451
    312
    63
    I know two or three Instructors that have taken that exact path for the same reasons. SSI seems to be another common path for those with that own/part own a dive shop. I've done online portions with both PADI SDI/TDI and the fees for the students for similar content ( if not better content on SDI/TDI's part IMHO) is much less with SDI as well. Though somewhat apples to oranges as I did OW AOW Rescue PADI and ITT, ANP/DP with TDI.
     
    Riles2226 likes this.
  4. Superlyte27

    Superlyte27 Cave Instructor

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Florida
    3,875
    2,943
    113
    Just do it. I switched to sdi/TDI and couldn't be happier
     
    RainPilot and Riles2226 like this.
  5. michael-fisch

    michael-fisch ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Finally Lake City FL
    1,096
    795
    113
    Only disadvantage that I see with TDI/SDI is if your relationship with the only TDI/SDI shop in the area sours, you'll be unemployed.
    Independent instuctors aren't forseen in their system.

    Michael
     
  6. Superlyte27

    Superlyte27 Cave Instructor

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Florida
    3,875
    2,943
    113
    Sdi/TDI has no issue at all with independent instructors
     
  7. michael-fisch

    michael-fisch ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Finally Lake City FL
    1,096
    795
    113
    I was under the impression that certifications had to be issued through the TDI/SDI diveshop.

    Michael
     
  8. decompression

    decompression Instructor...seriously...

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Victoria, BC, Canada
    4,096
    1,622
    113
    More depends on you, your shop or lack there of. If I was 100% independent then I’d choose UTD but I still have to pay the bills so I maintain PADI/SDI/TDI.
     
  9. Superlyte27

    Superlyte27 Cave Instructor

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Florida
    3,875
    2,943
    113
    Nope, not true at all.
     
  10. Riles2226

    Riles2226 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Tucson, AZ
    34
    13
    8
    Jay, curious on the PADI/SDI/TDI part, what are your thoughts on the different agencies? I've been digging more into the SDI standards and they seem VERY loose, especially compared to PADI. Do you find that to be true? Do you see that as opening you up to more liability? Other thoughts of teaching one vs the other?

    Of note, I'll probably maintain my PADI certification for the foreseeable future just because they have the popularity tied to them.
     

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