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Divemaster / Instructor income $

Discussion in 'New Divers and Those Considering Diving' started by fezaljab, Aug 15, 2010.

  1. fezaljab

    fezaljab Guest

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: South Korea
    I am 35 year old ESL teacher strongly considering becoming a Divemaster or Instructor. I only have my open water, but recall really enjoying the experience. I am living in South Korea currenltly and doing research into PADI courses in the Philippines, Thailand, Bali, and Honduras. I figure since I am over here, I might as well take a course on this side of the world. Part of me thinks it may be wiser to take the course where I would like to stay put for a while (Central America) Anyways, I digress.
    I am fully aware that people do not become a scuba instructor for the money. I just wonder how low the income is. I've read that the average yearly salary is $24,000. This sounds a bit rough. Are instructors able to afford their own apartments, travel expenses, savings, etc.?
    Any thoughts on where to take the plunge and start a scuba education or suggestions for easing my fears about money would be greatly appreciated. P.S. I am a certified massage therapist. Would that help at all while either training for divemaster or while working in the industry? Thank you.....
  2. Louie

    Louie Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives:
    Location: Vancouver (yet again but not for long)
    There really isn't a universal rule for dive professional and income. So many things depend on it.

    While in places such as N. America and Western Europe, instructors and DMs often work in diving as a supplementary income - almost a hobby for some - there are plenty of dive hubs in the developing world where people depend on the income for their livelihood. I've met instructors and DMs who support their entire families with their diving and take their work seriously - they don't do it for fun but are full-time professionals.

    Really, your earning potential as a dive pro would vary. It may be riding on things such as:
    • Experiences and skills you bring to your job (such as management, people skills, money skills)
    • Languages you can speak - this is especially the case in places such as SE Asia where the tourist traffic makes up the bulk of the business
    • Your ability and willingness to travel around, be flexible and adaptable

    So while I wouldn't count on a diving job to make you rich, don't get discouraged by those who say you should not get into the industry because there's no money in it. You make your own way in this field and there are no proven formulas for success.
  3. scoobydrew

    scoobydrew Master Instructor

    Hey there

    There is no real set wage at all but in total honesty you are not going to make a great deal working in a standard dive shop, in a good place in high season with tips you will probably make enough to pay rent food and a few beers.

    In central America like the other post says the liveaboards pay pretty good bearing in mind you dont spend money when on them but getting a break over there can be tricky especially if you are newly certified. The main things that help are languages of course Spanish or ideally other European ones and sadly sales skills. There are some cruise ship companies too which pay really well.

    I am actually based in Busan in South Korea and am a PADI instructor here, my last work was in Costa Rica in Central America for a year and a half pso have plenty of suggestions for you, if you are near enough to Busan and wanna catch up over a beer I'll happily give you as much information as you need. I have dived most of the caribbean coast as well as many other areas in the world.

    Other than that, remember that at first it is definately a lifestyle choice but can be a really good one, I recommend it if you can get some money behind you to help out initially. If it is something you are gonna do then don't be put off by people that knock it, because it is possible to make a living from diving but there are many that try that fail, I guess it kinda depends on how you look at the whole thing.

    If you wanna get in touch I have a facebook site that is seaworldbusan@rocketmail.com

    All the best

  4. yarik83

    yarik83 Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Florida
    I dont know about your dive masters but mine does the following:
    -always hitches a ride with someone else and never contributes to gas
    -always orders cheapest meal(s) and eats left overs (such as half sandwiches etc) from other people.
    -dive for free on a dive boat because of prior agreement with captain. By bringing in clients he gets to dive for free
    -he also stays free in his hotel room because of agreement where by bringing in clients he stays for free
    -he also lives 2 minutes away from work so commute is practically free
    -he charges people in such a way that he makes about 50 dollars from each of us when we go diving

    Now I dont know how much he makes but with all his scuba classes and all the cost savings I would think that even if he got 24000 per year it would be not as bad as if he was making same amount of money and working his tailbone off.

    I think that he makes about 40 grand a year. Maybe 60 during peaks in economy.
  5. Aquatic Eagle

    Aquatic Eagle Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Euless, TX
    What Louie said above is what I would tell you but to add to that, I find it hard to believe that the average annual salary is $24,000. Not by just being an instructor at least. Maybe if you're an instructor AND own a shop or something but not by just being an instructor unless you are extremely rare and lucky.
  6. RJP

    RJP Scuba Media & Publications

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: New Jersey
    Q: What's the difference between a scuba instructor and a large pizza?



    A: A large pizza can feed a family of four!

  7. ti325v

    ti325v Dive Shop

    # of Dives:
    Location: Con Dao Islands Vietnam. Owner of Dive ! Dive ! Di
    Fact is...it is a life style choice. I just saw on the PADI jobs board a couple who wanted a holiday for 2 months in S.E. Asia....would work as D.M.`s for free. I was outraged that the post was even allowed on the board.
    Padi alone pushes out 1,200 pros a MONTH..The average instructor lasts less then 2 years....Is it impossible to make money ? no..I know people working in red sea area clearing 1500 euros a month with housing and food thrown in. But they are working in factories not dive shops. I gave up a mid six figure income to follow a burning passion....You will need LANGUAGES and EXCEPTIONAL people skills to earn REAL money in this business. Most instructors I know cannot buy their own dive gear.


    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Sanur, Bali, Indonesia
    Hi fezaljab,

    I find it hard to believe that the average income for any PADI Professional would be $24,000! We do not do this work because we want to make a good income but because we simply love the activity. It does however make a difference how qualified as a diver you are, for example a newly certified OWSI may not have the greatest income as there are many others int he same position, looking for work. some people will work for free, just to dive. The higher up the ladder you get the more work you will get as you can teach more courses and gain more experience.

    In many areas the Instructors who make the most money are the guys who can sell.....if you sell it you teach it is generally the rule of thumb worldwide so if you can sell a lot you make a lot more!


    Diving Bali | Dive Courses Bali

    PADI AWARD WINNER 2010; Commitment to Instructor Development 2010
    Outstanding Dive Business 2010

    RU4SKUBA Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: West Coast
    Just take it one step at a time. Find a good instructor for AOW and discuss possibilities like Deep, Nitrox, or Drysuit certifications. Master your buoyancy control and learn the frog kick, and dive. Consult with your instructor about weaknesses you might have and become a sound diver.

    Next year do EFR and Rescue. Master the frog kick and prepare yourself mentally for huge expenses at the next couple levels. Keep diving.

    Year after consider Divemaster. Get yourself an Encyclopedia of Rec Diving and the Workbook and get busy. Master the dive tables, theory, physiology, physics sections, buy yourself a full set of gear. Develop demonstration-quality dive skills. Dive some more.

    If you can take the beating in fees, materials, equipment, diving expense, accommodations, travel costs, and insurance... then hook up with an IDC. Most importantly, keep diving.
  10. Cap335

    Cap335 Dive Shop

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Houston
    Other than the diving try to learn equipment repair, compressor repair and boat repairs with all of the new instructors looking for resort jobs you need other skills to stand out.

    Last edited: Aug 18, 2010

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