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Dream Location To Teach?

Discussion in 'Thinking of a Diving Career?' started by Madmanmike, Apr 19, 2016.

  1. Madmanmike

    Madmanmike Registered

    31
    0
    Good day, all,

    My name is Michael. I got interested in diving back in 2004(ish). I was working in Key Largo and got certified with PADI as OW. Things kinda snowballed and I wound up getting my DM cert with both PADI and NAUI. I took the plunge and moved to Thailand. I went to Phuket and spent some time with Dive Asia and got my Instructor cert. I spent the nest 2 years moving around south Thailand teaching, eventually getting my MSDT with PADI.

    In early 2007, real life intruded and I had to return to the US. I was working in Las Vegas, where the only real diving was in Lake Mead. Ummm. No thank you. So my instructor cert lapsed.

    I am back in the Florida Keys now, and just received my new Divemaster certification with SDI. I am interested in continuing on and getting my Instructor Certification back and am exploring my options. I am considering a return to Thailand, but would like some other ideas/opinions.

    Firstly, I would like your honest opinions on the realistic possibilities of a 55 year old American being able to support himself by teaching diving in Thailand, or anywhere else in the world, at the present time.

    All my diving has been in Key Largo and Thailand. There are so many great places to dive. Just looking for ideas.

    Constraints:

    Location must be US friendly as far as being able to get a work permit/Visa/etc.

    Gotta be warm. Not interested in dry suit diving.

    Open to land based, live aboard, whatever.

    Must offer IDC/IE program, and accept SDI DM certification as adequate prereq for course.

    Probably other requirements I haven't yet considered.

    I am single and ready to make the move. Where would YOU go?

    Thanks,
    Michael

    tl;dr If you could go teach anywhere, where would you go?
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2016
  2. Crowley

    Crowley Master Instructor

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Planet Crowley
    1,832
    451
    And good day to you, sir!

    Firstly - it's not completely unrealistic. When I was in Thailand an bunch of the guys who trained me - and whom I subsequently worked with, were, and still are, teaching well into their 60s. BUT - mostly they were there on some form of retirement visa and supported themselves mostly through their pension funds (some were ex-military, for example), and taught diving as a hobby, with little in the way of income apart from a certain amount of commission here and there. Some were full-time salaried staff members and given that they would have been paid a similar amount to me, it's more than enough for a person to live comfortably.

    Thailand is certainly a good option for gentlemen of a certain age but work permits, on the other hand, have become very expensive - regardless of nationality.

    As a lapsed PADI instructor with a current SDI certification, you would have to go through a full IDC in order to regain your teaching status, and possibly an IE, although I can't comment on that for certain as my copy of the Course Director manual is out-of-date and a LOT has changed with the instructor program.

    So it's definitely possible, but it may take a while, and considerable expense, before you are able to find gainful employment. Having said that, this is true for pretty much any diver who wants to be an instructor, regardless of their age.

    Perhaps you might initially consider somewhere closer to home where you don't need to worry about work permits and visas so much - the Caribbean, for example, or Hawaii?

    A more general sentiment on my part is that if you want it enough then go for it; you will find a way to make it work - and you've done it before so you know how it goes. Hope that helps a little bit, or at least sets the gears in motion!

    Cheers

    Crowley
     
  3. scoobydrew

    scoobydrew Master Instructor

    580
    357
    I work in Grand Cayman and there are no shortage of dive crew members over here in their 50's. Getting a visa here is easy enough provided you find a job.

    Like Crowley says, you'll need your instructor cert of some description in order to get decent paid work but the floating around as a DM while receiving a pension works too, however you are still a few years off that.
     
  4. Madmanmike

    Madmanmike Registered

    31
    0
    Thank you Crowley and scoobydrew. Yah, I am a few years from retirement $.

    I am looking for a place that I can attend the IDC/IE and have a better chance of getting work there, since I will attend the course there.

    Guess I am looking for input on places that offer good instructor training, followed by reasonable chances for employment.

    Thanks again, guys,
    Michael
     
  5. urbaneve71

    urbaneve71 ScubaBoard Sponsor ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Gulf Coast
    562
    391
    I know a few of my friends went to Honduras for their traning but.... that being said -- was a few years back. I don't know if they still offer that type of training. Maybe someone here can put in their input on that
     
  6. Kevrumbo

    Kevrumbo Banned

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: South Santa Monica Bay/Los Angeles California, USA
    5,659
    1,349
  7. Crowley

    Crowley Master Instructor

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Planet Crowley
    1,832
    451
    For Honduras - I've heard good things about Utila Dive centre - not a specific recommendation as I've never been there personally but I've met a few people who did DM and IDC training there.

    The Phillippines are beautiful and not as manic crazy busy as the South of Thailand and plenty of quality dive centres - Thresher Shark divers on Malapascua is a well regarded IDC centre.

    One method you might consider is to time your re-training towards the end of the "off season", if there is one, meaning you're in the right place at the right time when dive centres start looking to recruit new staff. Priority will always be given to quality instructors who are already in the area.

    Cheers

    C.
     
  8. GoProHonduras

    GoProHonduras Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Bay Islands, Honduras
    351
    51
    Hi Michael,

    It's great to hear you are wanting to become active again. We do run Instructor courses each month on Utila and you are welcome to arrive earlier and dive with us and get familiar with the updated PADI DM program and prepare for the IDC. Employment is a possibility though it can be competitive to find work, in the past we have often preferred Instructors with life experience and one of our recent head Instructors, who also was in his 50's was hired for that exact reason.

    Utila is an affordable island to base yourself on, close to the US, there's a variety and abundance of training taking plac e in our facility from open water courses to technical diving, to regular pro training so it has a 'faculty' type feel where you learn a lot from immersing in the facility and diving with peers as well as the courses themselves.

    If you send me an email to gopro@utiladivecenter.com I can give more specific information and pricing/dates.
     
  9. Madmanmike

    Madmanmike Registered

    31
    0
    Alright boys and girls. Lots of good advice here. I have narrowed my choices down to 2. I would greatly appreciate input from you folks that have actually spent time diving in one or both of these locations:

    Utila, Honduras
    Malapascua, Philippines

    I have perused the threads in the Asia sections, and seems like they both have their advantages and disadvantages. Travel to and from being relatively difficult to both locations. Both seem to be developing, perhaps Utila leading in that regard. Both can be relatively inexpensive to live, if you can let go of some western habits. Diving sound pretty good in both locations. Typhoons in the pacific. Hurricanes in Honduras? I dunno.

    I won't name the dive shops, as I am more interested in hearing your opinions on the locations. What your stay was like. Would you ever consider staying there for longer than a vacation? Gotchas and warnings, anecdotes, all appreciated.

    Thanks everyone. I am starting to get excited, and the excitement will crank up another notch when I finally commit and start planning the move.

    Thank you,
    Michael
     
  10. urbaneve71

    urbaneve71 ScubaBoard Sponsor ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Gulf Coast
    562
    391
    I had a friend that did his DM training for 3 months in Honduras and he actually never left. He loved it down there so much. I wish i could find the pictures he sent me but that was from around 2004. Last I heard he is still doing great. Granted, I dont know much about the Philippines, but i hear that they have some great diving too.

    Good luck in what ever you choose. keep us posted.
     

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