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PADI AOW->OWSI and beyond. Is this a bad idea?

Discussion in 'Going Pro' started by Don't Touch Me Eel, Dec 21, 2018.

  1. tursiops

    tursiops Marine Scientist and Master Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: U.S. East Coast
    Another way of looking at it is what maximizes your chances of getting students? That might be more related to how many PADI dive centers there are and how much PADI advertising there is, rather than how many PADI Pros there are. One should note (1) that the Pro certs ought to be looked at as a fraction of already existing divers, not as a fraction of new divers....because the new divers are not the ones going Pro, (2) equally, the number of new Pros ought to be looked at as how many per existing diver center, not how many per new diver center, and (3) many of those Pro certs are for DM, who are not the ones doing the instruction.
  2. Don't Touch Me Eel

    Don't Touch Me Eel Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Mid-Atlantic/West Africa
    Asking for the demo videos and not tolerating skills taught on knees has been stuck in my head for the past couple of days and I'm about to email the owner of the program I've been looking at to ask. I also read through a couple of your notes and liked your suggestion of approaching a change like this with a timetable. This comment alone gave me the most pause and made me stop and think if I really want to just myself into this, and if going pro to some extent would be sufficient as a way to get back into diving before committing to a real change. My (probable) schedule for 2019 gives me some flexibility, but the 10 year plan you suggested may end up being a 10 year plan of working before doing it. (I do want to get back on boats though! Living on a small sailboat crosses my mind now and then as well)

    Currently, I'm an ironworker. The job is great, pays well, NYC is the pinnacle of the field, but NYC itself feels like living in a giant expensive daycare while you build redundant and useless retail space and unoccupied luxury condos to be held by foreign shell companies. Being free of it has made me a MUCH happier person.

    Commercial divers seem to work on more practical projects. The idea of being a tender theoretically doesn't bother me (sounds like a more involved fire watch), nor does being away from home if working offshore, but I wonder if between training and putting my time in I might have already missed out on the opportunity to sat dive in the future. That plus the cost of the education/equipment and the current price of oil are the real caveats I have.

    Thanks for pulling these up. They will factor in.

    My next questions:
    If I do go for IDC, what are the dues to PADI/dive activity to maintain my status as an instructor? Wet's post has made me consider just doing Rescue/DM until I stash away more savings/build pension. Is it viable to get certed quickly, log more dives, and look for employment for a few months before getting back to my "real" job?

    BP/W is new to me and seems really neat, but are there issues learning/teaching with it as opposed to jacket BCD?

    Is there a "best" alternative to the "PADI pyramid?" especially with regards to having your certs recognized?

    What is day to day tender life like?

    Is CDA really the best option for a prospective commercial diver especially when factoring in housing concerns or is grabbing an AirBnB or the like in say, Brainerd an option?

    Thanks again for all the input!
  3. CWMurf

    CWMurf Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: St. Louis, MO
    I don't have much to offer along the lines of what has already been said and I look forward to the answers to your new questions. As an old/ex-elevator mechanic I have experienced the shift you referenced in getting away from the city/job. You may also consider finding another way to generate sufficient income to sustain a happy standard of living and dive for fun or just become a DM in order to be in the water at a substantial discount. I suspect that most shops will expect you to work in the gear they sell.

    I have discovered that a) I don't need as much money as I made in the trades to live a good life, b) my trades experience has left me with skills that translated well to other tasks, allowing me to generate plenty of income, c) many dive locations need boat mechanics and such other skilled labor, d) I no longer have to wait until "someday" to do what I enjoy. I'd say decide the standard of living you want, where you would like to go, how your skills can get you there, and go do it. Tomorrow isn't garanteed so get living!
  4. Diving Dubai

    Diving Dubai Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Dubai UAE
    That Sir, is a poor extrapolation.

    Personally I've had 8 further pro Certs this year, and as you very well know, new instructors are encouraged to complete 5 speciality courses. Thus many new instructors are worth 6 certs

    A great many people go take a Pro course (Either DM or Instructor) for the card, but never work Pro.

    So to say each one of those Pro certs account for one individual is quite a stretch
    dcg69 likes this.
  5. northernone

    northernone Great White Rest in Peace ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Currently: Cozumel, from Canada
    Here's the original quote to interpret as you wish:

    "Your PADI family continues to grow with a record-breaking 6500 PADI Dive Centers and Resorts, plus more than 135,000 PADI Professionals around the globe."

    Would be odd is the family including "135,000 PADI professionals" mentioned is really 13,500 with 10 pro certs each as you seen to be suggesting.

    I may have butchered the meaning another way. That seems to be the TOTAL active pros and shops/resorts... The ratio for November (note it says members not certs) could be drawn from this:


    50 to 1 in November. Perhaps less of a stretch for you when it's specified 'new individual members'?
    dcg69 likes this.
  6. lowflyer

    lowflyer Divemaster ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: SW
    @Don't Touch Me Eel
    You haven't dived in 15 years. Therefore, before giving up your livelihood, I would suggest you start diving again to make sure you really want to be a pro. Refresh your skills, get your AOW and Rescue. Then decide.
    I became a DM and was excited to help with classes under different instructors. The excitement wore off after a couple of years, and becoming an instructor lost its luster.
    wetb4igetinthewater likes this.
  7. TMHeimer

    TMHeimer Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dartmouth,NS,Canada(Eastern Passage-Atlantic)
    You know, some confuse work with fun. Being a dive pro is comparable to being a Band teacher. Fun and Work. Period. If you want fun always, play your guitar at house parties. The work is the fun. The fun is the work.....blah...blah....blah.
    But, if you WORK, get Paid.
  8. wetb4igetinthewater

    wetb4igetinthewater Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Seattle
    @Don't Touch Me Eel,

    You've gotten some additional advice that I think is on point that I'd like to just add a bit. I'd suggest seeing as you get back into diving, see if you can shadow some instructors who don't teach at max ratios (as you will count towards that ratio). I think you will learn a lot. I tried doing this at one shop and was turned away as I counted towards the ratio. This should be a red flag for a mill, as in my opinion, it is not possible to teach a quality course beyond 1:4. Others may say otherwise however. You need to formulate your own opinion.

    Personally, I absolutely love it when open water students pull everything together in OW#4. Seeing people get a sense of accomplishment. It does take patience, and if you have a fiery personality, you need to keep that in check and direct it appropriately (I am half Greek, and that part of me dominates my personality). Occasionally you'll get stellar students where you may think you were not needed. My best student ever was a 14 year old former synchronized swimmer competitor. She was just awesome, was solid in OW#1 right with me. Most people are not that easy, and others have real issues that they need to overcome, but I believe it is important to commit to students who won't quit. When they do achieve their goals, it is really satisfying.

    I'm also a DDI instructor, but haven't used that yet. I hope to at some point. Now that I teach through SDI, I need to go through their program.
  9. Pullnglide

    Pullnglide Dive Shop

    I agree with those stating to make it a long term plan unless you have disposable income. If you believe you would like to one day become an instructor, that’s great however it is VERY hard to make good money at instructing alone and even harder to support yourself comfortably. That being said, it can be done and I know many people that have done it. Most all of those ladies and gentleman I am referring to are technical and cave instructors. Those courses demand more money but they also require an inordinate amount of time, money and experience to become that level of instructor. As far as cost goes (from what I’ve seen) you can do DM for $800-$1200 and some places even higher unless you can get into an intern program with a dive op. OWSI is another $1k-$2k not including the IDC charge but I can’t remember what it was. Also you will have travel expenses to the IE location. I think the PADI renew fees are around $2-$300 per year and insurance will be another $600 per year. Some of these prices may be a little off as it’s been several years since I’ve looked into any of this. I owned a PADI Dive Op for 3 years in FL. It lost money the first 2 years. The last year was ok and shorty after it started to succeed and make money my business partner just seemed to lose interest. I didn’t live there so I decided it was best that we close it. When it was open we had quite a bit of cash flow from air/nitrox fills and equipment sales but profit margin wasn’t great on classes but teaching the classes was my favorite part of the business! Teaching people to dive was a very rewarding process for me. It can certainly challenge and frustrate you sometimes but the outcome is extremely rewarding!
    As far as teaching in a jacket or back plate. I always taught recreational classes in a jacket bcd. It’s what we sold but actually had it before we started the business. I taught in it and to this day still use it for ocean diving. Being a skipper is a good idea as well. It takes a bit of time to complete that and then there are different levels of that as well.
  10. SnohomishDiver

    SnohomishDiver Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Monroe, WA
    I've read advice before, and generally agree, that it's not necessarily a great idea to make your passion into your profession. Unless you're a born teacher, instruction can become boring and aggravating very quickly. For example, I love to downhill ski, and became a part time, PSIA certified ski instructor, teaching at nights after my regular job as a geologist. Did that for ten years - and other than the free lift tickets and skiing with and coaching other instructors, it really wasn't all that great.
    I'm new to diving, but can't imagine that all those rote dive skills and pool sessions are for everyone. Commercial diving would almost certainly have more variety and would certainly pay better. Likely more dangerous, too.

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