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PADI Assistant Instructor

Discussion in 'Thinking of a Diving Career?' started by js1221, Apr 16, 2019.

  1. js1221

    js1221 Registered

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Texas
    I am presently a PADI certified Divemaster and am wondering about becoming an Assistant Instructor. I don't want to go the full Instructor route. Any AI's out there give me their thoughts? Is it worth it to go from DM to AI or should I be stay a DM?
  2. Diving Dubai

    Diving Dubai Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Dubai UAE
    AI is really just a stepping stone to OWSI. You can present the Confined water skills under the direct supervision of an OWSI.

    If you have no desire to teach then stay as a DM, if you want to teach then consider OWSI. If you're not confident in your abilities to stand up in front of students and present and deliver and want more practice and confidence then go AI.

    My AI was combined with OWSI IDC and we went directly from one to the other there were no additional PADI fees and the additional course fee was not significant, but it gave us more practice in delivering presentations and skills evaluation etc

    Everyone has different goals, and these change over time

    For my first 8 years I had no intention of going pro.

    Then as a (BSAC) club diver I became a Dive Leader (DM) so I could run dives - which guaranteed that I could go diving

    Them I took PADI DM out of interest as I had some free time. I enjoyed assisting and helping student so I decided to take my OWSI. As my experience increased with teaching I knew that I wanted to be able to teach they type of diving that most interested me and which I was most passionate about, so worked towards that.

    Everyone is different. Only you can decide if taking a course will add value to your participation in your hobby
    Saniflush and markmud like this.
  3. kablooey

    kablooey Divemaster

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: San Diego
    After being a working DM for about ten years, I enrolled in the class and completed the AI training.

    I liked everything about being a DM.
    I do not have, nor have ever had, any desire to be an instructor.

    My reasoning for going for AI:
    • I knew that the instructors on our team preferred having an AI with them on assignments over regular DMs.
    • AIs are allowed by standards to help instructors in certain ways that DMs can not.
    • In my case, there's no difference in agency dues or pro insurance between an AI and a DM.
    • To be totally candid, I was also enthusiastic about "out-ranking" some of my competitively minded DM colleagues. ------ Questionable reasoning I know.
    The AI instruction was not what I expected it to be.
    I thought there would be more practical training about instruction methods and skills.
    Instead, the AI classroom sessions were more focused on how to promote and apply the certification agency's policies, and how to "sell" students on further instruction.
    Pretty dull stuff.

    The in-water AI training was a little better. We were required to instruct and demonstrate a selection of skills to high standards.
    Because skills was a big part of the DM training, this segment was treated as more of a review, rather than additional training.
    Nothing new there.

    So, I passed the course and gained the AI certification.

    When people I don't work with ask me what my certification level is, I say "Divemaster".
    It just sounds better.

    Do I regret taking the AI certification?
    Yes and no.
    Introspectively, I just took it for the wrong reasons.
    I still don't want to be an instructor, and the AI certification is really meant to be a stepping stone toward that.

    But it has given me an edge on getting more working opportunities.
    I believe I have been of more use to the instructors I've worked with after the AI certification.

    I'm not saying it was a mistake.
    It just turned out to be a dead end in my situation.

    I hope others will will respond to your question in more positive ways.

    Good luck with whatever decision you make.

    HellRaZoR and Addicted2H2O like this.
  4. mmerriman

    mmerriman Captain

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Boston MA
    It's going to cost you at least $1000 to become an AI. What of the following makes it worth it to you?

    Assistant Instructor Duties
    Teaching Status Assistant Instructors (certified/upgraded since
    1995) are authorized to:
    1. Present the knowledge development elaboration for
    any PADI Diver course under the instructor’s indirect
    supervision. The instructor personally assesses student
    knowledge development.
    2. Present initial skills training under the instructor’s direct
    supervision during confined water dives.
    3. Conduct open water surface skill evaluations during
    Open Water Diver course dives under the instructor’s
    indirect supervision.
    4. Teach and certify Peak Performance Buoyancy Specialty
    Divers under the direction of an instructor.
    5. Independently teach the Project AWARE (nondiving)
    Specialty course.
    6. Independently teach the Coral Reef Conservation
    (nondiving) Specialty course.
    7. Independently conduct Discover Scuba Diving in a pool or
    confined water.
    8. Independently conduct Bubblemaker programs.
    9. Independently conduct PADI Seal Team AquaMissions.
    10. Teach and certify divers in specialty courses that don’t
    include dives after completing Specialty Instructor Training
    courses and earning Specialty Instructor ratings for such
    11. After completing the corresponding instructor training
    and earning Specialty Instructor ratings, conduct Digital
    Underwater Photographer specialty courses under the
    direction of a PADI Instructor.
    HellRaZoR and Diving Dubai like this.
  5. mmerriman

    mmerriman Captain

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Boston MA
    I forgot - and another $500 worth of materials
  6. Frosty

    Frosty Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Auckland NZ
    js1221 to me the reason for going AI is not having the time to set aside to do the full IDC or you want to spend more time with your work being supervised before making the bigger step.
    Diving Dubai likes this.
  7. Diving Dubai

    Diving Dubai Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Dubai UAE
    @js1221 This ^^ is an excellent point.

    As I stated above, my AI was part of a bundled package for IDC/IE. While I never got to use my AI - because the courses were back to back it did have value.

    The principle value, was being able to be practiced in all the practical skills of presenting the course. so for IDC I'd already done them and was only polishing/improving them. This resulted in my IE scores being very high, more importantly I was more prepared and relaxed for IE because of this.

    Never underestimate the amount of pressure that everyone imposes on themselves for IE - it's a big thing. So every little bit helps.

    There is also value in working as an AI alongside an Instructor for a short period.

    As a shiny new instructor straight out of IE, the first classes you teach are very stressful. You feel alone, and a bit of a fraud standing up in front of students, delivering a whole class (rather than one or two skills) and being really uncertain of yourself.

    IE doesn't teach you how to teach, it only teaches you how to present the courses. So there is benefit for some candidates, depending on the amount of pool time they've had being a DM on courses, to be an AI and assist alongside an Instructor. I've had a couple of AI's work with me on courses and it's been a benefit to them. I was lucky and had spent a ton of time in the pools as a DM alongside instructor who gave me a ton of "pre instruction" hits and tips
  8. Frosty

    Frosty Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Auckland NZ
    heya Diving Dubai--I had to laugh at your post Im sorry--ONLY because "the boss" was on my case recently about KISS and losing my audience.

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