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Zero to hero - top schools?

Discussion in 'New Divers and Those Considering Diving' started by MrJDoran, Dec 12, 2009.

  1. MrJDoran

    MrJDoran Angel Fish

    Hello all who post here,

    I am a new member and an inexperienced diver. I have loads of snorkel experience as I spent 6 months working a resort in Guam and had tons of free time. Now a friend of mine from highschool (graduated 99) has just informed me that she went to a zero to hero course in mexico. Basically it was around 8,000 USD for 6 months of intense training to become a Divemaster/ instructor. Now she lives in a tropical location and works at a friendly dive shop. Is this typical?
    I have been researching scuba for a while now and Ive come to find that time is a huge factor here. as in it takes time to become skilled, confident and experienced.

    She recommended the school she went to but I have found many like it all over the world. Thailand seems to be popular.
    It just seems like such an intriguing lifestyle and I cant help but be drawn to it. Any suggestions, tips or advice is appreciated.

    Thanks for reading.
  2. Matt83

    Matt83 Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives:
    Location: Palm Beach Gardens, FL
    I went to a program in Ft. Lauderdale Florida USA called Pro Dive International. I was very happy with the training I recieved and with the staff on hand. The course takes about 3 months to go from a certified diver through Instructor. They also offer a course called the Resort Operations Specialist which is geared toward all the extras you need to be able to jump right into a career. You get extras like:
    PSI Visual Cylinder Inspector
    PSI Valve Repair Technician
    PSI Eddy Current Technition
    PSI O2 Cylinder Cleaning Technition
    Digital UW Photo Instructor
    Equipment Specialty Instructor
    Reef Check Instructor
    DSAT Gas Blender Technition
    Boat Internship
    and much, much more.
    Along with all the great training you also get a job placement gurantee for life.
    If you have any questions please don't hesitate to send me a message. Best of luck to you.

  3. zaberman1

    zaberman1 Instructor, Scuba

    This is not a typical situation for most instructors, or at least the good ones. Sure there are exceptions and I am certainly biased, just offering my perspective. A three month zero to hero course cannot possibly qualify someone to become a good instructor. It may, if the diver is quick, give them a lot of knowledge and good training but it does not provide a lot of experience pre instructor, instead, they rely on you getting the experience after the instructor program. Ask yourself if you would rather be taught by someone who learned everything in 3 months or has years of training. I admit, many instructors have years of diving often spaced out which may equate to 3 months every day of diving but it does take time to be critical, adapt, progress, experiment, and dive for fun. Many agencies require you to be a certified diver for a certain amount of time before becoming an instructor (usually a year) and have a certain amount of non-training dives under your belt. I do not have very much respect for instructor factories, but as I said before, there are exceptions to every rule. Scuba courses should be seen as courses where you EARN certifications not get them because you paid for them Its sad to take a course (like AOW or Rescue) for a tour and then be deemed qualified to teach it. I mean, heck, I just got an A in ECP4413 (Gov Reg of Business) but it doesn't mean I could teach it as a PhD in the Spring or legally defend a corporate merger.

    I also find schools that include technical instructor in the mix of the zero to hero course to be dangerous and offensive but that is a different story...

    I posted this on another thread that I think is applicable

  4. MauiScubaSteve

    MauiScubaSteve Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Olowalu, Maui
    Matt83, I have a couple Q's and corrections;

    Are you employed as an instructor and if so by whom? Could you elaborate on the "much, much more" of the ROS Course you took?

    If you look at the Pro Dive Career Training Schedule you will see that an OW Diver could attain PADI OWSI rating in ~6 weeks (Example; Dec 19 - Jan 31), but you must have been a certified diver for at least 6 months as of the beginning of the IDC (Per example; Jan 18). I find it interesting that Pro Dive seems to "make" you become a Master Scuba Diver, adding 6 days to the total time. By contrast an OW Diver going to Ocean Divers in Key Largo takes only ~3.5 weeks (new OD Career Schedule).

    As stated above, one may not start the IDC until at least 6 months after certification as an OW Diver, which is a possible reason for the 6 month length of the program referenced in the OP: a true Zero to Hero program would be a couple weeks longer than 6 months, as Zero to Hero is really non-diver to instructor in my book. :coffee:
  5. Walter

    Walter Instructor, Scuba

    A top school wouldn't have a zero to hero program.
    BVickery, ianr33 and like this.
  6. SteveAD

    SteveAD Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives:
    Location: danvers,ma
    I would not hire the product of a zero to hero school
  7. MrJDoran

    MrJDoran Angel Fish

    To all who replied:

    Thanks for the honest and insightful replies. I figured it sounded too good to be true but just wanted to be sure. I still might attend the non diver to divemaster course just to gain experience but I doubt teaching would be in my near future. When I think about it I ask myself if I would want a zero to hero instructor teaching me to dive. No way. I want someone with years of experience and knowledge. After all diving can be a dangerous sport if all the pieces arent in place.

    Thanks again.
  8. halocline

    halocline Solo Diver

    Why don't you try Coconut tree divers in Roatan? They technically do not have a "zero to hero" program but the DM internship is pretty good, and if I remember correctly, the people that went all the way from OW to IDC spent the better part of a year doing it, or just moved to the island and spent a couple of years getting some experience. Roatan is a fun place to hang out and Will Welbourne, the course director, is an excellent teacher.

    This would not be the quick way to go, but as others have pointed out, most good teachers have years of diving experience anyway.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2009
  9. boulderjohn

    boulderjohn Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boulder, CO
    I have never met anyone who participated in such a program, but I will pass along something I was told by a Course Director.

    Like probably the majority of people, he was totally against--disgusted by is more like it--the idea. Then he ran into a situation where he had to work with people who had come through such programs. These people had logged the minimum number of dives, as designed by the program, in the minimum number of months, but every dive was purposeful and supervised. He said he was amazed to see how skilled these divers were, and how proficient especially they were at their teaching. He has since changed his attitude.

    As I said, I have no personal experience, but perhaps there is room for thought here.
  10. otterdive

    otterdive Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Utah
    I'm sure there may be the rare, exceptional program out there, but when I lived and worked in Thailand I was absolutely shocked by what I saw. I actually saw DMTs doing repetitive 20 minute dives just to get up to 60 dives on the last couple of days of the DM course! These people were still obsessing over their own diving. No way could they care for others. Disgusting, and an insult to the profession.

    boulderjohn, maybe you could give the OP the contact information on a quality program. I can't think of any (although I do know of a very good dive school, it's not a Z-to-H program).

    I would be very cautious about the claims that these programs make. Finding a quality program, if it exists would be a shot in the dark (IMO).
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2009

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