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Everything you need to know about becoming a PADI Professional / PADI Instructor

Updated: Nov 24, 2023

Deciding to become a professional scuba diver, or a PADI Pro, with Bespoke Scuba Diving is one of the most exciting choices you WILL ever make – but, remember it’s a big commitment, too!

As a hobby, diving is physically and mentally challenging, but when you’re a Pro, you’ll be the one coaching others through their own challenges. You need to be prepared to develop yourself as a person and a professional, but to do this properly, you also need the right training and support, that's where Bespoke Scuba Diving comes in.

Becoming a PADI Divemaster (or ‘DM’) is the first step on the Pro ladder. Once qualified as a divemaster, you can lead certified divers on ‘fun dives’ and assist instructors with training new divers. To do this, you’ll need to take the PADI Divemaster Course, and have a few other milestones under your belt, too. You need to have 40 logged dives before you even start the course, and to qualify, you’ll need at least 60. Think of these as the minimum requirements – the more time you spend in the water, the more experience you gain.

If you’re seriously planning on making a living as a #pro, it might seem tempting to try to rush through the Divemaster course to get certified and begin working. Hold your bubbles! The best pros out there know that ‘time in the water’ is the best teacher there is, and you need as much experience as you can get when you’re first starting out. At Bespoke Scuba, we like our Dive Master Candidates to work alongside us to gain that much needed experience. Whilst this may sound like you’ll be working for free – or most likely, paying to work – However - We disagree - This experience is invaluable in your professional development..

What then follows, is becoming an Open Water Scuba Instructor (or ‘OWSI’) To become an instructor, you’ll need to have the Divemaster qualification and at least 100 dives. By this point, you should also have invested in all of your own equipment.

Qualifying as an instructor means taking the Instructor Development Course (IDC) and passing the Instructor Exam (IE). If you’re serious about becoming an instructor, it’s worth looking for a centres like Bespoke Scuba Diving that offers an IDC ‘prep’ course as well, especially if it’s been a while since you finished your Divemaster.

An IDC prep course will cover the basics of dive physics and physiology to refresh your mind before you really get to the good stuff.

While it might seem daunting at the time, you should also be thinking about what you’re going to do after you pass your IE – this is YOUR career, after all! It’s really good to be as versatile as possible in what you can teach, and this is where the PADI Instructor Specialties come in. This is why our Silver and Gold packages at Bespoke Scuba Diving include bundles of 5 and 10 specialities. This will make your teaching role more fun, and more attractive when it comes to looking for jobs.

Most instructors will go on to become a Master Scuba Diver Trainer, or ‘MSDT's’. There’s no course or exam for this, but you’ll need to have passed some more milestones in order to apply for the rating. You’ll need to have certified at least 25 PADI divers and be able to teach five specialties, which means you need to pass the requirements for five PADI Specialty Instructor courses.

An ideal way of doing this and gaining experience, while teaching enough students to certify, is an MSDT internship. Like the Divemaster internship, the MSDT is a longer-term program where you’ll work side-by-side with instructors to gain hands-on teaching experience. Again, this can be a big (financial) commitment, but it’s a sure-fire way of becoming confident and competent in teaching speciality courses. This is something we are delighted to be able to offer at Bespoke Scuba Diving.

Becoming a PADI Pro is a great #adventure, so don’t rush it. Experience comes with good training, opportunities to practice, and above all, time in the water! Take the time to build yourself a solid foundation as a diver, prepare to develop your knowledge and your skills every day, and be proactive in making sure you get the support you need.

You’re not only investing in your future, after all – there’s a generation of new divers out there waiting for you!

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