PDA

View Full Version : Instructors / Larry



greyzen
09-18-2007, 17:20
So I would really like to hear, privately would be more appropriate I think, on getting into an instructor program. I have always loved teaching and training others and this seems like a normal progression for me in the SCUBA community.

Please, if you are an instructor or LDS (Larry you both, please PM me :D) can you please send me a PM about what to expect financially?

Please also, I am aware that I am a newbie to the dive community, but planning ahead never hurt anyone.

ScubaToys Larry
09-18-2007, 21:35
A lot of folks might have this question, so I'll go through it here...

First off, you are going to have to get some dives in. Minimum is 100 dives - but of course you will pick some up during the training. Must have your advanced OW, Rescue, then you can become a TA (training assistant... basically a JR Divemaster) and start working on your DM. That is the long one... lots of self study academics plus some group class work, and working lots of classes. Plus some evenings in the pool doing skills. Can be done quicker, but most people work on their DM for at least 6 months.

Then you can take the instructor program - normally 3 - 4 weekends, or an intensive week. By the time you go through all those steps, plan on about $2200 or so with all the materials, plus how ever much it will cost you to get in the non-DM dives. (As a Dive Master or DM candidate - your entry to the parks are normally free if helping with a class.

That should give you a ball park.

Now we are a Naui facility, so as soon as you are an instructor, you can also teach any standard specialties without any additional charges. For Padi, plan on another $50 for each specialty you want to teach.

PlatypusMan
09-18-2007, 22:53
...As a Dive Master or DM candidate - your entry to the parks are normally free if helping with a class.


Larry, sorry to disagree with you here, but I have yet at either CSSP or Windy Point to be given free anything as a DM candidate working a class, even when pointing out that was the reason I was there.

Is there some sort of Secret Code that I didn't hear about? :smiley19:

greyzen
09-18-2007, 23:50
First off, great info.

My main concern wasn't how much it would cost, but rather, how much from an instructors stand point I can expect to receive on average by instructing.

For example, if I am an instructor and work, I would assume that a certain compensation would be provided for my services from the shops I work at.
I would guess, that should I choose and the shop want/need me to, I could opt to work exclusively for that shop and would perhaps be compensated better?

Thats why I was asking about it in PM's, money always brings out the best in people. :)

I'm just curious as I love to teach people, it's something I enjoy, if it helps to negate the costs of the sport. I know you get certain discounts with insurances/etc. but is it something you do because you love to do it?

When I become an instructor (I plan on diving my little heart out for a while and taking specific courses to help me become a better teacher) do I just stand outside of some LDS with a cardboard sign:

Open Water - 100.00
Advanced Open Water - 150.00
Specialty - 75.00/class
Wed special - buy AOW and one specialty, get free picture with coach!!

What are the 'going rates' if you will? :D

greyzen
09-18-2007, 23:51
Larry, sorry to disagree with you here, but I have yet at either CSSP or Windy Point to be given free anything as a DM candidate working a class, even when pointing out that was the reason I was there.

Is there some sort of Secret Code that I didn't hear about? :smiley19:


Yeah, Windy POint gives half-price to class instructors, and free fills.
(least they did my instructor...)

ScubaToys Larry
09-19-2007, 07:05
...As a Dive Master or DM candidate - your entry to the parks are normally free if helping with a class.


Larry, sorry to disagree with you here, but I have yet at either CSSP or Windy Point to be given free anything as a DM candidate working a class, even when pointing out that was the reason I was there.

Is there some sort of Secret Code that I didn't hear about? :smiley19:

Hmmm... It's been a year or two since I've actually done classes there... I didn't know the DM candidates where being charged... Not the actual DM's though I imagine...

OK, add in a few park fees there!

Formerly 45yroldNewbie
09-19-2007, 07:34
First off, great info.

My main concern wasn't how much it would cost, but rather, how much from an instructors stand point I can expect to receive on average by instructing.

For example, if I am an instructor and work, I would assume that a certain compensation would be provided for my services from the shops I work at.
I would guess, that should I choose and the shop want/need me to, I could opt to work exclusively for that shop and would perhaps be compensated better?

Thats why I was asking about it in PM's, money always brings out the best in people. :)

I'm just curious as I love to teach people, it's something I enjoy, if it helps to negate the costs of the sport. I know you get certain discounts with insurances/etc. but is it something you do because you love to do it?

When I become an instructor (I plan on diving my little heart out for a while and taking specific courses to help me become a better teacher) do I just stand outside of some LDS with a cardboard sign:

Open Water - 100.00
Advanced Open Water - 150.00
Specialty - 75.00/class
Wed special - buy AOW and one specialty, get free picture with coach!!

What are the 'going rates' if you will? :D

Well I am curious too! Does Instructor/DM pay enough to help defray the costs of scuba gear and perhaps enough extra to pay for some nice trips too?

thesmoothdome
09-19-2007, 07:40
Greyzen,

In terms of compensation, back in the early-mid 90s when I was actively instructing, I made $50.00 per student per class for OW classes. AOW, Rescue or Specialties were paid at a rate of $65.00 per student. In addition, the shops that I worked for gave instructors significant discounts on gear.

Truth is that after 6 months of working in my first shop for 8 hours a day for $6 an hour and teaching diving at night, I realized that this was not going to be the end all answer in terms of a career. You're never going to live comfortably as a dive instructor alone.

As a 15 year veteran of the classroom, my advice would be enjoy diving and get your teaching credential to make a living from. If you still want to donate your time to teaching students, go for it. It is a significant investment and as much as I enjoyed teaching diving, it is a demanding job. Coupled with a demanding full time job to pay my mortgage, I opted to shelve teaching dive classes.

Go for it if it makes you happy. I'm glad I did and someday, maybe, I'll go back and teach a few classes. Sigh....back to the IDC for me :).

thesmoothdome
09-19-2007, 07:43
Well I am curious too! Does Instructor/DM pay enough to help defray the costs of scuba gear and perhaps enough extra to pay for some nice trips too?

Extra? Nice trips? Never when I was teaching. If you are lucky, you'll work for a dive shop that offers group trips and lets you run a few. Then, you'll usually go for free as a working member of the shop.

Unfortunately, with the expenses involved in the sport, shop approved gear, insurance, upkeep, gas to and from everwhere, you're not going to make a lot of money teaching classes on the side. It'll keep you diving though, so if that's the goal, it's well worth it.

greyzen
09-19-2007, 08:41
Greyzen,

In terms of compensation, back in the early-mid 90s when I was actively instructing, I made $50.00 per student per class for OW classes. AOW, Rescue or Specialties were paid at a rate of $65.00 per student. In addition, the shops that I worked for gave instructors significant discounts on gear.

Truth is that after 6 months of working in my first shop for 8 hours a day for $6 an hour and teaching diving at night, I realized that this was not going to be the end all answer in terms of a career. You're never going to live comfortably as a dive instructor alone.

As a 15 year veteran of the classroom, my advice would be enjoy diving and get your teaching credential to make a living from. If you still want to donate your time to teaching students, go for it. It is a significant investment and as much as I enjoyed teaching diving, it is a demanding job. Coupled with a demanding full time job to pay my mortgage, I opted to shelve teaching dive classes.

Go for it if it makes you happy. I'm glad I did and someday, maybe, I'll go back and teach a few classes. Sigh....back to the IDC for me :).

Hey thanks Smooth, unfortunatly I am way to shallow to actually be a teacher full time due to the lack of funds they are given.

prof. teachers are like cops/fireman in my opinion... they always need raises to do the job they do.

That being said, allow me to elaborate a bit more :)

I'm greedy and love money. I know it isn't the best combo in the world but it was how I was made. I love scuba, it's something I've been obsessed with for many years and now that I've finally broken the seal it is time to go whole-hog. The problem is the cost... I hate hobbies that cost more than about 20 bucks a month. If I am working towards a goal, say DM, I will easily pay for and achieve my goal while working full time at the other things I do.

Now, if I add in Instruction classes, my hobby has now become part of my working and work-out regime. Helping me to stay fit by doing pool work/checkout dives/etc. as well as providing a source (though small) of income.

If it is pretty standard to pay instructors the above listing, that seems worth it to me...though I would really still enjoy hearing from others.

pnevai
09-20-2007, 20:57
Besides the fact that two instructors I know work as security guards to make ends meet I'll throw in my experience. Being a DM and an Instructor is work. Plain and simple, there is NO ME time like when you dive for on your own. Your students will not all be pleasant nice people who are ready and able to learn.

In this age many people have expectations when ever they pay someone, and they will not take no for an answer. "What do you mean I have to do that again, Idid it once and, listen buddy I am paying you good money for these classes so stop wasitng my time" Even though a shop may be collecting the money, you will have to deal with the Prima Donna's and Time crunched aholes that think that just because they are paying for the classes means instant and automatic certification.

The next thing is again since people are paying and of course if the shop or you can not afford a gopher, you will be filling tanks, carrying them, moveing gear etc. Used to be a instructor could say, OK people there is all your gear pick it up and lets go. Not any more, most times, many students can not be expected to be able to carry a aluminum 80 more than a few feet, so guess who ends up doing all of the heavy lifting?

There is a ton of work to be done setting up for the class and a ton of work clearing out after a class, then there is the paper work involved, travel time etc, etc.

Now unless you are instructing a class on a cruise ship, or at some resort. Most of your trips to exotic locations will again be with the class. And that again means work, Check out dives, Open water skills, etc. If you are lucky in this case you won't have to carry and set up all the gear. All of your in water time has to be focused on the class, that is what you are being paid for. And if you are very lucky and if you are not completely exhausted at the end of the day, you just might find the time to get a dive in for yourself.

Shop trips that are not geared around classes, you almost always have to pay for. Yes you will get discounts on gear but not enough to make up for your expenses, should you have to cover your own insurance, gas, administration and other expenses.

I do not want to put perhaps a damper on your ambitions, but that is the life of a typical instructor. Now all of this can be very rewarding, if you can teach at a resort, or on a cruise liner as many of your expenses are covered and there are plenty of fringe benefits, but those jobs are few and far between. Or instructing is not your day job and you can afford to do it only if and when you feel like it. Unless you own your own business then instructing can kill your enjoyment for diving if it is your 9 to 5 have to do it to eat job.

P.S. while the cruise ship and reorts instructors jobs have perks and benefits they are usually lower paying that instructing at a LDS, because most vacationers do not take full certs, mainly discover scuba which makes less for the outfit.

greyzen
09-21-2007, 00:08
So perhaps I need to provide more information...

I'm not looking for a career move, I'm looking more for the financial information should I choose to take my diving into the instruction area.

again, I enjoy teaching... I've taught at several different levels from small children up to corporate training/etc. The ins and outs of training I'm pretty familiar with training environments and I have worked in and around customer service for several years.


I'm very interested in spending some time teaching, but would like to be able to generate some sort of income doing it...
I like my hobbies to bring me money, it's a curse.

RECDiver
09-21-2007, 00:15
According to the Windy Park website instructors and DMs get free entry when working with scuba classes. It doesn't say anything about DM candidates.

PlatypusMan
09-21-2007, 10:26
According to the Windy Park website instructors and DMs get free entry when working with scuba classes. It doesn't say anything about DM candidates.

That was my point. There's been an assumption out there that a Training Assistant/DM candidate who is working a class is accorded the same courtesy that a full DM gets in terms of pricing at a dive venue. It's simply not accurate, and it's important that people know this.

texarkandy
09-21-2007, 18:29
So what about getting all your dive experience & credentials & moving to a "vacation destination" - (mexico, etc) for six-months out of the year - is there any money in that? Can you make your expenses to cover your travel, housing & food there?

(particularly if like me you are soon contemplating an early retirement from a career you already have & will have a guaranteed income from that as backup - not that I am seriously considering that, just wondering since we're on the subject)

ScubaToys Larry
09-21-2007, 18:43
Ok... from that perspective... let me tell you about how it shakes out. I would not tell anyone to give up their day gig to be a scuba instructor!!

If you teach independently - it's whatever you can get. I know some independents that bring their students into our shop to get gear, and they teach at their pool in their back yard - go for upper class clientèle and get $450 a student - do 3 - 6 at a time. Then they also get trips together and take them on those. And they stay pretty busy! I know others that charge less - some more... so it's whatever you can build up.

Most times when teaching for shops, you are looking somewhere between 40 and 75 a student depending on the class and what you do. But then you don't have to own 8 sets of gear, buy books, arrange a pool etc. The shop handles that. Also some shops supply insurance - some don't.

I'm sure you'd find that most instructors for doing a 2 weekend course end up with anywhere from 2 - 400 or so. Not enough to make much a difference in your life - but a lot of fun if you like teaching.

For instructors I've known who are doing the Island Resort type of teaching... they normally have 3 or 4 sharing a small apartment to make ends meet and have bicycles not cars. But if you're young, and want to spend a few years as a beach bum... might be fun!

Now obviously, there is the whole element of what can you offer a business. If you are a great leader, customer service skills, speak 4 languages, and know networking, accounting, and have great underwater photo and video skills... there's a chance you could find a resort that would make you a much better offer. But as far as just being an instructor - do it for fun - not for profit, or you'll probably be disappointed.

Any working instructors out there, feel free to chime in and let me know if I hit your situation on the head, or if my glass is half empty or half full!

chinacat46
09-21-2007, 19:08
Gotta agree with Larry you don't become an instructor to make money you do it cause you enjoy it and to open the hearts and minds of others to the hidden beauty of the oceans and sometimes change lives forever.

texarkandy
09-21-2007, 22:48
I should clarify - I'm wouldn't be thinking of retiring from my current so I can instruct Scuba, I'm retiring in 2 yrs anyway, just wondering if Scuba would fund my travel & housing expenses in some sandy locale for half the year as I'd still have to maintain my US address out of my regular retirement income

(as to languages, I speak Spanish also & my wife German, however she doesn't dive)

I'm a long, long way from ever getting to instructor level anyway if I thought of pursuing it, but hey, I can dream a little can't I?

greyzen
09-23-2007, 13:26
yeah similar situation here texarkandy...
though I'm not retiring, I know my energy levels and frankly... working only one job is boring :)

Vercingetorix
09-23-2007, 15:01
DM-candidates also are not paid during their training period. Platy can attest to that. If they are fortunate, they may...may...get a tip for a couple students. Hell, they're lucky if they get a "thank you". The training period involves going on a lot of dives with lots of classes.

I may eventually go the DM route. I haven't decided. I would like to be a TA, but TA's count against the NAUI Instructor-to-Student ratio. I've already helped with a couple Rescue classes. For a single class at CSSP, it costs me $50 ($20 park entry, $16 for two tanks of air, $12 in gasoline, couple bucks for food/water bottles; and, a two-hour round trip from Irving). I would be doing this as a DM-candidate; compensation?...$0.

So, while on your way to Instructor, plan to see a LOT OF MONEY going out and zip/zero/nada/zilch coming back in.

One of my friends and instructors is a guy named Dave Prichard. He and his wife supplement what little they earn from diving instruction by writing and photographing for Dive Training magazine magazine; they produce about 6 to 8 feature articles per year (the most recent in August issue). They also do the international lecture circuit. That's where the money is, mate.

woody
09-23-2007, 16:25
but TA's count against the NAUI Instructor-to-Student ratio.
Sorry but TA's don't change the NAUI Student to Instructor Ratio's. Only AI's & DM's do.

This is quoted directly from the NAUI S&P's
"Consequently, this certification does not allow the graduate to be counted
toward student instructor ratios."

TA's are just as helpful as AI/DM's from a training perspective though. An extra set off eyes, a second brain, and the ability to escort students on some occasions.

Thanks,
Woody

ian
09-23-2007, 17:45
[quote=Vercingetorix;59570]but TA's count against the NAUI Instructor-to-Student ratio.


Sorry but TA's don't change the NAUI Student to Instructor Ratio's. Only AI's & DM's do.

This is quoted directly from the NAUI S&P's
"Consequently, this certification does not allow the graduate to be counted toward student instructor ratios."

Ah, Woody, your quote says "...counted TOWARD student instructor ratios..."

Vercingeorix' question was "...count AGAINST the student instructo ratio..."

In your quote, having a TA along doe sNOT allow the Instructor to add more students. In Vercingeorix' quote, having a TA along actually means that the Instructor cannot have as many studentsd as he would without the TA being there. In other words, the TA counts as a student under the NAUI standard ratios.

Divingguy
09-23-2007, 21:16
Rick: Platy and I were looking for you today. Hope all is ok. I made TA, and am now in the DM program. I am sure NOT doing it for the money. You nailed that. Driving from Parker County in a dually with diesel at $3.00 per gallon is downright painful. However, I view TA/DMC as a great way to continue to improve on my skills, and knowledge, and dive with people that I know and like. I will say that S/T was kind enough to cover my entry today, and provide spare tanks since I was "working" the event. Nobody there is there for the money. I think it is more a skills/enjoyment/comraderie thing.
Tom

PlatypusMan
09-24-2007, 09:34
Nobody there is there for the money. I think it is more a skills/enjoyment/comraderie thing.
Tom


You got that right! It was a heck of a lot of fun diving with you and planting all those underwater Easter eggs for prizes. :smiley20:

Vercingetorix
09-24-2007, 10:14
but TA's count against the NAUI Instructor-to-Student ratio.
Sorry but TA's don't change the NAUI Student to Instructor Ratio's. Only AI's & DM's do.

This is quoted directly from the NAUI S&P's
"Consequently, this certification does not allow the graduate to be counted
toward student instructor ratios."

TA's are just as helpful as AI/DM's from a training perspective though. An extra set off eyes, a second brain, and the ability to escort students on some occasions.Thanks for the clarification. My info came from another ST Instructor. Perhaps he interpreted "does not allow the graduate to be counted toward student instructor ratio" to mean "counts against student-instructor ratio". In fact, he made the statement "Divers either increase or decrease the student-instructor ratio; there is no in between".


In Vercingeorix' quote, having a TA along actually means that the Instructor cannot have as many studentsd as he would without the TA being there. In other words, the TA counts as a student under the NAUI standard ratios.That is exactly what several of us were told.

Tom: Congrats on getting into the TA/DMC program.:smiley32::smiley32:

woody
09-24-2007, 13:40
Sorry for the confusion.

mack
09-25-2007, 22:36
I feel that it is necessary to clear up the confusion about whether or not TAs count toward or against the "instructor to student ratio". As Woody said, they do not count for or against the "ratios". TAs that are working toward their DM or AI are students for which the instructor is responsible!!!! The instructor is responsible for ALL students not just those in his OW or AOW or Rescue class!!! An instructor should personally evaluate the skills of any TAs that are assisting him/her. I think that he/she should also evaluate the skills of any DM/AI that he doesn't know.
The instuctor should be careful not to take on too many students if the TAs skills are questionable. In such an event, although the NAUI S&Ps do not address it, I believe that prudence should tell the instructor that he cannot properly instruct his students if the TAs skills are not up to par. The TA then becomes a liability and should probably be taken into account when considering how many students he will put into the water, especially during the open water phase of the training. Again, although the NAUI S&Ps do not address this situation I believe that the intent of the S&Ps applies.

Vercingetorix
09-26-2007, 03:29
Mac,

Thanks for further clarifying our discussion in light of Woody's comments. I was trying connect our discussion with Woody's posting, and I was having a hard time doing so.

CaribbeanDiver
10-03-2007, 16:30
Well I am curious too! Does Instructor/DM pay enough to help defray the costs of scuba gear and perhaps enough extra to pay for some nice trips too? damn man, if I could earn enough to offset the gear costs, it would have to pay an awful lot. like $300 an hour lot. everytime I turn around I am buying something or other new. BC got 17 dives on it? gotta replace it, I need an upgrade, I am getting the one I shoulda got last time, and I think a new reg would breath easier, that one looks nice, I need it. and my fins need to be upgraded, and what about my mask? I noticed it fogged up once on my last trip, that needs to be upgraded too, and........