Best job ever? What being a dive instructor is really like.March 28, 2022
Are you bored of work and looking for an adventure? If you love the oceans, you might have thought about becoming a dive instructor. It allows you to explore the world’s best dive spots and get paid to do so. But have you thought about what else this career path involves? Most people think it is easy and the best job ever, but there is more to it than meets the eye. Get inspired and be prepared for your dream career with our honest look at the pros and cons of working as a dive instructor. Spoiler alert, becoming one is the best decision you will ever make.
Why working as a dive instructor is awesome.
1. Spend time in the water every day.
If you love being in the water, being a dive instructor is one of the best jobs in the world. You get to spend hours in the world’s oceans, rivers, and lakes, exploring the many wonders of the underwater world.
Even better, you get to share your dives and working day with people who are equally as mesmerized by being in the water as you are.
2. Get to know your favorite dive sites.
Being a dive instructor is an fantastic way to live an ocean-centric lifestyle and really get to know the dive sites you love.
When you are spending so much time in the water, you get to find new dive sites, revisit your favorites and become familiar with the changing seasons of the oceans.
If you work in one place long enough, you will know when to expect seasonal marine life highlights, the subtle changes to look out for, and where to go for the best dives all year.
All of which will make your dives, and your students’ dives, even more rewarding.
3. Change peoples’ lives.
Taking your first breath underwater is a moment you never forget and the start of a new adventure that lasts a lifetime. It is such a privilege to witness that moment and help other people discover the magic of scuba diving.
As a dive instructor, you will teach people how to become confident and capable divers and help them overcome their challenges to get their diving license.
You will also get to work with experienced divers looking for their next challenge, who will no doubt share their experiences and tips to make you and them better divers.
Not everyone finds diving easy, regardless of their experience level, and the support and enthusiasm you bring to your work change peoples’ lives for the better – including yours.
Added to that, you will be introducing people of all ages to a whole new world they have never seen before. Where else can you get that kind of job satisfaction?
4. Live at some of the most beautiful places in the world.
You can travel and work as a dive instructor pretty much anywhere in the world. Most people think that dive professionals work at sunshine-soaked beach resorts - and many of them do!
But if that is not your style, no problem. You can work at crystal-clear lakes framed by mountains, on luxurious liveaboard boats, and in the shadow of bustling cities.
The choices are endless, and it is a far cry from working in your average office.
5. Build a career tailored to your dive passions.
Whether you love reef, wreck, ice, deep, Extended Range, or some other type of diving, you can turn that passion (or passions) into a successful career pathway.
You can tailor your career over the years, so it never gets dull, and follow your interests as you develop into a seasoned dive instructor.
SSI has more than 70 digital courses in over 40 languages to help you build a dive career that works for you.
Get inspired by the possibilities and check out our range of professional dive courses here:
6. Contribute to marine conservation.
As the saying goes, we conserve what we love. All divers love the oceans and one of the greatest benefits of becoming a dive professional is that you can help protect the oceans from harm every day.
You get to teach people about ocean conservation and explain how to be a responsible diver.
You can share information about reef-safe sunscreens and sustainable dive gear, work at marine conservation projects, and lead clean-up dives.
7. Work with like-minded people.
More often than not, people around the world go to work, get their heads down, tick off their to-do lists and then go home to ‘start living’. But life does not have to be like that.
When you become a dive instructor, you will be surrounded by people who share your passion and are as committed to diving as you are.
Both your colleagues and your customers will get the same kicks as you from being underwater and experiencing those epic marine life moments together.
In short, your work will no longer be something you do just to pay the bills.
It will be a lifestyle choice that revolves around what matters to you the most and in the places you long to explore.
8. Get paid to do what you love.
What is the best bit about working as a dive instructor? That you get paid to do all of the above.
As a bonus, many of the places where dive instructors work are not expensive places to live. You will also be so busy having fun underwater that you forget the unnecessary luxuries and save most of your wages anyway.
All of which makes it possible to live a simple, happy life diving and traveling the world.
Things to be aware of when you become a dive instructor.
1. You need to be relatively fit and healthy.
Scuba diving is for everyone, and despite common misconceptions, you do not need to be a super-fit athlete to become a dive instructor. But you do need to have a basic level of fitness to be safe in the water and prevent injuries.
You will be lifting heavy tanks, putting on and removing a lot of dive gear, and diving a lot. All of which is tiring!
The more you do to prepare for that, the happier you will be at the end of your working days – rather than lying in bed injured and exhausted.
Make sure you are diving fit by stretching and strengthening your muscles. And make sure you include plenty of rest and recovery on your days off.
2. You can get very cold.
One of the first things you will learn as a dive instructor is that you can get very cold being in and out of the water all day.
It is vital to know how to keep warm and well-fueled, so you are safe in the water, do not put your back out from shivering, and do not dread the next dive.
Make sure you eat regularly, stay hydrated, and talk to your colleagues about the best exposure suit to invest in.
Even in warm countries, some instructors choose to dive in dry suits for the ease of always being dry and warm.
3. Motion sickness can happen to anyone, even seasoned dive instructors.
Even if you are not prone to motion sickness, it can strike out of nowhere. One season, you are fine and have zero problems giving boat-based dive briefings. But the next season you can barely finish your briefings before you need to ‘get some fresh air’.
Thankfully, this is an easy problem to solve. Yes, you can grit your teeth until you adjust, or you can chat to your doctor about medication suitable for divers.
Given you will be diving often, it pays to do some prep work to avoid motion sickness:
- Avoid alcohol and heavy meals the day before you dive.
- Take ginger tablets on rough days.
- Drink plenty of water every day.
- Eat a small amount of easily-digestible food before you dive.
- Give your dive briefings somewhere stable, such as the center of the boat.
- Get your dive gear sorted before you leave the dock.
4. You will not earn a fortune.
This one is true and also not true. Most dive instructors do not earn a fortune, but they do earn enough to make a living.
If you want (or need) to earn more as a dive professional, you can do so. You just need to get creative and bring out your entrepreneurial side.
There are plenty of people who make a great living by running their own dive businesses with multiple income streams.
Some of them work full time as dive professionals, whilst others work part-time as divers and have a second job or passive income stream(s).
Need some inspiration? Check out our article Professional Divers: 9 Dream Jobs for You to see where your diving career can take you.
5. It is hard work.
Any dive instructor will tell you that it is hard work doing their job. Yes, it looks easy and fun, and so many instructors get told it must be ‘like being on holiday all the time’. It is not.
You work long hours, sometimes six days a week, and often over weekends. You get last-minute additions to your courses, unexpected staff shortages you need to cover, and clients that forget to follow you during their guided dives.
All of which requires effort on your part to ensure each day runs smoothly and your customers get the dream diving experience they paid for.
You will need stamina, patience, and a welcoming smile even when you are tired.
But if that comes naturally to you, there is no job like it! Every day is unique, there are always reasons to smile, and you will go home satisfied even after the tough days.
Whilst other people sit in their offices, doing the 9 to 5, you will be living your best life and exploring the world.
So, what are you waiting for?