Posted: June 14th, 2021
The life of a SCUBA instructor is something that people who have a passion for the water and the beach have imagined as ideal. In fact, it would be the perfect career for most because they think that it would mean spending the rest of one’s life on the beach, languishing under the warm tropical sun and taking a dive in the deep blue cold water.
All of these benefits while enjoying a modest salary that allows for enjoyment of the other luxuries in life. For those who become successful as SCUBA instructors, the benefits are even better.
One can become a world class instructor who explores old wrecks underneath the ocean and even have their own diving schools. Yet these are all dreams and perceptions of what it is like to be a SCUBA instructor. Not everyone gets a chance to enjoy this life. In fact, it is quite difficult and challenging to become a full fledged SCUBA instructor.
In order to become one, there is a series of tests and practical examinations that one needs to undergo. The step after that involves taking additional training to ensure that the licensure is complete. As one SCUBA instructor put it, “Everyone always imagines a life of relaxation.
They always feel as if it is simply swimming once in a while and taking people down for fun dives while getting paid for it. ” This is not always the case because it involves a major lifestyle and career change. This also means that there are added responsibilities.
The first step in being a SCUBA instructor lies in being able to understand the risks and responsibilities that are involved as well as figuring out the first step that one needs to take to pursue this career. The profession of SCUBA instructor, as previously mentioned, is not an easy one.
SCUBA instructor is more of a technical term but the actual role that one plays in most dive operations is one of a dive-master rather than a SCUBA instructor. The main bulk of SCUBA resort operations are taking people down for diving trips.
Providing instructions to new divers or those who want to improve their skills is only a small part of the entire business. Therefore, for those who want to be SCUBA instructor professionals, training as a dive-master is also necessary. This has been labeled as one of the first disappointments or reality checks that an eager SCUBA instructor has to deal with.
It is not so much about teaching students how to dive but also acting as an underwater guide to those who already know how to dive but merely want somebody to lead them and show them around the dive area.
This leads to the first aspect that must be considered before pursuing a career as a SCUBA instructor; making sure that if the thought of diving at the same spot in shallow water is something that one will be able to do day in and day out. To ensure that this does not happen, it is usually recommended that SCUBA instructors or applicants find the written job description first and get the proper certification.
This leads to higher job satisfaction. The reason for this is that it allows for more flexibility with regards to career. Under certain job descriptions, SCUBA instructors may be allowed to handle different classes in different sites depending on the size of the school.
The pay grade is much higher, however, depending on the school and the lessons that are taught to the students. Another factor which affects the job pay is the experience that the instructor has which usually means that more experience leads to a better job and hence higher pay. This in return usually leads to a higher rate of job satisfaction.
This job satisfaction, however, also requires certain additional qualifications that SCUBA instructors need to comply with. These requirements usually have to deal with the other tasks that a SCUBA instructor may be required to do.
For example, most SCUBA instructors are required to have the basic knowledge on how to repair SCUBA gear. This means that the instructor must be proficient with not only one brand of SCUBA equipment but must also have the knowhow for the other brands. Another requirement that is becoming common among SCUBA instructors is the basic knowledge to pilot a boat.
While this is definitely not included in the job description, it is necessary because a number of resort owners would like to save on costs by having one person perform multiple positions. This experience in navigating a boat also carries the additional requirement of nautical licensure and familiarity with the parts of boat from a 15’ skiff to a 48’ cruiser.
This also means that while no expertise that is on a specialist level is required a certain level of proficiency with regard to the workings of these basic machines is needed.
One of the main draws of being a professional SCUBA instructor is the fact that it allows the individual to live on an island. This is, however, also one of the biggest risks and sources of stress. The reason for this is that living on an island also means that one is isolated from a lot of things in life. From a professional standpoint, this means that when the other duties and requirements, such as those mentioned above, are required, one must be able to deal with those problems with the basic tools.
Most dive locations do not have the specialists who can deal with the problem as soon as it happens. These shops are usually located on the main island and need to travel to reach the destination of the dive spot. This means that there is a lag time and any good SCUBA instructor must be able to deal with the events happening immediately.
This job hazard is usually very stressful and sometimes even hazardous. The next problem is with regard to the personal life of a SCUBA instructor. Being isolated on dive resorts also means being isolated from members of the family or society.
As some studies have shown, prolonged isolation usually leads to certain problems and may lead to greater dangers such as alcoholism which is very dangerous for a SCUBA instructor. Assignments on dive resorts can last for a p as short as six (6) months and extend to durations as long as six (6) years.
Another aspect that a SCUBA instructor must deal with is in regard to interpersonal skills. One must remember that being a SCUBA instructor is not only showing people how to dive but also how one is able to teach.
In this line, teaching entails that a person must also be able to communicate to the students just what exactly they must do. The most common problems that even experienced SCUBA instructors need to deal with are the fact that they have to teach people without offending them.
Most vacationing divers are largely inexperienced and are not quite adept at even the most basic of diving regulations. In educating these people, it is necessary for the SCUBA instructor to be able to encourage them to learn more without putting them down.
This is important because safety practices must always be observed before diving. Other problems with teaching also center on those who have been certified but are only taking their first dive. These are perhaps the most difficult bunch to instruct because they feel that they already know what to do.
The self important attitude that most of these certified divers carry is a scary thing because they could always forget the basic safety regulations. As mentioned earlier, in diving, the most important thing is safety because there are a lot of hazards that a diver must deal with during the operation.
This is more difficult considering the fact that certain countries have different diving regulations from others and these certified divers may feel that the SCUBA instructor is not an authority. The challenge here, therefore, lies in being able to deal with this people to ensure the safety of the group. Now that these basic requirements and training exercises have been elaborated on, it is also important to discuss the basic steps that one needs to undertake before becoming a SCUBA instructor.
The most important step that one needs to take lies in certifying that one is in excellent medical condition. Due to the hazards that divers are exposed to at work, one must be physically fit to endure the rigors of diving. Specific requirements such as a current medical report including blood work, chest X-ray and physical fitness tests are necessary.
There is also the matter of valid passport, work permits and of course certification to be a SCUBA instructor. The life of a SCUBA instructor is indeed a very promising one if one is able to carefully study and lay out their plan.
As discussed previously, all the considerations such as proper training and expertise are very necessary. Individuals must be prepared for the tasks and responsibilities that the job requires. Aside from this there is also the matter of proper permits and interpersonal skills. One overlooked aspect of being a SCUBA instructor lies in understanding the difference between visiting and island the living on an island because these are two (2) very difficult things.
Most people usually feel that living on an island is similar to visiting an island but these are not the same. The reason for this is because people must now deal with the living expenses in relation to the salary that they are provided. Most dive resort owners provide salary based on the cost of living scale of the location. As such, while it may seem that the SCUBA instructor is earning so much more than the locals, the conversion rate when compared to other countries may be much lower than average.
This means that while one can live the life of a king on a tropical island, he or she may be a pauper in some other part of the world. To summarize, becoming a SCUBA instructor is not for everyone. While the lure of warm and sunny tropical beaches is definitely alluring, the fact that this is considered a job also means that there is work to be done. It is not all just fun and games. The positive side of this, however, is the fact that it really is much easier to do a job that one loves and enjoys.
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