How to become a PADI scuba instructor might, at first glance feel out of your comfort zone. You see images of confident, fun loving people working in their ocean office, clearly having the time of their life and wish that could be you. You wonder how they did it. You wish you could turn back time and take that opportunity yourself and be one of those sun kissed people in the photo’s. Well i’m here to tell you its not too late – you can.
Its never to late to live your dream and become a PADI scuba instructor. You may not see yourself teaching forever but being a PADI instructor literally opens up a whole new world – an underwater one.
Why Do People Become a PADI Scuba Instructor ?
I am PADI Master Instructor, my husband Richard is a Platinum PADI Course Director. We have been in the business of teaching people to become PADI Instructors since 2001 and i feel we are a great example of how the world of scuba diving changed our lives and then offered us different paths within the industry to develop our careers.
I never saw myself as a water babe. At school, swimming class was my worse and most feared lesson, i was never a strong swimmer. But the moment i donned my scuba kit and learned to scuba dive i fell in love with the ocean and felt instantly in control and comfortable. I became a PADI instructor within one year of learning to scuba dive. My career at the time was in the IT industry, i loved the corporate world of business and travelled frequently, but there was something about the ocean that caught me and wouldn’t let me go. I knew that diving holidays were not going to be enough, i wanted to teach people to scuba dive. I wanted to be the person who introduced others to the underwater world. So i decided to look for a dive centre where i could complete my PADI instructor development course and become a PADI scuba instructor.
I knew that teaching was not going to be my lifelong career but as i learned the PADI system of education and the business of scuba diving i could see that there was a lot of opportunity beyond teaching. I saw how to integrate my experience of the corporate world and IT with scuba diving which filled me with enthusiasm and motivation.
I completed my PADI IDC in September 2001 and i taught PADI courses for 10 years. Although i no longer teach, my knowledge and experience as a PADI Instructor remains of great value every day and integral to the success of our scuba dive and travel business here in Sabah, Borneo.
Richard took a different path and to this day teaches courses. His passion is instructor development, he loves the process of transforming a capable scuba diver to become a PADI Scuba Instructor, he is a sharer of knowledge and experience. Richard is a Platinum PADI Course Director, the highest level of professional rating in the PADI system of education. The Platinum award is recognition of his commitment to instructor development. There are currently only 71 Platinum PADI Course Directors worldwide.
How To Become a PADI Scuba Instructor ?
There are several important aspects to consider when choosing how and where to complete a PADI scuba instructor course.
How much time do you have available ?
This will often dictate the method of your training. You can either take a standard PADI Instructor Development Course (PADI IDC) which takes around 12 days. Or you can integrate the PADI IDC into an internship program which is usually offered over a period of 1 month or more.
Here at Downbelow Marine & Wildlife Adventures we encourage candidates to choose the internship method where you will enjoy un-limited scuba diving during the program to help build experience and expose you to a great variety of PADI programs & courses. You will not be working for us since we have a full team of PADI Instructors, but you will be invited to shadow our team to get valuable exposure to real word situations.
Where to complete a PADI Scuba Instructor Course ?
The world is at your feet and there are so many choices. Here’s just a few reasons why we feel that choosing Kota Kinabalu, Sabah in Malaysian Borneo should be high on your list.
a) Geographically easy to reach: fly into Kota Kinabalu International Airport and within 20 minutes you are arriving at our Downbelow Adventure Lodge.
b) Easy entry in terms of a visa: to enter Malaysia your passport must be valid for at least six months. You do not need a visa if you are coming for business or tourism for 90 days or less. Immigration officials will place an entry stamp, known as a social visit pass (visa), in your passport authorizing a stay of up to 90 days
c) A great deal of experience is on offer: We operate TWO PADI 5 Star IDC Centres within the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, just 10 minutes speedboat ride from the mainland. This means that by day you are on a tropical island, yet by night you can enjoy the sights and sounds of city life. You also get to experience two different dive centre practices. Resort based and independent island based. You can read more about both PADI 5 Star IDC Centres at our website.
d) Safety: Kota Kinabalu (KK) in Sabah is considered a safe place to stay and visit. Sabahans, and Malaysians in general, are a peace-loving and friendly people. It is rare to hear of any violent crime committed within KK, especially not against tourists.
e) More than just scuba diving: The state of Sabah in Borneo is a melting pot for wildlife and adventure seekers. During your stay with us you can climb Mt Kinabalu, go on safari to the Kinabatangan River, jungle trek the 130 million year old jungles of Danum Valley, enjoy white water rafting the rapids of the mighty PADAS River, mountain biking and much more. There is never a dull moment.
Which PADI 5 Star IDC Centre should i choose ?
Only accredited PADI Instructor Development Centres can offer PADI professional level training. To become a PADI IDC the organisation must be affiliated with a PADI Course Director. So the first step is to look for the PADI 5 Star IDC Centre.
At Downbelow Marine & Wildlife Adventures our founder Richard Swann is our resident PADI Course Director, being resident has many benefits for the organisation and candidate. Richard has achieved the Platinum award for instructor development for 6 consecutive years which shows he has extensive knowledge and experience in instructor development. So looking for a PADI 5 Star IDC Centre with a resident Platinum PADI Course Director will set you up in a good position for successfully completing your course.
You also want to look specifically at what experience the dive centre can offer you. A variety of scenarios are important for your development as a PADI Divemaster or PADI Instructor, this is also vital for landing that dream job. The greater the variety of experiences under your belt, the greater your offering to potential employers. At Downbelow’s PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre, a wide variety of experiences are available. Our dive centre is the most popular in our area, highly rated, consistently busy and we dive every day.
We frequently host groups, schools and universities of sizes ranging from 4 to 55 people and, on any given day conduct a generous number of courses from the PADI spectrum be it Snorkeling, Discover Scuba Diving, Open Water Courses, Advanced Open Water Courses, lots of PADI Specialties, NITROX, Tec & Gas Blending, Rescue & EFRs and the full Go PRO continuing education portfolio from OWSI to PADI Staff Instructor. We are also committed to conservation, read more about our conservation awareness projects.
Downbelow Marine & Wildlife Adventures offers you the variety of experiences you need for a successful dive internship and becoming a well rounded, highly employable PADI professional. Richard through his network of dive centres also assists in work placements and testimonials to help candidates find their dream job.
Choosing where and with whom to compete your PADI Scuba Instructor Course is a big decision and you will have a number of questions. We have put together a Frequently Asked Questions page on our website to help you with this decision.
For more information please contact us and we’ll be happy to chat things through with you to help you live your dream and become a PADI Scuba Instructor.