Salary and Career Info for Diving Instructors
Scuba diving instructors help others learn the art of underwater exploration. Instructors need to be certified by an international agency to be hired by credible diving outlets. Among other things, instructor certification requires training courses and diving experience. Diving instructors' salaries vary by season, proximity to water and the economy.
Diving Instructors Salary Info
According to the College Foundation of North Carolina (CFNC), a determining factor in a diving instructor's salary is his or her proximity to the water; coastal regions may offer the most employment opportunities (www.cfnc.org). Additionally, whether one decides to instruct on a full- or part-time basis will affect earnings. According to an industry insider interviewed by the CFNC, full-time instructors in coastal regions can earn annual wages of roughly $35,000. Someone who moonlights or works part-time as a diving instructor may make significantly less. The CFNC notes that diving instructors' salaries may fluctuate according to the season, with warmer months drawing in larger crowds.
Diving instructors' salaries also depend on the economy. When times are tight, scuba instructors may find a decrease in available work. Scuba diving may be seen as a luxury, and many people may discontinue or choose not to take up lessons during an economic downturn.
Career Info for Diving Instructors
Diving instructors teach others how to explore the depths using scuba equipment. Diving instructors teach people at all skill levels - from beginners to assistant instructors - how to properly use the required equipment. They teach proper diving procedures in the classroom, pool and open water. At the beginner's level, an instructor teaches basic underwater breathing techniques. At a more advanced level, an instructor may work with a certified diver who is interested in becoming a rescue diver.
Several levels of certification courses are offered both for divers and diving instructors. Certified divers may enjoy easier access to the necessary rental equipment and diving destinations. It may also qualify them to participate in more advanced training courses. Scuba Educators International (SEI) offers diver certification at several levels, from basic open water diving on up to master diver (www.seidiving.org). Specialty courses are also available that lead to certification in nitrox diving, reef ecology diving and diver rescue.
Several levels of certification are also available for diving instructors. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), certification isn't always required to work as a diving instructor; however, most employers prefer it and many credible diving outlets require it (www.bls.gov). There is no centralized agency for certification, but there are several large international certification agencies recognized by diving outlets. Each agency has its own criteria for certification, which generally include completion of a training program and a certain number of hours of diving experience. Most certifying agencies, such as SEI, offer step-by-step classes for becoming a diving instructor.
A person pursuing diving instructor certification can expect to take 3-5 years to complete scuba instructor training. However, it can be done in as little as 15 months in some cases. As long as the required courses, instruction and diving time are available, certification can be expedited. According to SEI, potential instructors should expect to pay around $3,000 for courses and materials and $4,000-$5,000 for the necessary equipment.
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