Question 6 Month Divemaster + Instructor Internship Advice

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Sea of Tranquility
Reaction score
# of dives
50 - 99
Hi all!

I'm a 20yo undergraduate junior studying Physics and Earth Science planning to take a gap year from 2025-26 before rolling into a Planetary or Marine Science PhD program. I'm AOW certified with a smattering of specialties, and I've been OW certified for 7 years with ~70 dives spread fairly evenly. I also plan to obtain Rescue within the next year. I want to spend a chunk of my gap year obtaining both Divemaster and Instructor certifications, which I believe would set me up to be a part-time dive instructor throughout the rest of my career.

From what I've researched, the Rainbow Reef Internship Program seems to be what I'm looking for. This program lasts ~6 months and takes a diver from their current level to Instructor, in exchange for work at the shop, which is located in on Key Largo. It then leads an intern through the certification of their first 25 divers. On-site housing is provided. I assume that the duration and high work level of the program would lead me to become a safer and more confident instructor compared to a short, paid program. Is this assumption correct? Or will a longer program like this with consistent diving not contribute to making me a better instructor?

I'm looking for advice. Is my part-time instructing career plan realistic? Am I thinking about instructor training in the right way? Does anyone have experience with programs like the one I linked?

I also worked at a dive shop in the Summer of 2022 for a few months doing mostly grunt work like cleaning gear, fitting customers with rental gear, etc.. I'm happy to complete this type of work if it's supplemented by consistent training towards DM and Instructor.

Thanks in advance for the advice!
Pretty much the same discussion on SB in 2007:
Pretty much the same discussion on SB in 2007:
@Capt Jim Wyatt may be able to assist here.

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