how much do dive instructors get paid

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Greg O Leary

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Hi,
I am planning to try and work and travel. I am looking for information on how much dive instructors get paid in different countries. Alas I have debts at home so I must plan my route.
Any information would be super.

This is what Ive been told so far ...

  • $90 per open water student
  • $85 per Adv open water student
  • $125 per rescue diver student
  • $425 per Divemaster student
  • specialties ranged from $60-125 per student
  • the shop paid for insurance
  • all materials and supplies
  • onsite pool maintenance
  • gear upkeep
  • mailing and storing of documents
  • they also paid minimums, meaning that if only two students signed up for a class, they would still pay the instructor for four. This enabled them to maintain the best instructors in town.



Keep smiling
Greg

E-mail greg.kaz@virgin.net
 

Rick Murchison

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HHHhhahahahhaarrr!
Let's break that $90/student down, shall we? At a four student minimum/8 student maximum - $360-720 for the class. We'll assume the dive shop pays all insurance, transportation, food & lodging on dive trips.
Classroom time (average) 12½ hours
Preparation for classroom time (average) 5 hours
Private time with the "duty 10%" (average) 2½ hours
Pool time (average) 12½ hours
Preparation for pool time (average) 2½ hours
Securing pool after sessions time (average) 1 hr.
Open water trips (since I don't know Mario's situation I'll use ours - Sat-Sun at a site 2½ hours distant on one weekend, and a four hour boat trip at a site 3½ hours distant on another weekend) - total time on-site with students plus driving time, prep time, tank and equipment loading and unloading, getting tanks refilled between dives, cleanup and stowage after the trips - (minimum) 30. (this does not include all the time away from home, or any informal instruction over dinner etc)
Beer for Assistants (entire course - 14 (cheap) beers (average) $20
So, for somewhere from $360 to $720, a typical instructor is putting in about 66 hours and $20, plus wear & tear on his own equipment, which probably averages another $100 per course.
That works out to about $3.65 to $9 an hour... a hell of a deal for the student. The instructor could make more digging ditches even if he had to provide his own shovel.
Bottom line - if you intend to be a full time instructor, realize you must live on equipment sales and not your instructor commissions. A "traveling instructor" must be independently wealthy, or prepared to lead a frugal life and pick up odd jobs at other things.
Rick
 

Maggie

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Hi Greg,

All I can suggest is that you pay your debts off before you leave! All the Scuba Instructors I have met teach because of the love of it and not because of the money. Whatever money they do earn is not enough considering the responsibility they take on every time they enter the water with students. As far as I can see in most places around the world Instructors make enough to live on but that is all. If you like the high life then this is not for you. However if you like travelling and want to dive all around the world nothing could be better. Good luck - go for it!
 

SubMariner

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You need to get yourself debt free BEFORE you get into the biz.

Yes, there IS money to be made, but unless you are prepared to put a lot of time/sweat/effort and MONEY into it, you won't see anything back. Old saying: "how do you make a small fortune in the dive biz? Start with a LARGE one". :wink:

But seriously, you have to be very savy, do a lot of multi-level marketing/teaching to be successful both financially and professionally. Open Water classes are THE most labour & resource intensive courses out there. The industry tends to price them as "lost leaders", which fosters a lot of cut-throat competition and cheapens the whole biz. So don't look exclusively to that: expand your horizons and you'll succeed.

Keep growing. The more multi-faceted you are, the more marketable you will be. It also prevents you from getting burnt out: people that do nothing but Open Waters soon start feeling unfufilled and unchallenged. Variety IS the spice of life!

Ok... I'll get off my soapbox now.... :wink:

~SubMariner~
 

Remora

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Hi Greg!

This question has come up before. It was determined at that time that Mario was getting the best deal in N.America and everyone was lining up to get his position :). The shop I work for in Eastern Canada pays 50.00 Cdn per open water student,Instr is responsible for insurance and membership fees. We do get some deals on gear (10% over cost and free air and mixes) So as everyone else has advised pay your bills prior to leaving home and be prepared to eat alot of Kraft dinner!!

All the best!
 
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Teaching scuba diving should be a passion. In most places in the world, instructors do not earn as much as the minimum wage in the USA.

If you go to Asia where diving is not so bad at all, you earn even less.

In Boracay Island, Philippines, an instructor would earn based on commission. 35% of the course fee and the open water course is approximately USD $300. That gives you $105. Instructors provide their own equipment and teaching materials since most dive operation here do not have complete materials and it is expensive to invest because the visitors are mostly from different countries.

No customers, no money. To be a successful instructor, one has to be sincere in dealing with people and people come back even if they live halfway across the world. I have yet to meet a diver who did not enjoy their vacation here. That is a big plus for us. During the low season, our group seems to be the busiest operation even though the facility where I worked for before is not good or doesn't look good at all. We get lots of returning customers and referrals.

In the capital (city), there are a lot of freelance instructors. They generally earn a little bit more than instructors in Boracay but they have to do a lot more work like taking care of logistics and travelling to the nearest dive spots. They have to work first in established dive centers first and build up their own network of customers before turning freelance. Only a handful of them would be considered successful. Even so, they don't earn as much as most people in ... say USA.

My advice is pay off your debt. Protect your reputation and character, seriously consider what you want to do in life before going fulltime teaching. Teaching scuba diving will not make you rich or even allow you to save a substantial amount of money but let you have fun, meet people and feel fulfilled everytime a student says thank you. A downside is that in the unlikely event (sounds like PADI linggo) of an accident, your career is probably finished.

Hope this helps.

 

Mario S Caner

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Wow, $300 for an Open Water course is way up there! Here it's normally $145 year round with sales going on several times a year which bring the prices down to $99 for the open water course. At $300, the shops around here would make a killing!

There are downside's to working with the operation mentioned in my above post. They require you to dive with and sell only what they carry in the store... which is not always what you want to dive with... They are also not a dedicated dive store, in that they often get 'distracted' by many other divisions normally inherant to sporting goods chains.
 
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Lemme see... it is USD $300 in Boracay for the open water course, about USD $200 in Manila (capital of Philippines)... I heard in one of the bigger dive center in the Maldives, they are charging more than USD $500 for the course! They also get lots of divers too like their all-time record is more than 400 tank dives in one day. That particular shop had about 21 instructors.

How many divers get certified in the USA? Lots, that probably explains the lower course fee.

 

Rick Murchison

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Y'all have to be careful when comparing "course costs." For example, our course costs "$199" most of the time, and we run a "2 for one" special every winter. But that's just the bare course fee, covering lectures and pool sessions and use of a system in the pool. Our weekends (two) cost another $100 each, and if the student hasn't bought their own Scuba system yet, another $25 each for a rental system. So the course cost is really about $450 - $500 not counting any equipment the student buys, or food or lodging or transportation to the open water checkout dives.
Rick
 
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