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Part time vs full time instructors

Discussion in 'Q and A for Scuba Certification Agencies' started by bvbellomo, Aug 5, 2020.

  1. bvbellomo

    bvbellomo Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: United States
    154
    16
    18
    I am a recreational diver. As I get further along with my certifications (SSI), I am thinking about 'Dive Guide', 'Instructor', etc as it would be fun to lead trips and certify new students. I am not considering this as a career change or a way to make money, and the > $100 annual fee is somewhat discouraging.

    The parallel I can think of is marital arts. Most (but not all) good karate Sensei have other full positions, and in while in many cases marital arts is as important or more important than their 'day job' it isn't a primary source of income. I am somewhere between an instructor and a student - I can teach karate, but generally either assist a primary instructor or just focus on learning, and while I could open my own dojo, I don't see myself doing that anytime soon. And even if I did open my own Dojo, I would do so without quitting my day job, which would be a much bigger commitment.

    How does this work for diving professionals? Are most people full time with no other income? Or do part time instructors exist like Karate? Do they tend to at least make enough to cover their SSI fees or is this just the cost of taking the hobby to the next level?
     
  2. tbone1004

    tbone1004 Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Greenville, South Carolina, United States
    17,287
    9,240
    113
    The annual fee is only a piece of the puzzle, insurance is nearly $1k that you have to add on top of it and is mandatory. Making that money back teaching OW courses is a great way to burn yourself out since they pay peanuts.
     
  3. Hartattack

    Hartattack PADI Pro

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Campaign, IL
    198
    121
    43
    Can confirm. I teach part-time, but its because I love doing it and can afford the insurance and gear expenses with my full-time job money. My Instructor money goes back into the business or provides me cool trips, and further instruction like tec courses I want to take.
    Some do it as a full-time gig and more power to them; sadly, I got burnt out at the puppy mill and decided to get a day-job.
     
    Bowers and evandroairton like this.
  4. bvbellomo

    bvbellomo Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: United States
    154
    16
    18
    Yikes! Is that professional liability insurance or something else? Is it through ssi? Is that just for people who own their own dive center or anyone doing anything official?
     
    Diving Dubai likes this.
  5. sea_ledford

    sea_ledford Captain

    567
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    Most instructors are part time with real jobs on the side. That doesn't really do the industry a service though. A lot of them will teach "for the love of it", so they don't mind only making peanuts, or trading time for other classes, trips, gear deals, free fills, etc.

    But really a professional level rating that takes over 100 hours of training at a minimum, is risky enough to have mandated $1,000,000 ($2m suggested at this point) liability coverage, professional association dues, and take untrained people into environments that are inhospitable to human life should NOT be paid in barter.

    PADIs Go Pro! campaign did a lot to make that happen, but all the instructors that accept the pay perpetuate it.

    Imagine a plumber working for a discount at Home Depot. "Well, I don't really make much at this, but I get PVC for half off!"

    -Chris
     
    aviator8, Jonn, evandroairton and 3 others like this.
  6. tbone1004

    tbone1004 Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Greenville, South Carolina, United States
    17,287
    9,240
    113
    Professional liability. It's through the insurance houses not the agencies. DAN is who I use, and it's actually about $800, but close enough.
    Not required in some other countries, but mandatory here. It's BS, but it is what it is
     
    Caveeagle likes this.
  7. a878bob

    a878bob Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Michigan
    593
    263
    63
    Cost of certification classes
    Cost of traveling to class/exam
    Yearly SSI professional fee
    Yearly Teaching liability insurance
    Yearly Personal diving accident insurance
    Periodic mandatory SSI update and travel

    Yea, your not coming out ahead on this one.
    You can put the money into teaching or put it into diving. Can't have it both ways.
     
    Diving Dubai likes this.
  8. wetb4igetinthewater

    wetb4igetinthewater Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Seattle
    4,616
    2,923
    113
    The only time being a part time instructor makes sense is if you want to do it full time in the future and have to learn by trial by fire. Not many CDs/ITs teach you how to teach, but rather pass the IE. I know only a couple cases of great instructors right out of the gate.

    If you want to open your own dive op, then yeah, it makes sense. Otherwise, save your money for equipment, trips, and proper training.
     
    aviator8 likes this.
  9. broncobowsher

    broncobowsher Solo Diver

    1,574
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    The only way I see it being a viable full time job is in a place where you have a steady stream of people with enough volume to actually work full time at it. In other words, work a vacation destination. Get the tourist in a steady flow. Since it is a vacation it will be the quickest class possible, you will have hundreds of students a year, and never see the same one come back. You will be making your living on quantity, not quality. You will be doing the same thing every day. Get ready for burn out.
     
  10. wetb4igetinthewater

    wetb4igetinthewater Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Seattle
    4,616
    2,923
    113
    Just to add, I'm only doing it on the side because I plan to open my own dive op. There is a huge amount of liability. I much prefer being an independent instructor as I teach for an agency that allows me to add sensible requirements (more dives obviously) to courses.
     
    Hartattack likes this.

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