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Virgin diver needs to go from no experience - employed ASAP

Discussion in 'Going Pro' started by @Therealmattpinkarts, Aug 3, 2016.

  1. Oldbear

    Oldbear Teaching Neutral Diving

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Marshall Islands and Westminster, Co
    I did my Divemaster in Honduras at Utila Dive Center and liked my instruction and enjoyed the experience. I was a certified diver for about 5 years before I got there so I knew by this time I wanted the career in Diving. I am a construction/project manager by career and a dive instructor as a secondary career.

    So to answer your questions here are my opinions:

    1) Go to Utila Dive Center for your instruction. Travel Costs ≈$1500-$2000
    2) Take their Premium Instructor Package - From Open Water Cert - Master Scuba Diver Trainer (2nd level of dive instructor): Course Cost $6300
    3) The Course will last 6-8 months so assuming an average living level in Utila ≈$200-$400 per week so total living expenses could be ≈ $5200 - $13,600
    4) Equipment ≈$2000-$4000; BCD, quality regulators, a couple masks, fins, snorkel, a couple sets of dive booties, a couple 3mm wet suits 3mm for Utila, dive bag, numerous rash guards and board shorts, dive computer...one that is easy to operator and show students data, misc. small tools.
    5) Unless the dive training center is training you to hire there is no guarantee that they or you will find work. You most likely have to leave Utila to find work as there are numerous highly experienced instructors willing to come there for the "Dive Instructor's Life"...so the completion is crazy.
    6) Like others have said you need more to offer a shop than just a smile and an Instructor's card...it is "what can you do for them". Are you fluent in other than English languages; in Asia Chinese and Russian are big; in the Caribbean the European languages are needed. Can you work on boats and compressors? What business skills do you have, e.g. web design, social media administration, accounting, marketing, sales? Are you a construction craftsman, e.g. electrician, plumber, carpenter, small operation facilities are always breaking down and in third world country's the handy your are the better. We saw boat captains mentioned earlier, well boats need constant maintenance.

    If this is what you truly want to do than do it...do not let others rain on your parade...but to start out it will cost you about $25,000 that first year and this is only for a basic Recreational Instructor. If you want to branch out into the other realms of diving, sidemount, technical, rebreathers, Cave...it really gets expensive.

    Good luck...

  2. dinogj

    dinogj Garibaldi

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Florida
    This is my first post, but I have to say this is quite an informative little thought experiment. After a little internet stalking it seems like OP fashions himself a photographer of sorts. Now onto my observation, lots of these dive industry jobs somewhat mirror the path of those who seek to become a "marine biologist" in that from the start there is enormous competition from a lot of very highly qualified individuals, of which half probably look pretty good in a bikini. Now being an average dude yourself, you're really going to need to bring something to the table in order to get over the initial "bikini bump" so many cool industries face at the bottom.
  3. muzzon

    muzzon Angel Fish

    Here's what I would do if I were doing this:

    1) Get certified where you live. You can then see if you are even able to or like to dive before getting to the other side of the world.

    I have vertigo, which is sometimes extremely bad. I love diving when things go well, but there's no way I could be a DM or instructor since my body needs to feel PERFECT before I get in. But, I'll pretend that doesn't exist for the sake of this post.

    2) I'd then choose a region that I am familiar with and know that I like. You need to be okay with the topside life there too. I know I love South East Asia - in particular Thailand, Philippines and Indonesia - so I would probably go there. $40k USD could cover the basic costs of living in those areas for probably 1-2 years (but you would need to factor in the training costs, obviously).

    3) Once I got there I'd probably look for work external to diving, to make sure that I can survive long-term. I have a degree in marketing, so I'd consider setting up a small social media, web-design, market research type venture in an area where diving is prevalent. I'd probably look for a dive shop that is in need of help in those areas, hoping to sign them as a client so that they'd pay me with training.

    4) Work my way up and hope that I start making more money as I gain experience and then I can start slowing down my marketing venture.

    As other people have said, getting to know your background would be a huge help in suggesting the best way to do this. I am not in any way an "elitist". I'm an inexperienced diver with roughly 15 registered dives, but in my honest opinion it sounds like you're running away to join the circus.
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2016
    wnissen, Scuba Scott and KathyV like this.
  4. Murky Waters

    Murky Waters Manta Ray

    Lots of really good advice in this thread. Interesting to read.
  5. Murky Waters

    Murky Waters Manta Ray

    Consider the advice against doing what you seem to be planning to do as "reality checks" which you asked for initially.
    Kharon, Newdiv and Lorenzoid like this.
  6. Subway Watersports

    Subway Watersports Angel Fish

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras
    Hi Matt!

    We offer really great Divemaster and Instructor internships that can take you from zero to dive professional for very reasonable rates with everything included, even your accommodation, meals and rental equipment! We also offer a really unique experience for our GoPro Green Divemaster candidates, including free shark dives, diving on all four sides of Roatan (we are the only dive shop to offer this) and so much more! If you're interested in quality training and competitive prices, send us an e-mail to internship@roatandiveacademy.com. We look forward to hearing from you soon!
  7. Altamira

    Altamira ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Canyon Lake, TX
    Hi Matt,
    Since no one has mentioned this, I will toss out another option for you to consider, an option that has the potential to give you all the dive training that you can handle while paying you to do it. But, like everything else in the world, it is not a free lunch. Take a good look at dive opportunities in the military. The Navy has programs that train people for their underwater specialties, and The Air Force has a Pararescue (PJ) specialist program as part of their Special Operations force. Your profile page does not give much information as to your background and current skill set/profession, but your age puts you in the window for at least the Air Force's PJ program. None of those programs is going to be a cake walk, even for those physically and mentally gifted, but they can give you a sense of pride, purpose, accomplishment and a reasonable income if you work hard and make it through the program. That kind of training can open a lot of doors for you in the future, even if you decide not to make the military a career. As an example, I have a friend that started as an Air Force PJ, then was selected for Officer Training, serving a 20 year career, has been diving for 50+ years, and owns a top notch dive shop and is a Course Director for PADI and I think SSI. This is just one possible path for your career aspirations.

    P.S. You have received some very good advice on this board, even good advice from those you perceive as being negative. Keep in mind that advice given, even if discouraging, often comes from people that have gone down the path you are trying to follow, and are giving you a more well rounded perspective about the realities of working in the dive industry. If you are not familiar with the tale of the bird, the cow, and the cat, Google it, and remember that everyone that poops on your head (your dream in this case) is not your enemy.
    Murky Waters and Oldbear like this.
  8. Diving Dubai

    Diving Dubai Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dubai UAE
    To the OP

    Mine will be short post.

    When You take your OW cert, and you're underwater for the first time, outside your comfort zone, possibly in a panic. Do you want the person you're relying on to save your life to be:

    A. Someone who's had a great deal of experience in diving, worked themselves slowly to be an instructor while getting real life experience and dealt with real life problems before

    B: someone who's been diving for only 6 months and has only 100 dive, most of which have been under training and with little experience in the real world?

    B: Is what you propose to be, and expect others to put your life in their hands.
    Wingy, Kharon and Newdiv like this.
  9. Diver0001

    Diver0001 Instructor, Scuba

    Forget about the diving part of it.

    The quickest and easiest way I can think of to get involved in the diving industry in "some way" would be to go to work in a shop. You can learn to service regulators quickly, which will improve your employability, and working in a shop will teach you a lot about the industry and the gear. Once you're working you can catch your breath and decide what to do with the diving end of it.

    On the short term, regulator technician, and becoming an oxygen-provider and EFR instructor can be done without ever hitting the water and it will broaden the scope of things you can learn to do quickly and easily.

    From there I would suggest looking at things like gas blending, perhaps maintenance for compressors, tank inspection certifications, maintaining boat motors and/or boats, getting a driver's licence if you don't have one and getting licenced to drive a boat, etc etc etc. This is all related to the gear and "other" stuff that a SHOP requires to keep the business running.

    In addition, if you have run a business before that's gold. Dive shops are often run by well meaning hobbyists whose hobby got out of control but very few are run by people who actually know how to run a business. If you have skills in business administration, marketing and other organisational skills then you may find yourself a new niche very quickly.

    In fact, those skills are probably more marketable and in demand in the diving industry world wide than scuba instructors. There is an incredible glut of instructors in the market so making money at it is hard, even if you're experienced and good at it. A great many scuba instructors are jealous of people who make minimum wage. That's not a joke.

    If, in the end, you finally do learn how to dive after you get yourself established and you want to learn to teach then go ahead and do that but as a jack-of-all-trades that focuses on keeping a shop running, you will make more money with less risk and you'll be able to become competent a lot faster.

    Good luck.
  10. MX727

    MX727 PADI Pro

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Near Memphis
    Get your OW and then check on an internship at Rainbow Reef. They will take you up through instructor. If you do well, they may hire you at the end of your internship. If not, you should be able to find a job in the Keys. 35K should be plenty to live on.

    Good luck whatever you decide.

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