Scuba Diving Instructor Programs

scuba dive

Trade Schools with Diving Instructor Programs

Educational Options


Since there is no specific Scuba diving instructor degree available, divers typically obtain certification through organizations that specialize in underwater diving.

Individuals can become certified at a variety of locations, including certain colleges, military academies and commercial diving schools.

Keep in mind that every educator offers different training and qualifications suited to a number of different fields.


There are many institutions that offer scuba certification, including the Professional Association of Diving Instructors, PADI, and the National Association of Underwater Instructors, NAUI.

Successfully completing these programs allows workers to dive in open water and educate others.

Keep in mind that some agencies offer international certification while others do not, so knowing where you’d like to work is important.

What Is a Scuba Diving Instructor?

Scuba diving instructors are responsible for teaching the proper diving techniques and safety procedures necessary for underwater dives.

Most work involves training consumers for recreational diving, though some scuba diving instructor jobs focus on educating rescue workers, marine biologists, shipyard workers and underwater photographers.

Closely-related to instructors are divemasters, though these employees can only serve as assistants and not actually lead dives the way instructors do.

Career Overview

Job Requirements

There are a number of special requirements hopefuls must meet to become a diving instructor, many of which are included in their certification.

In order to become certified a diver must demonstrate the ability to complete a variety of water tests. These endurance trials measure a person’s ability to swim for long periods and under different circumstances.

Some of these tests include variations of a 400 yard swim and 800 yard snorkeling test, as well as performing underwater equipment changes in a specific amount of time.

Job Duties

The main goal of a scuba diving instructor job is to successfully teach other individuals how to dive. However, there are many more duties involved in accomplishing this task. A few other responsibilities include:

  • Ensuring the safety of all students in a diving party
  • Properly prepare diving equipment
  • Transport divers by boat to locations out at sea
  • Manage schedules and book diving sessions
  • Offer guide services to customers
  • Teach customers about marine life
  • Plan and map out dive sites
  • Organize search and rescue dives if necessary

What Types of Skills Should Scuba Diving Instructors Possess?

Scuba diving instructor careers involve more than simply diving. Working with people of different personalities, thinking on your feet and maintaining peak physical health are also necessary.

Public Speaking

Whether they’re speaking to an individual and or entire dive party, scuba diving instructors must be effective communicators. They must clearly instruct people on the purpose and function of their diving equipment, as well as signs to look out for while diving.

Also, everyone learns differently and adapting to each diver’s specific needs is essential to their training.

Other skills instructors must possess include:

  • Advanced swimming skills
  • Communication skills
  • Certification in first aid and CPR
  • Multi-lingual skills
  • Positive mental attitude
  • Willingness to work long hours
  • Risk management skills

What Should New Workers Expect?

Upon finishing a scuba diving instructor school program, workers should expect to relocate or commute to an area with high job concentration.

They should also expect employers to request their diving certification in order to work. After gaining employment, scuba instructors enjoy an exciting and fulfilling career serving others in an environment they love.

Work Environment

A scuba instructor often fulfills their job duties in two separate locations: the classroom and the water.

Maintaining a clean, organized classroom includes making sure every student has the tools they need to complete the course. Items like pencils, paper, forms, white boards and desks are all part of making in-class training a success.

In the water, which is where a majority of the hands-on training occurs, the environment is less controlled. This means that an instructor must be able to account for any circumstances, both expected and unforeseen, that could affect an individual’s training.

Possible poor weather conditions, mechanical issues with the boat and broken diving equipment should always be on an instructor’s mind during a dive.

Where Do They Work?

There are a number of locations a scuba diving instructor might find work. While some depend on location and time of year, others involve traveling to other areas year-round.

A few places qualified divers might find work include:

  • Resorts
  • Dive shops
  • Local recreational facilities
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Cruise ships
  • Coastal construction sites

Can You Work Remotely?

In some cases, remote instruction for classroom education is possible. However, all hands-on training must be performed in person without exception.

Determining if a person is capable and knowledgeable enough to swim and follow the required safety precautions can only be assessed together in the water.

Other Career Options for Scuba Diving Instructors?


Thanks to their knowledge of ocean life, diving instructors are well-suited for a career in the sciences. Areas such as marine archaeology and biology are popular choices among workers.

Law Enforcement

Interested workers can also branch out into areas of law enforcement as a public safety diver to address accidents on the water. The income and availability of these alternate scuba diving instructor careers each depends on factors like your location and the time of year.

Film Support

Although not as common, there is sometimes a need for certified divers to assist on movie sets during filming.


Some scuba diving instructors may own and operate private dive shops, work as an underwater photographer, become a golf ball diver or pursue commercial diving opportunities.

Career Outlook

Due to the nature of the field, scuba diving instructor careers are often directly tied to a region’s level of tourism.

Coastal cities with popular vacation spots are more likely to offer a higher number of jobs than a land-locked state.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 12% increase in jobs through 2020 in states like Florida, California and Texas.