Are you dreaming of life as a scuba diving instructor? Are you imagining yourself on a tropical island scuba diving and meeting people from all around the world? If so, the PADI Instructor Development Course (IDC) is your starting point for turning your dreams into a reality. Deciding to change your career is a big step, so we have put together a list of things you should consider before taking your IDC.

What is an IDC?

IDC stands for Instructor Development Course. It’s the course you need to take to become a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor (OWSI). IDC’s are taught by PADI Course Directors, the highest level and most respected professional rating in scuba diving.

The PADI IDC is divided into two components, the Assistant Instructor course and the Open Water Scuba Instructor course. It’s possible to take these courses separately if you don’t want to take them both in one go. After you successfully complete both segments, you will then be eligible to take the PADI Instructor Examination, also known as the PADI IE. Instructor Examinations are invigilated by PADI Examiners (this may sound scary but it’s really not!).

After successfully completing your PADI IE, you’ll then be qualified to teach the following PADI Courses: Open Water Diver, Advanced Open Water Diver, Rescue Diver, Divemaster, Peak Performance Buoyancy specialty, AWARE Coral Reef Conservation and PADI AWARE specialty courses.

During the IDC, you’ll learn how to teach the skills from each of these courses, and you’ll study and learn about PADI Standards and General Procedures. You’ll also cover the following key topics: Learning and Teaching, Risk Management, Teaching in Confined Water, Developing Knowledge Development Presentations, Conducting Open Water Dives, and Sales Techniques, to name but some. By the time you are done, you’ll be geared up for life in the diving industry!

How Long Does the Course Take?

Depending on where you choose to take your Instructor Development Course and what type of schedule you choose, it can be completed in under two weeks or you can complete it over a couple of months. Full-time and part-time options are available, so you can choose what suits you and your schedule.

a padi instructor helps a new diver set up their scuba equipment

Where Should I Take My Instructor Development Course?

Where you choose to take the course depends entirely on your needs. Here are some points to consider when making your decision:

  • Do you want to study part time or full time?
  • Do you want the course to fit around your existing schedule or do you want to take a holiday and take the course in another location?
  • Do you know which location you would like to work in after the course? If it’s not an area you are familiar with, taking the course there will help you to familiarize yourself with it. However, it’s not essential to take the IDC in the region you want to work – as a PADI Instructor you’ll be able to travel and work worldwide.
  • Check who the Course Director will be and ask for information if you are not familiar with them.
  • Do you prefer to study in larger groups or smaller groups? Ask how many people are booked on the course and what the size of the groups is on average.
  • Are you planning to go into full-time employment as an instructor after the course? If so, ask about employment possibilities and job placements.

How Much Does an Instructor Development Course Cost?

  • IDC costs vary depending on where you choose to study.
  • Shop around and get a feel for what the prices are in your chosen location. Check what is included and what is excluded. An IDC that appears expensive may actually include accommodation and additional course bolt-ons to work out cheaper in the long run.
  • Ask questions! Don’t be afraid to ask anything that you are not sure about. You are making an investment in your future.

Two PADI instructors hug each other like friends near the shoreline

How Easy is it to Find Work After the Instructor Development Course?

After successfully completing your IDC and IE, you’ll soon have your instructor credentials!. As soon as you have that confirmation, you can start teaching.

If you are looking for work, PADI Dive Centers worldwide post available positions on the PADI Job Board. Check it out now to see all the exciting positions where you can live the dream. Once you have a personal login for the PADI Pros’ Site, you can find this at the top right-hand corner of the homepage under ‘Job Board.’ It is a really valuable tool to be aware of and can be quite inspiring.

I personally found work within 2 days of becoming a PADI Instructor. I checked the PADI Job Board and applied for some positions, but I also emailed dive centers I previously dived and took courses with. I had interview requests in no time; however, ultimately I joined the team where I took my PADI Divemaster course and stayed there for four years!

What are the Prerequisites for the PADI IDC?

Before enrolling in the PADI IDC, you’ll need to:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have at least 60 logged dives (100 before attending the IE)
  • Have been a certified diver for at least six months
  • Have a current medical attesting to your diving fitness signed by a physician within the previous 12 months
  • Hold a current Emergency First Response (EFR) certification, or equivalent (within the last 24 months)
  • Hold a leadership-level diving certification, such as a PADI Divemaster rating

two divers descend underwater in Curacao

How Hard is the PADI IDC?

The Instructor Development Course is designed to strengthen your diving skills, but it is an intensive course. The course includes assessments and exams, but PADI Course Directors, who teach IDCs, are trained to help students become successful instructors. Many students find the IDC stressful and challenging yet rewarding.

As we’ve discussed, the final step is the IE. An IE takes place over two days during which an Examiner will review your teaching abilities both in the classroom as well as in the water. You will also have your in-water rescue skills reviewed and complete some written exams. Your PADI Course Director will have prepared you well for life as an instructor during the IDC, so passing the IE is just another step along the way.

How Do I Get Started with the IDC?

Research! Decide at which PADI Instructor Development Center or Career Development Center you want to take the IDC, then email or call them and ask questions, such as the two examples below:

  • Do they offer career development packages to help you succeed as an instructor?
  • Do they offer job placement services?

If you have a passion for scuba diving, want to be able to work anywhere around the world and live every diver’s dream, then you should consider taking your IDC. Find out more information by contacting a PADI Dive Shop today.

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