Job Description for a Diving Instructor

A love of marine life is essential for a diving instructor.

A love of marine life is essential for a diving instructor.

Diving instructors specialize in demonstrating safe scuba diving techniques, working outdoors -- most often underwater -- most of the day. Dive instructors teach students individually or in groups using discussions and demonstrations; their main objective is to teach dive safety so students are confident in basic scuba skills. Though the salary tends to be low -- an average of $27,000 per year as of spring 2013, according to -- the job gives diving enthusiasts the opportunity to make a career out of a hobby and do what they love in year-round tropical climates.

Job Duties

A diving instructor teaches scuba diving techniques -- first in a swimming pool and later in open water -- to individuals who want to dive recreationally or obtain their scuba certification. The instructor's main objectives are to demonstrate basic scuba skills, accompany divers underwater and adapt to emergency situations so the student is confident and prepared for the activity. The instructor interacts with students during the dive and must continually monitor performance to provide suggestions and additional training as needed. Additional responsibilities include maintaining and transporting equipment, driving students to dive sites, stocking the boat appropriately with supplies and adhering to environmental protection procedures.


The Professional Association of Dive Instructors and the National Association of Underwater Instructors offer extensive training programs for diving enthusiasts interested in gaining certification to teach. In addition to the certification requirements of most positions, diving instructors should also hold valid CPR and first aid certification from an approved licensing agency and be comfortable instructing in front of an audience. A love and extensive knowledge of marine life also help.

Working Conditions

Diving instructors work in a variety of locations, including beach stands, cruise ships, vacation resorts and dive shops. They lead discussions and give lectures and demonstrations in a classroom or on a boat and are sometimes responsible for driving the dive team to the site and piloting the boat in open water. Diving instructors stay active most of the day, leading accompanied dives, beginner dives and certification courses, with the possibility of some phone or retail work around the dive shop.

Employment and Certification

Diving instructors work in dive shops, cruise ships, resorts and other beach locations around the world. Certification agencies provide licensing so the scuba hobbyist can advance into a career as a scuba diving instructor. Both PADI and NAUI require that applicants be at least 18 years of age, possess a basic scuba certification with their own gear and have logged dives at varying depths and times.

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About the Author

Based in Tampa, Fla., Danielle Fernandez been writing, editing and illustrating all things technology, lifestyle and education since 1999. Her work has appeared in the Tampa Tribune, Working Mother magazine, and a variety of technical publications, including BICSI's "Telecommunications Distribution Methods Manual." Fernandez holds a bachelor's degree in English from the University of South Florida.

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