Become a Dive Instructor – Make the Right Choices!
What dive training organization to choose?
Has Covid got you thinking about making some serious changes to your life once restrictions are lifted? If you’re reading this, you might be considering becoming a dive professional. Perhaps you’ve already set this goal and you’re researching how to best start on this life changing path!
If this is you, there are 3 big choices you need to make. 1. Where to do your Instructor Development Course 2. With whom you want to learn 3. Which training organization you want to be affiliated with?
The question of ‘where’ I have addressed in various blogs and have been Live On Facebook to describe the benefits of learning within a community like Koh Tao, Thailand. To answer the question of ‘with whom’, I can only encourage you to interview CDs (Course Directors) and Dive Centres that are on your list. Of course, I encourage you to start with Ban’s and Assava Dive Resort but consider things like facilities, staff experience, speed of reply to enquiries, enthusiasm for teaching, commitment to the ocean environment and their career counseling program.
Now, the question of ‘which training organization’ to choose is where I want to spend some time. Let me begin by saying that I am totally bias and heavily opinionated on this topic. Not only do I currently offer training under the PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) banner, but I also formerly represented this company on a corporate level. Before all of that, I was so brand affectionate that I named my dog PADI (seriously). So, I guess you know what I’m likely to suggest, but let me do my best to defend why.
There are literally dozens of scuba diving agencies to choose from. Some emphasize their strengths in specialized training, while others differentiate on price. If you ask me, PADI as an organization doesn’t focus their energy on comparisons with other brands. Instead, PADI has consistently demonstrated that they remain dedicated to the growth of the industry, the educational validity of their programs and the development of competent divers.
So, what does that mean to you as new Dive Instructor? Very basically it means work, employment, or a return on your investment (which we could all use a little of right now). PADI invests a considerable amount of resources into increasing public awareness of scuba diving and into ensuring the name PADI is synonymous with diver certification. I can’t tell you how many times a perfect stranger recognized the logo on my shirt, stop me and said, “I got my PADI too”!
As a result of this brand awareness, it is estimated that 70% of global diver certifications are PADI. This market share figure includes the cumulative total of core certifications such as Open Water, Advanced and Rescue as well as specialized programs like Tec, Freediver, and Adaptive Teaching. So even if other brands are cheaper, wouldn’t you want to be able to offer what the consumer is asking for? As they say, would you rather 70% of watermelon or 100% of a grape?
This is why (and it’s not a secrete) that PADI is the price leader for diver training – it is worth the investment! The reaction other agencies had to Covid was to discount professional membership. Generous, yes (and if PADI decide to do the same during the upcoming renewal period, great) but very short-term thinking as their primary plan. PADI on the other hand, ramped up communication with members, strengthened their offerings as business consultants, invested in digital learning technologies, and financially incentivized the consumer if they got started with eLearning from home during lockdown. Their approach to this novel situation was based on a long-term strategy to support the health of the industry and to make sure potential student divers are ready to jump in the water when restrictions are lifted. So, what’s more important – a quick discount now or more divers in the future for you to teach?
Another clear example of this different approach can be seen through the recent offer from other agencies of a professional crossover ‘virtually free’ if you hold PADI Instructor ratings. If I read this right, they’re literally saying you should prioritize getting PADI accredited and in turn they’ll recognize the quality of your training by giving away their brand with the wave of a magic wand. It also once again reinforces that their focus is chipping away at market share instead of industry growth.
Most important however, is that with more PADI students trained by you, we can grow and connect with the existing community of 27+ million PADI divers. This collective can continue to bring forward new scuba technologies, explore undiscovered areas of our oceans and introduce improved educational diver programs to reach wider audiences. This community can be a strong common voice in an effort to better protect our oceans and be Torchbearers for the next generation of underwater explorers.
Choose Koh Tao. Interview Ban’s and Assava Dive Resort. Insist on PADI.