Work and Travel
Over the years I have learned the easiest way to work and travel, and I found this so easy to do, so I wanted to pass along this information. Over the next couple of weeks, I am planning on writing a couple of posts to help make this work. PADI (Professional Association Diving Instructors), When I was preparing to retire from the Navy, I was working on my next career, I came across a website out of Pattaya Thailand offering PADI Instructor programs where you would live, train and learn how to be a diving instructor while living in Thailand.
Here is how it works…
The way this works is really quite simple. You will need to have a small amount of money behind you in order to start this off. I would personally complete the Open Water to Open Water Scuba Instructor training from start to finish. One thing I would steer away from and that is anywhere that speaks like, “Zero to Hero” as they will not have the right mind set in order to train and become a really great instructor!
There are a number of very good dive stores in the Lower Mainland, Ocean Quest comes to mind for a couple of reasons, and the first is I was a Course Director at Ocean Quest, and I worked as a Director at Capilano University for their PADI Instructor Program that ran for a number of years before being shut down. Greg McCracken is the owner of this school, and he has a large number of years under his belt as Course Director, he has help many people find work over seas, but to be fair he has not really been in the world of travel and teaching. However, you certainly would not go wrong taking a program from Greg.
I would recommend that you do your Instructor training in a cold water environment for a couple of reasons and the primary one is the fact is diving is more challenging in cold water, so when you get that first teaching job in the warm water world, you will find it pretty simple, and this will allow you to concentrate more on your teaching.
Open water to Instructor is the way to go
I have had this argument with many of the divers who have been sitting at the Rescue Diver level or even Divemaster. Their beliefs are that they should take a number of years between learning to dive and becoming an instructor, as only with experience actual diving experience will make you a good instructor.
This thought process is not entirely wrong, there is nothing wrong with getting diving experience prior to becoming an instructor, certainly this makes sense for sure. Though not the way in which most people do it. So what happens You take your Open Water course, then a few months or even years later you take the Advanced Open Water. Then a year later the Rescue course. After you complete the Rescue course you then look at the Divemaster and maybe even the Instructor Development Course (IDC) right after since you in theory have gotten the bug.
The problem with doing the Instructor Level in this manner, you have plenty of time to develop bad habits, non “PADI” habits which will be far more difficult to change as now, you believe even when your Course Director is telling you that the habits need to get changed its a fight to fix the bad habit.
Where, if you enter into to a full on instructor program, you will go through your Open Water, and Advanced Open Water almost one week apart. After you get your Advanced out of the way, you need to dive! Most instructor programs make it possible for you to reach your 100 possibly even the 150 dive mark before you get to the IDC. This training is 5 – 6 days a week, where you are fully immersed in diving and the skills needed to become a professional instructor.
Now on the other end of your training, you are only and “Open Water Dive Instructor” though a huge feat, you are just a new Professional, that needs to work with more experienced instructors to help develop and hone your skills. If you can be lucky enough to work in an IDC center where there is a Course Director working, you can still spend many hours learning and developing your skills to make you an excellent OWSI.
How many PADI courses do I need to take?
This is an excellent question to ask, there are some core courses that are mandatory in order to be able to take the IDC, and then the Instructors Exam (IE). I will break it down into Core and Electives;
The core courses are needed to be able to take the IE, and is the basis to all your knowledge. When it comes to the Specialty courses it is so important to take these courses, and please do not take this wrong, as I fully understand you could just go an dive a wreck for a number of occasions and then simply write to PADI, prove the number of dives you have and presto you get the Specialty Instructor.
However, when you take the course for example, and you are on the Open Water to Instructor training, we teach the course as if you are going to be an instructor, so you can see all that needs to be taught, and also, some great pointers to learn how to teach the course. This makes your teaching that much stronger. Don’t cheep out, purchase some of better courses I listed above, and remember you need to continue to grow as an instructor so you can be sought after in the market…what is it that makes you stand out!
I’m all ready for the my IDC and IE then its Off to Southeast Asia!
My plan all along was work and travel, so I was set up to take my IDC and IE in late April, and then I was planning on working the summer at the dive center I took the IDC at, and then I was headed to Southeast Asia in the fall so I could set up and work their seasons over in the orient.
The IDC was world wind course, perfecting your Dive skills as an instructor, and learning to teach the PADI in the classroom, pool and Ocean. Everything you need to successful complete the IE is taught to you, and all it takes is for you to take the time to learn it, live it, and love it.
The IE, is completed over two 8 hour days, and the exam is broken down to Pool. Rescue, Open Ocean, Written Theory examination and classroom theory presentations. It is a long couple of days, but your PADI IDC should prepare you for it. In fact the IDC should be much much harder then the IE ever is, if that is the case then you will be super ready for your exam!
Ok… you PASSED Outstanding! What’s next…
Ok, so you Aced your PADI IE, and you are now an Open Water Scuba instructor. You have a choice to make now, and trust me it’s a tough choice to make. Do I stay in the IDC Dive Center and sign up for the MSDT Course, or do I venture off and start working somewhere cool in the world.
Here is my suggestion, and since I am out of the diving world now, you can trust on the fact I am making the suggestion to helped me the most find my first work, and not me being driven to make another sale, so I can pad my pay cheque. What, someone is going to be honest with!
So, here is the scenario, you and I are applying for the same job somewhere in Southeast Asia. You are and Open Water Scuba Instructor, with lets say 5 Specialties, and I well I am a MSDT, I have the same Specialties as you, however they already know I have taught a few course and have at least 25 certificated divers under my belt. That is just the basis for getting the MSDT instructor level. So we will both get paid the same, so who do you think they will lean towards. Right, take the MSDT Course, get the experience and get working.
Time to find that first job!
So, I am a PADI MSDT and it is time to move away from the cold and find some place that you can only dream of living. I picked Thailand, if you can not tell yet, I love everything to do with Southeast Asia. I love exploring and the only way I could figure out to do this was to find a work and travel job, which for me worked perfectly.
The first thing you need to do, is get on to the PADI Pro website as there is a set of jobs boards in there, and you can start searching for a place to work. As I was looking for places to apply to, I was also working to save as much money as possible. I normally had $2000.00 – $5000.00 in a savings account that I called my Emergency Account, this was not money that I planned using to live with, it was my emergency fund. Money was available if I needed to bug our quickly.
The other thing I had, was a Master Card and a Visa. The Master Card was empty, and it was there as well for emergencies, incase the Visa was not accepted and Visy versa. The next thing I did was put away money to go on a holiday with, even though I was applying for work, I was fully intending to go on a vacation as the diving in Canada was slowing down, and the plan was to be on the ground ready to go, when the busy season was picking up.
Be sure to come back for part 2 of this post where, I will go over the different things I did to find work while I was over seas, how I was able to stay in Southeast Asia and work, and enjoy the beaches and the warm weather. Leave your comments below if you have any questions about getting your diving certificate completed I still have plenty of contacts to help you find a good place to take this training. We will also, discuss in depth why you want to do this training in the cold water vice in the tropics.