PADI Assistant Instructor Program

By Tamara Collins

Opportunities abound for those who love scuba diving. Not only do divers have the power to explore a world seldom seen, they can make this world the setting for their profession. Imagine opening people's eyes to the beauty of life underwater, teaching them to be safe, conscientious divers and leading them on their first underwater exploration. Dive industry professionals can own a dive shop or resort, work their way around the world on a live-aboard or teach in the idyllic setting of a tropical resort.

But being a dive professional is not merely an extended vacation, it can be hard work and requires a series of leadership level courses. One of the first steps along the path of dive professionalism is certification as a PADI Assistant Instructor. This course can be taken at numerous PADI affiliated dive centers around the world.

As an Assistant Instructor you will have many important duties. First and foremost is, obviously, assisting the instructors in the classroom and during confined and open water training sessions. You will also be able to lead divers on underwater tours, certify students as PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy Specialty divers and conduct the Discover Scuba pool experience. With additional training as a Medic First Aid and PADI Specialty Instructor, you can conduct the Medic First Aid course and certify students in nondiving specialties, such as equipment specialist.

There is a large resource available to the PADI AI candidate, including the Assistant Instructor Workbook, PADI Instructor Manual and The Best of the Undersea Journal. You will constantly refer to the workbook during class and independent study. This succinct, interactive guide will take you step by step through effective teaching methods, conducting PADI programs and courses, teaching in confined water and conducting open water training dives. You will also learn the business aspects of diving, as well as legal responsibility and risk management. The workbook has a large margin for taking notes and includes pullouts that help you focus on the meat of the material.

Once you have mastered the academic training portion of the course, you will put your new skills to the test. You have two options during this part of the course. You may chose to participate in eight role playing teaching presentations-four academic, two confined water and two open water-or assist with three complete certification courses, including all academic, confined water and open water training sessions. Each option requires presenting parts of an Open Water Diver course, Peak Performance Buoyancy Specialty Diver course and continuing education course, such as Rescue Diver. Your final hurdle is the standards exam, which you will most likely face with confidence thanks to the special attention of your instructor, who is your ultimate resource. Your instructor has been through it all before and knows just what you need to succeed.

As a graduate of the PADI Assistant Instructor course, your dive skills will be elevated to a higher level and you will be well prepared for employment at a dive center or resort. You may opt to advance to higher level courses, such as Open Water Scuba Instructor training, the Instructor Development Course (IDC) and the Instructor Examination (IE). At this point the sky's the limit and you may end up as a PADI Course Director yourself, the highest professional certification available from PADI.

There is a high demand for padi professionals, including Assistant Instructors. With 3,000 dive centers and resorts around the world, your opportunity for part-time fun or a full-time commitment is just around the corner. For more information, write to PADI International at 30151 Tomas Street, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688 or call (800) 729-7234, (949) 858-7234; fax (949) 858-7264. You can peruse PADI's extensive Web site at www.

  • Certification: PADI Divemaster or the equivalent (leadership level certification with another recreational diver training organization)
  • Age: 18 years
  • Diving fitness: Must be in good shape for diving and submit a medical statement for a diving medical examination conducted within the past 12 months
  • Logged dives: 60
  • Pretests: Knowledge and skill assessment (if not a PADI Divemaster, a diver rescue skill assessment must be completed)

10 Goals for the Assistant Instructor
  1. Further develop dive skills.
  2. Teach academic portions of various PADI courses.
  3. Conduct skill development sessions for the PADI Skin Diver and Peak Performance Buoyancy Specialty courses.
  4. Conduct open water training dives for the PADI Skin Diver and Peak Performance Buoyancy Specialty courses.
  5. Conduct PADI Discover programs, such as Discover Snorkeling, Discover Scuba, Discover Local Diving, etc.
  6. Teach Medic First Aid after completing a Medic First Aid Instructor course
  7. Teach a nondiving specialty, such as equipment specialist or distinctive oxygen administration after completing a Specialty Instructor Training course in that specialty.
  8. Learn PADI standards, administrative requirements and certification procedures used in conducting PADI courses
  9. Become familiar with the structure of the dive industry, basic marketing ideas, sales philosophies, and legal responsibility and risk management techniques
  10. Prepare for PADI instructor training.