Real World Resort Training
By Michael Lawrence
Men and women enter the contemporary dive industry on a professional level for one primary reason: Fun. Whether it’s the palm trees, window-clear azure water, cavernous reefs and exciting marine life in the company of healthy, attractive people, the lure of diving in the tropics is irresistible. Fortunately, the variety of careers available is extensive. One can work as a divemaster/instructor in either a resort, cruise ship or mainland dive center; work with dive publications—such as the very one you’re reading—and associated media; represent manufacturers of dive equipment in sales and marketing; offer technical support and more. If this is your dream, there is one clear prerequisite for entering the dive industry—certification.
Once you have decided to embark on a career in the dive industry on either a full- or a part-time basis, you’ll need to choose an instructor school. You’ll want a school with experience and a proven track record, a placement program for graduates, and a network of former students working in owner and/or management positions throughout the industry. In this, you could do no better than Divers Unlimited.
Located in sunny South Florida between Fort Lauderdale and Miami, Divers Unlimited (DU) is the nation’s oldest and most reputable instructor training school. A PADI Five Star Instructor Development Center, DU trains you to become an instructor for PADI, the Professional Association of Diving Instructors, the world’s largest and most respected certification organization. Your PADI Open Water Instructor certification can open doors to employment opportunities around the globe. Over the past 25 years, DU has helped equip an astounding number of people to enter this exciting field, people who now work in every level of the business. You want connections? With DU, you’ve got ’em. Dave Inman, founder of DU, was a seminal force in the creation of dive certification and has as much experience in the field as any individual in diving.
Classroom work is conducted at the Divers Unlimited Training Center/ Underwater Careers International complex. At this well-developed facility, real-life training is the catch phrase. Instructor candidates assist in training of open-water students, live with the day to day functioning of a thriving dive store and get their feet wet in an actual dive center environment. The 4,500-square-foot facility consists of a 2,000-square-foot retail area dovetailing with a 20 by 40 foot indoor heated pool and a complex of classrooms and offices. In-water training is conducted both in this pool as well as on the reefs and wrecks found in the warm waters off the South Florida coast (an environment similar to tropical situations in which you may soon be living and working).
DU approaches instructor training with a modular approach, the Triad Program. It is a series of building blocks, levels of certifications ultimately leading to your rating as a PADI Instructor. Here’s a brief overview of how it works: It is assumed you are a certified diver with a few dives under your weight belt, although Advanced Open Water Diver is preferred. The certification steps, in order, are Rescue Diver, Medic First Aid and Divemaster. Next comes the Instructor Development Course (IDC) Prep and then the IDC itself. This is followed by an Instructor Examination conducted by the folks from the PADI home office.
The Gold Instructor Program offers more extensive professional courses including Medic First Aid Instructor, Master Scuba Diver Trainer (six specialties) and Resort Instructor. The benefit? Each of these certifications increases both your attractiveness to potential employers and your earnings potential. The beauty of the Divers Unlimited approach is that given the proper prerequisites you can join in at any given level and you can do it in either a full bore or piecemeal fashion.
For the menu of services and some personal conversation concerning your particular interests, call DU directly, toll free at (888) 232-7234, or at (954) 430-3483; fax (954) 430-2757; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org ; www.diversunlimited.com. You may also write to Divers Unlimited, Underwater Careers International, 10191 Pines Blvd., Pembroke Pines, FL 33026.