On average, in the USA a scuba diving instructor earns anywhere from USD 32,000 to 60,000+ a year. How much a scuba diving instructor earns in a specific location or position can vary widely depending on the company that is hiring and the responsibilities involved in the job description.
In this article, I outline some of the main factors behind salaries, why some instructors earn more than others, and what you can do as a budding instructor to take that next step up the ladder.
Why do some scuba diving instructors get paid more than others?
The reason why some earn more than others are down to a number of factors, many of which are similar to most jobs in the hospitality and training industries. These factors include:
- Location & Working Hours – How much a scuba diving instructor earns will be significantly higher if they work in a popular resort area such as the Caribbean or Mexico where the cost of living is also considered to be more expensive than many other parts of the world. How long you have been an instructor for is another factor that can increase how much a scuba diving instructor gets paid, this is because it usually takes some time to gain enough experience and build up a good reputation before being able to charge more for your services.
- Experience – How much an instructor gets paid can also vary depending on their experience level. How much scuba diving instructors get paid depends greatly on the training company they work for and what qualifications they have. Earnings, like in any job, will usually increase with time, especially if you become part of a training organization which is well respected within the industry. As your experience grows so should how much you earn every year.
Thinking of becoming a scuba diving instructor? Here are the things you need to be aware of:
The best places to teach
As a newly qualified scuba diving instructor, the best scuba diving locations in the world to hone your skills and to teach are:
- The Cayman Islands
- The Maldives
This is because of the cost of living and also the weather and diving conditions. Two factors that will keep you motivated and happy when you’re still learning to become an instructor!
Qualifications Required to become a scuba diving instructor
Before you can work as a scuba diving instructor, you will first need to gain the required qualifications and become certified.
A PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor is one of the most basic levels an individual can achieve in order to work as a scuba diving instructor or divermaster. Other more advanced qualifications that are required include:
- EFR Emergency First Responder
- Rescue Diver Descriptor
- AOW Advanced Open Water Diver
On average, the cost to become a scuba diving instructor is around USD 5,000 with the PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor costing around USD 3,200. Certainly worth the investment if you’re serious about it as a career!