5 WAYS BECOMING A PADI INSTRUCTOR IN 2023 WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE
Is 2023 that year that you're going to change your life for the better and become a PADI Instructor?
DON'T WAIT ANY LONGER!
I can speak from first-hand experience on this one. I wish I had followed my heart and become a PADI instructor a lot sooner instead of wasting my time in a job that was sucking the life out of me.
I was too nervous to take that leap of faith. What if it's not actually living the dream? What if I don't make enough money to support myself? What if I can't find a job?
Eventually, I got to the point where I knew I had to make a change in my life. I had to quit my job for the sake of my own mental health and hapiness.
The only thing that made me happy at that time was scuba diving. (In fact, there's a lot of divers who report that scuba diving had improved their mental health)
So, I bit the bullet. I told them to stick their job where the sun didn't shine. I became a full-time PADI scuba instructor and I left the UK.
It changed my life. And yours could too.
Here's 5 ways your life will change if you become a PADI Instructor in 2023.
1. YOUR QUALITY OF LIFE
How would you define a good quality of life? It's going to be different for everyone. If your definition includes doing something you love every single day, then becoming a PADI instructor is going to change your life for the better.
For me, having a good quality of life is about waking up in the morning and looking forward to the day ahead. It's not about having loads of money, although I used to consider that an important aspect of quality of life before scuba diving changed everything.
The thing is, there's one place where we spend a disproportionate amount of our time nearly every day.
And work is what makes the money which is a necessary evil.
Work and money are entwined in a vicious cycle and lots of people fall into the trap of becoming accustomed to the lifestyle their wage can provide. Even if you hate work, it pays the mortgage for your lovely house, your holidays, your nights out, the latest iPhone and all those other nice treats you like.
It takes a lot of guts to break that cycle.
Because it's so scary, it's tempting to think "meh, I'll just stick it out for a bit longer, I'm due a pay rise soon and I'll make more money and feel better about it all". "If I go for that promotion, I'll get more money and the job will be better".
Believe me when I say, money isn't everything. Are you really going to continue doing something you hate just because it makes you more money? That is not a good quality of life.
Now, I'm not going to pretend that becoming a PADI instructor in 2023 is going to let you make the same wage as you're on right now. It's not. (I wrote a whole blog post on the topic - how much does a scuba diving instructor get paid?)
I'll be honest, it's going to be hard to make enough money as an instructor if you're going to work in the UK. Paid instructor positions are few and far between and you'll most likely be on minimum wage. BUT you'll be doing the thing you love every single day. You'll be taking students in the water, introducing them to your favourite place and teaching them to become confident divers. You have to decide whether the reduced wage but great job is a good balance for your personal definition of quality of life. For me it's still a no-brainer, but I had to take a good hard look at my attitude to spending to make it work!
The REAL dream will happen if you can pluck up the guts to move abroad. And now that we can see a light at the end of this pandemic tunnel, scuba travel will start to open up again. Making this dream a reality will be a lot easier in the near future. If you're going to work overseas, you'll still get paid a pittance, but the money goes a lot further. The cost of living is tiny compared to home. You can live like a king or queen on a tiny wage. Now your quality of life is through the roof. You can support yourself easily on a small wage and you're doing the thing you love. The lifestyle of a scuba instructor in a tropical diving destination is literally eat, sleep, dive, repeat. Now THAT is living the dream!
2. JOB SATISFACTION
Becoming a PADI instructor turns your favourite hobby into a paid job.
As Confucius said "choose a job you love and you'll never have to work a day in your life".
Loving your job contributes massively to job satisfaction, but there's more ways this hits home when you become a PADI Instructor.
During your Instructor Development Course you'll learn that you're actually training to become a member of the transformation industry. It sounds proper cheesy, but it really is true.
As a PADI instructor, you have the privilege of changing the lives of your students. They walk in your classroom at the start of their diving journey as this little ball of nervous energy, not sure what their course has in store for them. At the end of their training, you watch them take a giant stride into the ocean as a fully qualified, confident and competent scuba diver. It's an amazing feeling to be able to share your passion with someone else and give them the skills to continue independently.
Of course, not all students will sail through their training. There's going to be bumps along the way. As a PADI instructor, one of the most satisfying feelings is when you see your student overcome the barrier. Whether they're frightened or nervous about something, or they just can't get their brain around a concept, you are there to help them through.
If you enjoy working with children, veterans or divers with disabilities there's a good chance you could boost your job satisfaction even more. You'll be able to take specifc training to help teach these divers and introduce them to the amazing underwater world.
3. TRAVEL THE WORLD
When you become a PADI instructor, the world is your oyster. Once you fork out the cash for your initial plane ticket you can literally work your way around the world. You'll get paid to teach and guide and this will fund your travels. What an amazing adventure that will be!
As a PADI instructor, you become part of a global scuba diving community. It's crazy how tight-knit it is - everyone knows everyone! That's because a lot of scuba instructors have wanderlust and they jump at the chance to explore someplace new. You'll meet someone at a dive centre, they know an instructor who knows an instructor that knows a dive centre in Thailand, and they're looking for new staff. Before you know it you've had a Zoom interview and you're on the next plane to Koh Tao!
The connections you make are invaluable when it comes to hooking up your next bit of work.
4. WORK WITH AMAZING PEOPLE
I've already explained how the diving world is teeny tiny and you're going to meet lots of dive pros just like you. I guarantee that you're going to meet some amazing people when you become a PADI instructor. Some of them will become friends for life, some might even become more than just good friends! James and I are testament to that (make sure you marry a fellow diver!)
It might sound cliché, but the people you work with are not just colleagues. They're family. Especially if you're working abroad - it's unlikely that you have any of your actual family out there, so your team mates become your surrogates. You don't just work with them, you'll most likely live with them (or very close by), you'll eat with them, drink with them, spend your days off with them. And while this throws up some issues that you'd normally associate with bickering siblings, you'll get to know these people way better than you would your colleagues in a "normal" job.
When you find yourself in a good team and a little family that you get on well with, you will thrive as a PADI instructor.
One of my favourite things about working with lots of different people is that I learn SO much. Once you become a PADI instructor, you'll realise that the learning never really stops. Working with other pros lets you see different teaching styles, little tricks and tips that people use. You can cherry pick your favourite techniques and add them to your own teaching repertoire.
You'll also get the chance to share qualifications. Want to go down the tec route? Want to learn more about marine conservation? Want to cave dive? You'll meet people who are experts in all of these fields of diving, and they can teach you everything you need to know! In return, you can teach them your speciality and we all become better instructors.
5. MAKE A POSITIVE CHANGE
I always leave the best till last. This is my favourite thing about being a dive pro. If you're interested in protecting the ocean, marine biology or marine conservation, become a PADI instructor this year. It will open up so many doors to opportunities to get involved in research, education and above all actually making a difference.
As you know, I am very passionate about ocean protection. It's at the heart of everything we do at The Fifth Point. As a PADI instructor, I get the chance to inspire my students to feel the same way. It's my job to introduce them to the underwater world in a way that makes them fall head over heels in love with it. When they do, it's then my responsibility to ensure that they protect it.
I can help them fine-tune their diving skills so that when they're out there exploring underwater, they're not going to damage it. Plus I need to make sure they've got the knowledge to understand why that's so important.
Create an army of eco divers, and then keep them engaged. Organise beach cleans, Dive Against Debris surveys, coral reef resoration projects, crown of thorne control. Teach eco-themed courses like the PADI AWARE specialty, underwater naturalist, peak performance buoyancy - the list is endless!
When you become a PADI instructor, you can directly impact the fate of the ocean.
SO, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? BECOME A PADI INSTRUCTOR THIS YEAR
It's now or never. Don't put it off like I did for all those years, chasing the money in a career that sucked the life out of me. Become a PADI instructor and it will change your life for the better.
I know there's a lot to digest, a lot of ducks to get in a row and it's not a decision to make lightly. As someone who's been there and done it, I'm more than happy to give advice - just give me a shout!
Once you've bit the bullet, I'd love to help you on that journey. We've got several Instructor Development Courses lined up for 2023. Spaces are filling up fast (I only work with small groups, so they sell out quickly). If becoming a PADI instructor this year is on your radar, let's chat. You can book in below for a visit to The Fifth Point or we can meet over zoom if you're not local.