HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO BECOME A PADI INSTRUCTOR?
Well, I've got to level with you... it ain't gonna be cheap!
In this article, I'll take you from zero to hero. I'll lay out the rough cost to become a PADI Instructor based on every single course you have to take.
What might help you even more is this awesome little cost calculator that I created. You can plug in the prices you find during your research and it'll spit out the total cost to become a PADI Instructor at the end. You can even compare different dive centres side by side.
DON'T GET SUCKED IN BY LOW PRICES
I want you to understand that good training costs money. It doesn't matter if you're looking at the cost of a beginners course or the cost to become a PADI Instructor, always be sceptical of low prices.
If I wanted to go and chuck myself out of an aeroplane with a parachute strapped to my back, I doubt I'd be rushing to jump with the cheapest operator. Why are they so cheap? Are they less safe? Is their gear falling apart? Does the instructor know what they're doing? Is my chute even going to open?!
The same alarm bells start ringing in my head when it comes to scuba. I can only think of three reasons why a dive centre would advertise cheap courses:
- They're going for a stack 'em high, churn 'em out approach. You can expect to be a part of a massive group where you won't get much individual attention. In this type of dive centre, their only agenda is to get as many people through the door as possible. Your training will suffer, especially if you're having problems. There are too many people to get the help you need.
- They're cutting corners somewhere. In my experience, it's usually training time that gets cut. This type of dive centre will push instructors to reduce the time each course takes - time is money after all. You wouldn't believe the number of arguments I've had with past bosses where I've refused to do anything less than a 4 day open water course. I've seen dive centres advertise 2 day courses! There's no way that you're receiving quality training or getting enough time to develop your skills when you're rushed through a course.
- They made a typo... or there's hidden costs involved. I've seen a number of dive centres use this tactic to make their prices look cheaper when compared to their competitors. They leave out costs like materials, gear rental, fees etc. It's not like these are optional extras so you'll have to pay them eventually, it's a bit cheeky really.
This is why it's so important to do your research before committing to any diving course. If it looks cheap, there should be claxons and flashing lights going off in your brain. The cost to become a PADI Instructor is a big investment in both time and money. You're investing in yourself and to launch an amazing career. You need to make sure you're setting yourself up for success. I guarantee that if you try and do it on the cheap, it'll take you a lot longer to achieve your dream.
WHAT ARE THE PRE-REQUISITES TO BECOME A PADI INSTRUCTOR?
The journey to PADI Instructor is an amazing adventure. There's a number of diving courses you'll take along the way and you'll also build up your dive logbook too.
I wanted to put a realistic price tag on each step of the journey. The easiest way to do this is to use our prices at The Fifth Point. The list below includes every hoop you need to jump through to become a PADI Instructor, right from the very beginning of the process. I've included our most popular packages - the ones that the majority of our candidates choose too.
Remember that bit where I said good training isn't cheap? You'll notice our prices definitely reflect that! And just so you know, when people go zero to hero with us (or sign up for more than one course at a time), we give them a lush bundle deal that saves a big chunk of cash. Get in touch if you want to know more because you'll get a discount on that end price you calculate.
Obviously, the price of courses will vary massively from centre to centre. What I've outlined below will give you a ballpark idea but you'll have to do the hard work to find out the specifics from everyone else. This is actually a great way to test the water (no pun intended) for the type of organisation they run and the people who work there. Pay attention to the responses they give you to your enquiries. It'll give you an amazing insight!
To help compare prices between different centres and make notes, I've made an awesome budgeting tool - you can grab it at the bottom of the page.
STEP 1 | OPEN WATER COURSE | from £695
Beginners license qualifies you to 18m over 5 dives. Our package also includes drysuit certification (which is a must if you're thinking about teaching in the UK) and the Project AWARE specialty course (so you can use your new skills to protect the ocean!)
STEP 2 | ADVANCED OPEN WATER COURSE | from £550
Grey Seal Experience weekend, qualifies you to 30m over 5 dives. We spend the weekend camping and doing some boat dives with the seals. This package also includes the PADI Dive Against Debris specialty course so you can become a citizen scientist who removes litter from the ocean and turns it into data.
STEP 3 | RESCUE DIVER COURSE | from £650
Group rescue experience. Learn to deal with a variety of situations that could happen when you're diving over 3ish dives (it's a weird one for logging dives - we spend a lot of time at the surface!) This package also includes a First Aid Course and the PADI Emergency Oxygen Provider specialty course.
STEP 4 | DIVEMASTER PROGRAM | from £2,995
2 month program where you'll progress through the DM curriculum and become a member of the team. This package also includes at least 40 dives plus the PADI DSD Leader qualification (so you can teach Discover Scuba Diving sessions), PADI Nitrox specialty course, PADI Underwater Naturalist specialty course, PADI Fish ID specialty course and the PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy specialty course.
STEP 5 | BUILD YOUR LOGBOOK TO 100 DIVES | from £160ish/2 dives
It's really hard to put a price on building up your dive numbers. It depends on where you dive, who you dive with and if you need to rent gear. I've gone for the most expensive scenario here so £160.00 for 2 dives is based on diving from shore with a private guide and renting a full set of equipment each time. There are loads of ways you can reduce this cost. If you have your own gear you can knock 60 quid off straight away, if you're diving with a buddy rather than a guide then it's pretty much free apart from your air fills and other logistical costs. We also have a scuba diving subscription called Submerge which gets you amazing deals on dives and equipment. And MASSIVE SECRET... we usually chuck in free diving for everyone doing their DM and IDC with us. Come and play 🙂
STEP 6 | PADI INSTRUCTOR DEVELOPMENT COURSE & PADI INSTRUCTOR EXAM | from £3,995
4 weeks of online prep, 12 day in person course and 2 day exam that allows you to develop into an amazing instructor. Our package also includes breakfast, lunch and refreshments, Emergency First Response Instructor and all your materials.
TOTAL £8,865.00 + logged dives
CAREER PATH EXTRAS
This isn't an exhaustive list. There's SO much more extra training you can bolt onto this to become a rounded dive pro, but those are the bare minimum steps (with a couple of The Fifth Point perks thrown in for good measure). It also doesn't include investing in your own gear, which is a definite must for any instructor. You can make this fit your budget, but if you're anything like me - only the best will do so you better put aside another couple of grand for that! Our equipment website The Honest Diver might help you work out prices for what you need.
WATCH OUT FOR HIDDEN COSTS
I mentioned before that some sneaky dive centres will hide costs to make their prices seem lower. Those costs I quoted above are fully inclusive of everything you need to complete each course and already include the costs I've listed below.
Just make sure you double-check during your research for other dive centres. It's not as common for recreational level courses, but when you start working out the cost of Divemaster programs and the cost of becoming an Instructor, things like materials and PADI fees will often be listed separately. Remember, these aren't optional extras - you still need to pay for them as they're a requirement for your courses!
Here's the costs you can expect to pay for pro-level materials and PADI fees (based on 2020 PADI price list)...
- Divemaster Crewpak £269.19
- Instructor Crewpak £660.57
- Emergency First Response Start Up Pack £230.28
- Divemaster Application £105.60
- DSD Leader Application £44.40
- IDC Application £183.60
- Instructor Exam £527.00 (ish, it keeps changing)
- Specialty Instructor Rating Application £42.00 each
- Emergency First Response Instructor Application £114.00
THINK THE COST TO BECOME A PADI INSTRUCTOR AT THE FIFTH POINT IS TOO HIGH?
Did the price of my IDC give you a fright?! Don't worry, at first glances everyone thinks I must be mental to charge that price! But that's because it includes everything you need and more. It's got all your fees and all your materials.
If we compare it to an average price for a PADI IDC in the UK, which is around £1,500 it does seem high. But then we need to add on the hidden costs of Instructor materials and PADI Fees which is another £1,700 so my price isn't that mental after all... plus you get to come and play at The Fifth Point 😀
SHOULD I DO MY IDC AT HOME OR ABROAD
Depending on when you're reading this... doing your IDC abroad might not even be an option! As much as I'd love to jet away and visit some tropical reefs somewhere in the world, COVID isn't exactly making that whole process easy.
I'm writing this as the restrictions in the UK are starting to ease (it's April 2021), but I'm not holding out on being able to travel abroad any time this year. If completing your Instructor course is something that's on your radar for the near future, I would seriously think about doing it at home.
I've managed one of the biggest dive centres in Malaysia and I can honestly say that when a CV came across my desk from an Instructor who learnt in the UK, they went into the consideration pile straight away. UK Instructors learn to teach in challenging conditions. If you can teach here, you can teach anywhere!
If you're reading this when the world has already opened up again, then you might find that doing your IDC abroad reduces the cost of becoming a PADI Instructor. You'll probably find good courses for less money. But don't forget you've got to consider the price of flights and accommodation into the equation.
HOW DO I START WORKING MY COST OF BECOMING A PADI INSTRUCTOR?
You've got a hell of a lot of research ahead of you, but don't worry, I'm here every step of the way! I've created a budgeting tool that you can use to help compare various options. All you need to do is plug in the prices of the courses you've found and it'll spit out your total cost at the bottom!