Are you climbing the PADI Instructor ranks? Thinking about becoming an IDC Staff Instructor?


Seriously - this was the course that totally changed my approach to teaching and made me a much better instructor.

Let me tell you everything you need to know about the PADI Staff Instructor Course.


PADI Staff Instructors are legends. Pure and simple. You know the way you feel about your Divemasters right now? That extra pair of hands, an extra set of eyes, someone who knows exactly what you need, your partner in crime... well, that's what Staff Instructors are to Course Directors.

I love my PADI Staff Instructors. I couldn't run my IDCs without them. I rely on them to help take care of my candidates, to work one on one with them if they need extra support and most importantly to plug the gaps in areas of my teaching where I'm not as strong.

I'm very open about my weaknesses as a Course Director. There's not many CDs out there who would admit it, but believe it or not, we don't know EVERYTHING.

There's aspects of my job that I excel at. My team say I have a knack for making everyone feel at ease, and making things fun. I'm great at teaching anything with an environmental theme because I'm so passionate about it. Just... don't ask me to do physics, ok? I'm terrible at maths. Don't ask me what that little lever on your reg does. It's just not my thing. Your student is having a panic attack every time they do a mask skill? I'm not the expert here.

But you know who can help you? My awesome PADI Staff Instructors.

I've surrounded myself with IDC Staff who are experts in all the things I am not. Together, we are one hell of a force!

This is what you are destined to become, but there is a lot more you can do as a PADI Staff Instructor...



Once you have qualified as a PADI Staff Instructor you can...

  • Teach the PADI Assistant Instructor Course all by yourself
  • Deliver pretty much everything on an IDC while your Course Director is floating around doing whatever it is CDs do
  • Evaluate knowledge development, confined and open water teaching presentations and give feedback to candidates
  • Work with aspiring instructors who need a little bit extra counselling and remedial training
  • Assist with training during instructor specialty courses

Being involved in teaching at this higher level is great for your own personal development (more on this in a minute) and from a business point of view, the fact that you can now train your own Assistant Instructors is great. You can generate additional income by providing Divemasters their next step on the ladder. Plus you can upskill your current team to make them more useful in the business.



I guess this kinda depends what you want to get out of the course. Let me tell you what happened when I took my PADI Staff Instructor Course...

It was the moment in my career where everything changed.

I completed this course with an amazing Course Director (shout out to Ben). He didn't just train me to be useful as a Staff Instructor during his IDCs, he also helped me expose all the cracks in my own teaching and do something about it. He knocked me down a peg (definitely needed at the time) and made me realise I didn't know it all. He showed me how good I could be as an Instructor and that was it, I ran with it and it changed my career.

The Staff Instructor Course helped me understand the PADI System of Education inside out. I was coming at it from a different perspective compared to when I was consuming it as an Instructor candidate. Now that I had a few years of teaching experience under my belt, I was looking at it from a higher level. It gave me a big confidence boost as I realised - hey, I do actually know what I'm doing! I started to recognise I had the skills and knowledge to teach others how to teach. I needed to know everything in such detail so that I could step up and start delivering material to the next generation of PADI pros.

Becoming a Staff Instructor also gave me an escape from my normal teaching timetable. I could get more involved with pro-level which was a new challenge and a change from the usual open waters and DSDs. I was useful to the dive centre as Ben had just become a Course Director and looking to develop a new focus for the business. And of course, I was on my own career journey up the ladder.

But my favourite thing about the whole process, the thing that ended up having the biggest impact on me as an Instructor... I could use what I'd learnt in the Staff Instructor Course to scrutinise the way I taught.  This made me massively up my game. Every time I finished a session, I went into self-reflection mode and tweaked the way I delivered information. I realised that if my students didn't understand something it wasn't their fault. It was mine. And THAT changed everything.



You're going to have a blast during your Staff Instructor Course! It's sooo much fun. There's a mixture of classroom and confined water sessions including:

  • Taking part in workhops delivered by your Course Director
    • Course Orientation an introduction to your course and your role as a PADI Staff Instructor
    • Instructor Development Standards, Procedures and Curriculum a guided tour of the PADI Course Director Manual and a deep dive into IDC program standards
    • How to Organize and Conduct the PADI Assistant Instructor Course preparing you to run your own AI courses once you're qualified
    • The Psychology of Evaluation and Counseling focusing on how to be the best mentor for your future candidates
  • Sitting some exams (Yes! And this isn't the last time you'll take them either - just wait till you apply to become a Course Director!)
    • Score 80 percent on each of the Dive Theory Exams
    • Score 80 percent on the PADI Systems, Standards and Procedures Exam
  • Smashing a skill circuit scoring 96 total points, with no individual score below 3 (easy peasy - you do this every day!)
  • Delivering some teaching presentations (What?! You thought you'd seen the back of them after your IDC didn't you!)
    • Score at least 4.0 on a knowledge development teaching presentation.
    • Score at least 4.0 on a confined water teaching presentation.

And then, the REAL fun starts.

You will apply all this knowledge in a real program. You've got 2 options for this:

  1. Audit a full IDC
  2. Present all components from the Assistant Instructor Course

If you want to get the most out of this course, go for the full audit. You'll staff an entire IDC acting as a Staff Instructor. You'll be sitting in on all the workshops, evaluating candidates, supporting them, and implementing what you've learnt during the PADI Staff Instructor Course.

The downside of that is that you need to invest a lot of time (especially if you're auditing one of my IDCs - they're 18 days long!)

If you're short of time then you can role play delivering an AI course. This isn't my favourite way of finishing off the Staff Instructor Course because it's not real life. Your other coursemates and the rest of the instructional team will pretend to be your students. In this route, you also need to be scoring at least 3.4 on each presentation, so your CD will be there evaluating you.

On both of those routes, you will be learning how to score candidates while they're delivering their various presentations. You have to match the scores of your Course Director. It's a bit of a mouthful, but here's what you need to do:

  • Match the control score on three out of five knowledge development evaluation criteria sections for two out of three teaching presentations.
  • Match the control score on three out of the five confined water evaluation criteria sections for two out of three teaching presentations.
  • Match the control score on three out of four (no demonstration) or three out of five (demonstration required) open water evaluation criteria sections for two out of three teaching presentations.

So basically, you'll be evaluating and scoring everything your candidates present and trying to get somewhere close to what your Course Director scores.



To enrol on the PADI Staff Instructor Course you must...

  • Be a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer in teaching status
  • Be an Emergency First Response Instructor
  • Agree to conduct all levels of diver training consistent with the standards and philosophy outlined in the PADI Instructor Manual, PADI’s Guide to Teaching and the PADI Course Director Manual
  • Agree to use the PADI System and its components in their entirety.



There's a good chance that you're already working in a dive centre where you can take that next step to PADI Staff Instructor. Hopefully, they'll give you a great price and you'll already know your Course Director well.

If you're not in that position and you're looking for a dive center to deliver your training it's soo important that you find out as much as you can about them. Most importantly, you need to find a Course Director that you click with. There are so many different approaches to scuba diver training and each Course Director will have their own style. You need to find the one that holds the same values as you or you will find that you'll clash throughout this whole process.

You both need to be on the same page or you can imagine the friction when it comes to matching scores, giving feedback to candidates or offering support.

During your Staff Instructor Course - those 3 days before you audit the IDC, it's all about you. Your Course Director will work with you to help you get the most out of your training. You are their sole focus.


When it comes to staffing the IDC, the Instructor Candidates will always come first. You'll still get 1 on 1 time with your CD while you compare scores and have a natter about everything. I'll be honest with you - when it comes to keeping the Instructor Candidates on track and ensuring they're getting the right advice, your CD will pull rank if there's any kind of disagreement in approach or scoring.

This is why it's best to find a Course Director who shares your values and approach to teaching. You will become an asset to the process when you're both on the same page rather than a member of the team who has to be carefully managed to ensure the overall success of the IDC.



This is where you're going to have to do your research! There is no set price for the PADI Staff Instructor Course so it will completely depend on which dive centre you choose.

The only bit of advice I can give you here is to watch out for hidden costs. You are required to have the PADI Staff Instructor Candidate Crewpak (which is currently retailing at £438.00). Make sure you know if this is included in the price of your training. It's a common tactic for dive centres to advertise prices that don't include materials to make them appear cheaper. There's no getting away from it, you will need to buy the materials extra if they're not included.

You'll also need to submit your application to PADI after the course. This currently costs £103.00.

If it helps, I can tell you how much it costs here at The Fifth Point as a benchmark for your prices.

My PADI IDC Staff Instructor Course (with full audit) costs £1,500.00 and includes:

  • All required materials
  • 3 day Staff Instructor program of workshops and practice evaluations
  • 14 day IDC audit with daily feedback of performance and evaluations
  • Emergency First Aid at Work qualification (recognised by the HSE)
  • Invite to the IDC welcome party and closing celebrations



I know right?! I bet we're more expensive than some of the other PADI Staff Instructor Courses you've been looking at. The thing is, good scuba diver training is not cheap - at ANY level. If you're considering this program, then it's obvious that you're ready to take the next big step in your diving career. This qualification isn't just one of those where you pay your fee and get the card. You have to earn this and train for it.

We don't just go through the motions for this program. We don't just tick the box. We go above and beyond to support you during your training and further your career. It's an investment in yourself in both time and money so you need to make sure you're getting bang for your buck.

During your three-day Staff Instructor Course, you'll be in our classroom and training tank at the dive centre. Check out the pics of our facility in the FAQs. There's not a dive centre like it! The spaces will be booked out just for you and you'll have plenty of time to work on yourself. I'll be there with you every step of the way, as will Laura and James my trusty Master Instructors.

As I mentioned before, my team are frickin awesome.

Laura is a Clinical Psychologist who specialises in divers. Her insights during your Staff Instructor Course will be invaluable to you. She understands how students and candidates tick. She can help you with techniques to deal with all sorts of situations - from calming panicked students to effectively delivering tricky feedback to candidates.

James is a self-confessed kit nerd. He can explain the intricacies of scuba gear for hours. He's also taught hundreds of people how to dive so can draw on a decade of experience when it comes to effective teaching strategies. And... he's good at physics 😉

Now. These two lovely people (and the rest of my team) don't work for nowt. One of the reasons my prices are higher than other dive centres (especially in the UK) is because The Fifth Point pays wages. We don't expect our experts to impart their wisdom for free and this is reflected in our price.

You'll notice that we include lots of extras in your Staff Instructor Course. Your materials are paid for and we'll even feed you during your IDC audit!

You'll also work with the amazing Life Saving Training and earn an HSE recognised First Aid At Work qualification. During the IDC, the candidates will become EFR Instructors and I bring in the experts to teach them, you might as well make the most of it too! Helen and Ian are outdoor first aid specialists. They're avid rescue divers themselves and are also Mountain Rescue Volunteers. You'll be blown away by the standard of their courses - every time they come in I learn something new. You'll get a recognised qualification and hopefully learn a few tips and tricks to include in your own EFR courses.



It's all about clicking with your Course Director if you want to get the most out of your PADI Staff Instructor Course, right? Well at The Fifth Point, that would be me!


  • You want to be the best Instructor that you can be and will dig deep to do the best for your students
  • You are open and honest about your strengths and weaknesses
  • You are willing to embrace the uncomfortable feeling of self-reflection
  • You recognise that there is more than one approach to scuba diver training and are interesting in exploring
  • You are passionate about ocean protection and incorporating it into your teaching - especially neutral buoyancy


  • You're reluctant to change the way you teach
  • You think that your way of teaching is the only way to do things
  • You don't like constructive feedback
  • You don't see working in a team as an opportunity to learn new things
  • You like to hunt for lobsters and scallops...


Now you know everything you need to know about the PADI Staff Instructor Course. Fancy coming and joining me for some training?

Click the link below and we'll arrange our first video call.

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