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How do I become a PADI Scuba Diving Instructor?

How do I become a PADI Scuba Diving Instructor?

How do I become a PADI Scuba Diving Instructor?

Sitting in your office thinking there must be something better out there to do, well there is and that is becoming a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor.

Not all PADI scuba instructors have been life long scuba divers. Some are hooked from the first time they dive and some even make the decision without ever going into the water. They fall in love with the idea and the dream of traveling the world, getting away from the rat race into the big blue sea and teaching people to scuba dive.

Go Pro With PADI And Aussie Divers Phuket

Video: Go Pro With PADI And Aussie Divers Phuket

First Step

Your first step in this quest is the PADI Open Water Course. This course is where you will first learn to scuba dive. This is a three-day course, which is broken down into three components, theory, confined water skills and open water diving.

This is where I got hooked. I was fortunate enough to do my PADI Open Water Course open water component on a liveaboard boat here in Phuket, Thailand. Seeing two of the magnificent giant manta rays on my second ever dive got me thinking however what really sealed it was that night. My PADI Open Water instructor and I were the only two on the liveaboard, we were learning back having a beer in the warm tropical weather after a tough days scuba diving, I recall I asked “are you getting paid for this?” he replied “yes”. I thought back to what I would have been doing back home in Australia and realized I could do this…easy.

PADI Course Director Darren Gaspari Scuba Diving Aussie Divers Phuket

PADI Course Director Darren Gaspari Scuba Diving Aussie Divers Phuket

PADI Open Water Course

I completed the PADI Open Water Course and immediately when getting back to Phuket signed up for my PADI Advanced Open Water Course. The PADI Advanced Open Water Course is a two-day course with five dives. The dives all have a theme to them and they are called adventure dives. There are two compulsory adventure dives, one is learning about deep diving the other is learning how to navigate underwater. Of the three remaining adventure dives I selected the themes of wreck diving, multilevel and computer diving and AWARE fish identification. If the PADI Open Water Course hadn’t sold the dream of becoming a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor well the PADI Advanced Open Water Course certainty had. I was caught hook, line and sinker.

Soon after returned to Australia and began planning my next adventure. The PADI Rescue Course was next on the menu and I could get back to Phuket, Thailand quick enough. I needed to learn more about the scuba diving world. The good thing was not only did it provide me with a new dream but also a new hobby. There were different creatures I wanted to see, I learnt about equipment, different diving options like the difference between technical and recreational diving, it had opened up a whole new world for me.

Back to Phuket

Some six months later I was back in Phuket, Thailand, my quest to learn more about scuba diving had began again.

My first two courses were quick and easy half-day courses. The PADI Enriched Air course only took a half a day in the classroom and was very interesting and it also gave me a couple of scuba dives on a day boat the following day. I learnt the possible dangers of using Enriched Air without the proper training, how to plan for enriched air dives and how to test the tanks. The information I learnt in this course I still use today.

The next course was the prelim to the PADI Rescue Course and that was the Emergency First Response Course. It was an interesting and rather easy course relating to first aid. It was good to learn and it provided me with information in assisting those with injuries or illnesses. Quite important as a lot of scuba diving sites are a long way from medical help. Especially here in Phuket, Thailand.

Phuket Beach Aussie Divers

Phuket Beach Aussie Divers

PADI Rescue Course

Then followed possibly the toughest course in the PADI training system, The PADI Rescue Course. This three day course was structured much the same as a PADI Open Water Course, there is a theory component, confined water component and open water component. There has been a slight variation in the training syllabus these days however it is almost the same course.

The theory definitely takes a step up from previous course, as did the confined water skills. Instead of the watch and repeat skills there were actually physical exercises and simulated rescue techniques. By the end of the day, I was exhausted and was wondering if this was what being a PADI Open Water Instructor was what it was really about. Little did I know that wasn’t going to be the toughest day. The following day we went out in the open water on a day trip boat. My instructor as surprising me with simulated rescue scenarios all day.

By the end of the day I was totally exhausted, but I knew I had learnt a lot, a real lot and it taught me a lot of very important things, none more than scuba diving if not conducted properly can be very dangerous. The PADI Rescue course is not the most fun PADI Course you will do but it is the most rewarding.

PADI Divemaster Course

After this course I did some more scuba diving of the day trip boats and on this same trip I signed up for my PADI Divemaster Course. With a large theory based component it was good to get the books early and start the self-study. My instructor sat down with me and explained what I was to learn through self-study and what he would teach me. The PADI Divemaster course is the most thorough and comprehensive course you will do in the PADI system. Not only is the a large theory component, the there are water skill sessions, more rescue scenarios, time swims, assisting on courses and your first experience of actually being in charge of other divers.

I made a start on theory however I had to return to work in Australia. The dreaming began again but know it was becoming more real. I was now starting to plan some real time off work even the possibility of totally quitting my current job. It was no longer just a dream.

A few months later I returned to complete my PADI Divemaster in about six weeks and at the end of it I really felt like a scuba diving professional. It was a nice feeling knowing that I had a ticket that would allow me to teach in most countries of the world. But I knew I hadn’t finished. There was at least one more step, the PADI Instructor Development Course, the last step to becoming a PADI Open Water Instructor.

PADI IDC Aussie Divers Phuket Go Pro

PADI IDC Aussie Divers Phuket Go Pro

Back to Australia Again

It was back home to Australia with a brand new set of books for some self-study. This time there was some serious study to do and some more serious time off work to organize.

It was another long break away from Phuket and Thailand. There was plenty of study to do and I was lucky enough to plan six months off from work.

PADI Instructor Development Course

Before I knew it I was back on the plane and standing in Phuket International Airport. It was a short week before I started my two-week PADI Instructor Development Course. It is an interesting course, there is not a lot more to learn however it is about perfecting what you already, know or should know. The pressure doesn’t come from what you learn but about being good at what you have learnt.

The two weeks went pretty quick and before I knew it I was standing in front of a PADI Examiner on the first night of theory examinations. Having pasted that successfully it was onto confined water examinations and lesson presentation and finally on Sunday Open Water examination. By 3:00pm that afternoon I was a PADI Open Water Instructor and I had achieved my goal.


I was lucky enough to be employed by the company that I had done my training with and I never went back to my old job. I have continued my PADI education and I am now lucky enough to be a PADI Master Instructor.

Everyday I am in the water I think how fortunate I am, I have a great job, and some say the best job in the world and some days it is difficult to argue with that. It has opened a whole new world for me. Fortunately, I met people from all walks of life and many countries. I live in a tropical paradise and get to see some of the most wonderful creatures on the planet best of all I get to show all of this to people for the first time. I may never be rich now financially but I am rich with experiences and memories.

By Darren Gaspari

Proud owner and active PADI Gold Course Director of Aussie Divers Phuket, a professional and awarded PADI 5 Star Instructor Development Scuba Diving Centre. Member of the PADI Advisory Board for the eLearning modules 2019 and 2020.

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