The Great Instructor Rip Off
Go Pro! they say Zero to hero in three months ! Career courses galore, live the life!
This is the marketing.
Instructors are churned out in their thousands and those that do go into the industry rarely make a decent living.
Once you have added all the courses on the way, registration fees and books.
It can cost northwards of 100,000 precious SA Rand to become an instructor, often way more.
That’s all good and well if at the end of it you are a PROFESSIONAL diving instructor.
They certainly have the certificate, the card and the badge.
But the knowledge and skills of a professional instructor? Clearly in many cases the answer is a resounding NO!
How does this happen?
With several training agencies the initial courses are on the light side with advanced being particularly a misnomer.
Knowledge and skills are crammed in during the Divemaster course and then it’s full speed to the instructor course.
Here you are coached to lecture in a way that will get a pass from the examiner. After hours time is spent trying to get the knowledge level up in order to pass the laughably easy monkey puzzle exam.
Skills are checked at such a basic level that that even a simple fin pivot is part of the skill set!
Very very few candidates fail and as a result we have instructors that poor knowledge, poor skills and don’t feel confident to lecture. Of course they don’t have to as they use a DVD or on line learning.
In fact several dive operations guarantee 100% pass rate!
Many instructors do not feel ready to teach. In one agency over 90% of qualified instructors never give a course.
Those that do give courses often take years before they give more than the basic courses and then often do it badly.
The instructor qualification is utterly debased as a good instructor has the same badge as the incompetent instructor.
As the years pass at high speed experience, is gained but often the basics are missing.
The lack of water skills often even put the instructors own life in danger. We have an unacceptable number of instructor diving fatalities.
Some instructor trainers cannot even swim underwater half a pool length holding their breath!
Many long term instructors are simply bad lecturers and still have huge holes in their knowledge.
They are now the ones teaching the next generation of instructors!
When challenged, one of the big American agencies acknowledged the level and explained that they train instructors to work in the fast track resort environment and these skills are sufficient.
So if you want a job at a resort and don’t need the skills for proper instruction, this maybe the way to go. Its a lot of ammo to throw at an “Instructor lite” course. So if you do go this route be sure you understand what you are buying.
Do Proper instructor courses that act as a filter and insist on a high standard, not a cash generating exercise.
A proper exam that really tests the candidates knowledge.
Water skills to be thoroughly tested including water comfort and at least be able to free dive to 15 meters.
Good lecturing is hard, a very difficult skill to master and time must be spent teaching the candidates to get this right.
Relying on a DVD is no substitute.
Only then will we have instructors that have been trained to a professional level.
If I was one of those unfortunate instructors pushed through the sausage machine. I believe I have every right to feel that I have been RIPPED OFF.
So if you want to be a skilled professional instructor, do a proper instructor course and then if you want you can then do a cross over pay your money and get the other badges as required.