So you are a Divemaster or Assistant Instructor. You are ready to take the next step in your dive career and become an Instructor. Maybe you have already decided where you want to take your Instructor Development Course (IDC). Or maybe you have even booked your place already. But, you are feeling a little nervous because you aren’t sure what to expect once you get to your dive center.

IDC Candidates of Scuba Center Asia sip coffee on the beach in the morning before their Instructor Exam, ready and focused for the day ahead.

First, can you give us a little break down of how the IDC is structured?

Sure! So the IDC is divided into two sections. The Assistant Instructor component and the Open Water Scuba Instructor (OWSI) component. These have both wet and dry segments that develop your ability to teach other divers. At the end of the IDC, the PADI Instructor Examination (IE) is held by one of PADI’s examiners.

What do you learn in the IDC?

As an Instructor, you can teach many different dive courses. So, first, you have to review all of the dive theory that is covered in these courses. You have to have an understanding far beyond that of a Divemaster. You then learn effective strategies to relay this information using the PADI model.

In water, you practice and perfect all skills “to demonstration standards”. You learn what common problems students have with each skill. And how to detect and correct them to ensure each student’s success. You practice this in both confined and open water.

IDC Bali

Do you need to be an Assistant Instructor (AI) first?

Nope! You do not have to be an Assistant Instructor before you sign up for a PADI IDC. But, you only need to be a Divemaster to be eligible to do the IDC / IE. Being an AI sets you up for what to expect during the IDC but it’s not a must. The reason most people choose to be an AI before becoming an Instructor is because they don’t have a Course Director available.

How is it different from the Divemaster (DM) or AI courses?

In your Divemaster course, you learn how to set up and help supervise students and fun divers. But, you are restricted in the number of courses you can supervise. In the IDC you learn how to actually teach the various PADI courses. As a PADI Instructor, you are eligible to teach many dive courses. You are also able to independently supervise student divers.

The IDC is much more focussed on teaching. It actually isn’t too different from the Assistant Instructor course. It’s more like the AI course on steroids. Everything you only do once or twice in AI you do ten or fifteen times in the IDC!

What does a typical day on the IDC consist of?

We usually arrive in the classroom between 8 am and 9 am and chat with Kim about that day’s plan over coffee. Some days are spent in the classroom, reviewing theory, taking practice exams, or giving mock presentations. Other days are spent in the pool or ocean, practicing skills and teaching skills to “students”. We also learn strategies to correct skills to ensure that our students perform them up to standard. Most days are a mixture of both dry and wet learning. The Pro team at Scuba Center Asia is to die for! You can always expect to laugh and have a good time!

The classroom may sound boring BUT IT ISN’T! The team is amazing at finding strategies to engage different learning styles in a fun and interactive way!

What is the exam like?

You usually take your IE with IDC candidates from a number of other dive centers in the area. You are examined by PADI examiners (not your course director, although they are there to support you). On the first day you arrive, you are given a piece of paper with all the information about the next two days. This includes what your presentation topics will be, and what skills you will have to perform in the water.

Candidates participate in a dry workshop, practicing open water descents during the Instructor Development Course (IDC) with evident joy and enthusiasm.

Day 1: Dry (theory and presentations)

In the morning you take two exams. The Standards Exam (which is open book) and the Theory Exam, which is broken into five equal sections. These sections include: equipment, dive physics, physiology, general skills & environment, and recreational dive planning (RDP). You then take a one hour break to prepare your presentation. After that, you present what you have prepared in front of your examination group.

Day 2: Wet

Confined Water: you start the day in the pool where you have to “teach” two skills to mock students. You must be able to teach the skill and correct any problems that the students face when demonstrating the skill. You then have to demonstrate five skills in a skills circuit.

Open Water: in the afternoon you repeat the skills circuit, performing each at a demonstration standard. You then go onto demonstrating rescue scenario seven. Everyone’s favorite!

Almost everyone I have talked to has said that the IE was not as difficult or scary as they expected it to be.

What will I be able to do after my course?

After your course you can teach Discover Scuba Diving (DSD), Scuba Refresher, Scuba Diver, Open Water, Advanced Open Water, Rescue, Divemaster and Project AWARE courses. There are probably more I’m forgetting as well.

You are also eligible to become a specialty Instructor and work toward your Master Scuba Diver Trainer certification.

Any tips for someone thinking about starting the IDC?

I mean… JUST GO FOR IT! You really have nothing to lose!

For those that have decided to go for it and are preparing for their IDC – study study study your theory! If you have that down before arriving it really cuts down on the amount of time the course director has to lecture in the classroom and makes the whole experience more enjoyable for everyone (you get to sleep in longer and get out of class earlier!).

Familiarise yourself with the Instructor Manual as you will use this A LOT both during and after your IDC. But more importantly, do your best to understand all of the five sections of the theory exam like the back of your hand. You digital crewpack is worth all that investment as it’s complete and very helpful. Plus you can start to study on time, way before the actual IDC starts.

A group of excited IDC candidates proudly show off their PADI certifications after completing their training at Scuba Center Asia Lembongan. Their smiles reflect the satisfaction and accomplishment they feel after their hard work.

Finally, what makes the IDC with Scuba Center Asia different?

You really have to meet the team at Scuba Center Asia to understand. They are so fun and engaging. They want to make sure you aren’t just learning how to certify divers. They want you to learn how to certify divers who learn to love diving. They want you to get other people excited about diving!

Most importantly, they make you feel like family. It may feel scary to do your IDC if Lembongan is far from wherever you call home. But, once you get here you will realize you ARE home.  The owners Kim and Bas surround themselves with amazing people who bring you into their circle and treat you as one of their own.

As you can see the IDC isn’t nearly as scary as you may think. The team here at Scuba Center Asia are here to make sure you have the best experience possible.

So what’s holding you back?