Taking your IDC may seem like a scary thing, but it's all worth it when you are able to call yourself an instructor

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

Never fear; our lovely Bria is here to answer all of the questions you may have.

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

Sure! So the IDC is divided into two sections. The Assistant Instructor and Open Water Scuba Instructor (OWSI) components. These wet and dry segments 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 own examiners.

What do you learn in the IDC?

As an Instructor, you can teach many different dive courses. So, you must review all the dive theories 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.

Kim is sure to make you an amazing instructor. You will spend a lot of time in the classroom and in the pool. But you are sure to have a lot of fun

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

Nope! I was an Assistant Instructor before I took my IDC. But, you only need to be a Divemaster to be eligible for the IDC / IE. Being an AI sets you up for what to expect during the IDC, but it’s not a must. Most people choose to be an AI before becoming an Instructor because they don’t have a Course Director available.

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

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

The IDC is much more focussed on teaching. It 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 school, reviewing theory, taking practice exams, or giving mock presentations. Other days are spent in the pool or ocean, practising 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. Between Kim, Bas, and the rest of the staff, you can always expect to laugh and have a good time!

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

IDC skill practise in the pool is called a confined teaching presentation

What is the exam like?

You usually take your IE with IDC candidates from several other dive centres 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.

Day 1: Dry (theory and presentations)

In the morning you take two exams. The Standards Exam (open book) and the Theory Exam are 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 teach the skill and correct any problems the students face when demonstrating the skill. You then have to demonstrate five skills in a skills circuit.

Open Water: this mostly happens after the confined session during the PADI IE. Here you show the examiner your two skills in the open water performing each at a demonstration standard with perfect control of your group of students. You then go on to demonstrate rescue scenario seven. Everyone's favourite!

Almost everyone I have talked to has said that the IE was nowhere 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. If you choose to learn more, you can do directly after the IDC with Kim some Speciality courses to become a Specialty Instructor.

You are also eligible to become a speciality Instructor and work toward your Master Scuba Diver Trainer certification. This is a so-called internship in which you team-teach with a senior dive instructor from Scuba Center Asia!  I can highly recommend that, plus Kim will be there every step of the way.

Any tips for someone thinking about starting the IDC?

I mean… JUST GO FOR IT! You 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 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 during and after your IDC. But more importantly, do your best to understand the five sections of the theory exam like the back of your hand. Kim provides a nice PADI study guide, so you can study all necessary topics ahead of time.

Finally, what makes the IDC with Kim different?

You have to meet Kim (and Bas) to understand. They are so fun and engaging. They want to ensure you aren’t just learning 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. Kim and Bas surround themselves with amazing people who bring you into their circle and treat you as one of their own.

The IDC candidates finalising the PADI instructor exam days. The IE at Lembongan

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

So what’s holding you back?