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Scuba Diving Jobs Explained – Dive Instructor Salaries, Hours, and Lifestyles

Scuba Diving Jobs Explained – Dive Instructor Salaries, Hours, and Lifestyles

Do you love diving and being in the water? How would it feel to have that passion as your full-time employment?

If you want to know the salary of a diving instructor or need some ideas for employment opportunities in the diving industry, we’ve got the answers.

Please Note: All salaries are average and yearly, unless otherwise stated. Whilst we have GTS members all over the world, a large percentage are based in the US and therefore many of these roles and salaries are US based. Some additional countries are explored later in the article.

Interested in Girls that Scuba members’ salaries in different scuba and ocean jobs? We reveal 16 of them here.

Can you really work as a scuba diver?

The good news is that if you seriously love diving, it is entirely possible to make a good living out of it. The caveat is that, as with any occupation that people get into because they love, it requires considerable work to get to that point and then make more than a minimum wage.

Starting out, you are going to be at the bottom for a while. Many others are vying for the same vacancies and so entry-level work is badly paid. The good news is that most give up at that point or they settle on entry–level only. Put a little extra work in achieving more qualifications and training and watch the competition fall behind.

What if I don’t want to be an instructor?

Woman scuba diving smiling at the camera holding her regulator to the side

A scuba diving instructor is not the only position available, and gaining a complementary qualification will expand your scope and earning potential. For example, you could gain a marine science degree or mining engineering degree.

However, teaching scuba diving is one of the more accessible entry-level positions for those hoping to make a living in diving. Now let’s talk about what salary you can expect as a scuba diving instructor. Do different locations or different jobs make a difference to salary?

Variance in Scuba Diving Salaries Reported

There is a huge variance in salaries reported for scuba diving instructors because different types of organisation will pay vastly differing amounts.

A boutique dive school in Hawaii might offer considerably higher rewards than one in Mexico or on a cruise ship for example. At US dive resorts the pay for an experienced diving instructor is approximately $23,000. For new scuba instructors this salary is reduced to around $20,000.

Like any career, some places will pay higher salaries. Generally the more challenging the environment and the harder the teaching, the higher the salary. Working for dive resorts and hotels can be poorly paid, despite these operations charging high rates to customers. This is because they generally have high overheads elsewhere in their businesses.

Dive schools have a similar issue – their costs are lower, but the fees they charge are very competitive. This means that once again margins are tight. They also often have a good supply of new instructors from their own Instructor Development Courses, as these are highly profitable for dive schools to run.

This creates a “race to the bottom” atmosphere. New instructors are desperate to take any role to gain that all important experience, and dive shops are then over-run with fresh instructors who are more willing to be paid poorly.

Private teaching, if you can find it, tends to be better paid. However this is often challenging as visas are difficult to obtain for this type of work in popular dive destinations.

Average Hourly, Monthly, and Annual Dive Instructor Salaries

An hourly rate might begin as low as $5-10 an hour for an intern and move up to around $30 for someone with specialty instruction skills and ratings.

An average of $16 is realistic for most positions once you have a little experience, however many report earning far less than $10 while starting out.

Some things to be aware of while starting out

Some internships or junior positions at resorts expect you to be at work long hours. However, you are often only paid for the actual time with clients. Because of this, take-home pay can vary considerably, as can your effective hourly rate.

To give an example – as a dive instructor you may be expected to be at the office and available during working hours, but you could only be paid $10 per billable hour. Often, you might end up being at work for 50 or 60 hours, while billable hours are only 20 to 30 hours, resulting in effectively working for $5 an hour or less. As a result, take-home pay can start around $6000 as a part-time instructor or intern.

Rewards for getting through the pain barrier

For those that do well, this can move up to around $84,000 – $100,000 as a highly skilled contractor, management instructor, or specialist.

Most instructors will earn between $18,000 to $36,000, and while this is not great you are doing a job you love, accommodation can be included, and there are chances for progression as experience grows.

Annual salaries start around $20,000 and move up to the low six figures, although this is rare, and would apply more to specialised industries such as defence or mining.

New scuba divers with a scuba diving instructor

Photo by Dive Ninja Expedition

Working Conditions and Costs for Dive Instructors

For most Divemasters, work is often tourism related and seasonal. Since salaries can drop in the low season, to find consistent well-paid work dive instructors often have to move locations throughout the year.

Another point to note is that instructors at resorts can be treated more like contractors than permanent employees. This means that usually, a dive instructor will need to pay for his or her own insurance, health care, and pension. You may also need to work out your own taxes and potentially organise your own visa.

If you develop a good relationship with the employer, chances are you will get consistent recurrent work, however, there is still no hard guarantee of stability.

Average Dive Instructor Salaries by Location

Although not everyone loves to travel and there are possibilities of finding jobs at home, being willing to travel will increase your opportunities to earn.

Of course, some countries pay better than others and you should always take into consideration the cost of living in the country you plan to work in.

Dive instructor salaries in the USA average around $36,000, and can be as high as $100,000. Upmarket schools and resorts in areas like Hawaii or California have the potential for better tips and commissions than budget locations.


There are many diving options available in schools and tourist destinations in Australia. There are some working visa options available if you study there for a certain period, so it may be worth considering if you are looking for at completing your dive certifications. For future opportunities, consider combining this training with a degree which will open up even more doors.

Remember that while rates of pay in Australia are pretty good the cost of living is also exceptionally high, particularly accommodation. As an Australian dive instructor you can expect to earn $15-25 AUD ($10-15 USD) per hour or around $150-200 AUD ($100-150 USD) per day. How many days a week or month? You will only know by asking the employer.

Middle East

Compared to other locations, the salaries of dive instructors in the Middle East are relatively low. Instructors have reported average rates are 60,000-84,000 AED ($18,000-24,000 USD per year) in a resort where accommodation is included.

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Rates may be slightly higher if you can access private employers, government positions, or high-end schools. Again remember that accommodation rental is quite high in the Middle East due to the large ex-pat populations that are restricted to renting and employer-housing schemes.

The good news is that other costs of living are not that high, however, this salary will only provide a relatively basic lifestyle.

In Thailand dive instructors can expect anywhere between 30,000 to 60,000 THB per month, again equating to around $10,000-$24,000 USD per year which seems to be a common figure.

This will vary with the high and low season as pay is often per student or per dive, however, remember that the cost of living is relatively cheap in Thailand outside of resorts. This can often offer a comfortable lifestyle. The Philippines offers similar opportunities.

Countries like Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka are all expanding their diving tourism, following in the footsteps of Thailand’s successes.

While many parts of Thailand have become quite commercial, the ‘off the beaten track’ type will appreciate the less commercial aspects of these other parts of Asia.

Salaries for Scuba Instructors by Employer Type

Resorts and Cruise Ships

The average for a resort or cruise ship worldwide seems to be around $18,000-$24,000 (USD). While the salary is low, the very low cost of living is a benefit. Accommodation is usually included, meals may be included or at least subsidised, and taxes are generally minimal at sea. This allows you to save a significant sum of money during a season.

Dive Schools

Depending on availability of work, you may be part-time, and the rates could be as low as $6000 (USD per annum). Dive schools are often a starting out point for new instructors, and as stated before that while the work is tough, at least you are gaining experience. Tips for great service can also boost your salary.

Military Dive Instructor

If military life appeals to you, the gruelling physical work and challenging selection process to become a Navy Diving Instructor can be incredibly rewarding in both salary and benefits.

A navy dive instructor is an officer commission and would bring a salary of around $60,000 -$84,000. According to, the US navy is one of the biggest employers of divers.

Private Instructor or Specialty Instructor

Once you specialise in different skills, such as photography, underwater maintenance, mine diving, course coordinator, or boat master, the salary expected can increase significantly.

Finding private clients or businesses where personal dive services are needed can be better paid. Salaries can be potentially range from $48,000-$85,000 or more.

Management Instructor

A dive coordinator, training coordinator, or course director are advanced courses available for experienced instructors. While these positions involve a mix of diving and office work, they also offer the chance to earn a slightly higher salary than a line instructor and salaries can range from $35,000 to $70,000.

Commercial Diving

Asides from instruction there may be a variety of commercial activities that require a dive instructor rating, which can increase earning capacity.

These types of jobs usually need training in additional skills you can perform underwater, and often require an initial expense on specialised courses. Median rates for an experienced commercial diver are higher than most at around $58,000 a year.

Summary of Scuba Diving Salaries

While salary is an important factor to all of us, it should never be your only motivation for becoming a scuba diving instructor. You need to both love the work, embrace the responsibility of your task, and understand the competitive and physical nature of the industry.

If you are okay with this, then how good you are at your job and at marketing yourself, and how willing you are to move for great opportunities, will determine your success in earning a high salary.

Please note salaries are estimated, and could actually be a lot lower as scuba diving becomes more popular and more jobs become available. Not many of us are in it for the money!

Scuba Diving Salaries Explained (By Location & Type)

Scuba Diving Salaries

The variety of occupations requiring scuba divers can be extreme, with salaries to match. I discuss all in my guide to scuba diving salaries explained.

What do scuba diving jobs pay? As in any industry, there can be significant differences and this may affect the career path you choose.

Take this as your guide to average expected salaries for different types of jobs involving scuba diving worldwide. Would you feel comfortable earning these wages if it lets you explore the underwater world?

Table of Contents

Dive Instructor Scuba Diving Salaries By Location

Dive Instructor Scuba Diving Salaries By Location

Having your scuba diving instructor certification opens up employment opportunities in all parts of the world. This is one of the most popular jobs in the diving industry and also one of the more flexible.

Although you have plenty of choice in location, the salaries are highly dependent on where in the world you choose to work. These averages per region may give you more insight.

Even within the United States, there is a wide range in diving career salaries. For example, dive instructors in California earn much more than other states on the mainland and Hawaii has even higher averages.

The type of place you work at will also make a difference. For example, high-end resorts and liveaboard cruises can offer more than small independent dive schools.

Annual: $45,000

Monthly: $3,750

Hourly: $18-$24


Because each European country has its own regulations on the minimum wage, just like the USA, what you earn will depend on where you work. For example, there tend to be higher salaries in Malta than in Spain.

It is also worth noting that you should keep in mind that there can be quite a difference in living costs. Not just in the European country as a whole, but also between cities and rural areas.

Annual: $20,000

Monthly: $1,800

Hourly: $12-$15

In Asia a dive instructor’s work is generally seasonal, matching the tourist high season. Which does mean that many dive instructors will move to another employer after just a few months. With that being said, that can’t be all bad, as it allows you to travel and see the world.

Keep in mind that salaries here are generally lower compared to the US and Europe. However, living costs are considerably lower and many dive centers give free accommodation.

Annual: $10,000

Monthly: $800

Hourly: $5-$10



Your experience level and location will affect your salary greatly when working in Australia. On average, Australian salaries are quite high compared to other countries but the living costs are also higher.

Unfortunately, you’ll mainly find that the opportunities are limited to internship positions and entry-level jobs. Meaning that it will be more than likely that you have to work your way up the ladder.

Annual: $40,000

Monthly: $3,500

Hourly: $20-$25

Middle East

Unlike many other countries featured in this blog, recreational scuba diving is not quite as popular in the Middle East. However, there are still some opportunities to be had. Average salaries in the diving industry are not high but commercial diving positions may offer greater salaries.

With that in mind, it’s worth noting that rent can be quite expensive in the Middle East, especially compared to other living costs.

Annual: $20,000

Monthly: $1,500

Hourly: $10-$15

Instructor Scuba Diving Salaries By Job Type

Instructor Scuba Diving Salaries By Job Type

Unlike the divemaster who leads, an instructor teaches. However, don’t think that teaching beginner open-water courses is the only job you can get as a scuba dive instructor. There are not only job opportunities in recreational diving, but many different industries and niches.

If you are training divers for a commercial diving career, you will likely earn more. This is because a more specialized skill set is required, along with the use of specialized equipment.

Diving Resort

The popularity of working at a dive resort is huge, with many divemasters wanting to teach at them. Therefore a lot of opportunities to be had are likely to be an entry-level start.

Be that as it may, depending on where you work, your employer might offer you other benefits. This could be accommodation and meals, but remember, this is often as compensation for a lower salary.

Annual: $36,000

Monthly: $3,000

Hourly: $15-$25

Dive Liveaboard

A great way to experience a diving vacation is on one of the numerous liveaboards that are available worldwide. Creating the opportunity for another of the extremely sought-after positions for dive guides and instructors. Although the salary is not spectacular, daily expenses such as accommodation and meals are already covered by the liveaboard operator.

Overall, a pretty good deal in my book. Above all, being a professional diver on liveaboards is a great way to travel and meet other enthusiastic scuba divers but expect long hours.

Annual: $22,000

Monthly: $1,500

Hourly: –

Dive School/Center

Although many dive resorts have a dive school, there are also stand-alone training centers. These can be found in urban areas and usually make use of a swimming pool instead of open water.

Therefore giving you opportunities in more locations to start your career as an instructor. As a matter of fact, there may even be a center somewhere near you.

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Annual: $30,000

Monthly: $2,500

Hourly: $15-$25

Military Dive Instructor

With this job title, it is your job to train army or navy personnel as a scuba diver. This involves a lot more intense training than you would give for recreational diving. And, since you have to deal with more hazardous situations and equipment, this job is usually part of a military career so it can take several years to reach.

Annual: $30,000

Monthly: $2,500

Hourly: $120-$300

Commercial Diving

Commercial Diving

You will require a strong background in engineering to instruct commercial divers, and most likely a university degree. It is highly skilled work which is why salaries tend to be substantially higher.

In addition to the higher pay package. The chances are that, as the instructor, you likely won’t be sent off to the remote oil rigs where the commercial divers work.

Annual: $70,000

Monthly: $6,000

Hourly: $25

Management Instructor

As a management instructor, you have a double role. You not only teach beginner divers, but you will also be responsible for coordinating the other instructors. This type of work entails general management skills along with the obvious diving expertise that you have to offer.

In reality, it may help to get management experience or certification. Without it, you may find that you have to work your way up the ladder.

Annual: $45,000

Monthly: $4,000

Hourly: $20-$30

Private Instructor

If you would like more control over your work hours, you can consider becoming a private instructor. Although this is a career path that offers more flexibility, you will have to build a reputation and make connections. Therefore you do need to be in a position to wait for the full potential to reveal itself.

You can try to compensate for the inconsistent pay with work in underwater photography or other side gigs.

Annual: $25,000

Monthly: $1,200

Hourly: $50-$100

Types of Scuba Diving Jobs & Their Salaries

Types of Scuba Diving Jobs Salary

Beyond dive instructor jobs, you can have a diving career in other niches. For some of these jobs being a scuba diver is more of an extra skill rather than a core activity.

Again, commercial divers generally earn more than jobs in recreational diving and the salary may vary in different parts of the world.

Public Safety Diver

Like with military diving, you usually have a regular service salary and get additional pay for time spent underwater. Here, where you live makes a big difference.

Average annual salary: $45,000

Military Diver

In most cases, military-certified divers have regular service and get special duty pay for the days spent underwater. This is a career where experience will get you more pay.

Average annual salary: $30,000

Commercial Diver

There are many different positions in the commercial diving industry so salaries may differ. For example, underwater welders may earn more than ship cleaners.

Average annual salary: $60,000

Dive Shop Owner / Manager

Salaries will vary a lot depending on the size of the business and this is also one of the diving jobs where you might not spend much time underwater. This is a good idea for your own business.

Average annual salary: $50,000

Marine Biologist

Marine Biologist

You will need a university degree for this scientific diving job but this often also means a higher salary. Your salary depends on the type of institution you work for.

Average annual salary: $52,000

Scientific Diver

There are many different niches you can specialize in as a scientific diver, so there is also more variance in pay. Most work for private companies within a different industry.

Average annual salary: $30,000

Underwater Photographer

Many underwater photographers work as freelancers so the money you get depends a lot on the type of clients you work with. This can also be a part-time job making it pretty flexible.

Average annual salary: $30,000

Underwater Archeologist

Since most archeologists work for research institutions, the salary is often dependent on grants and the salary is slow to rise. Hence, the big gap between entry-level and top earners.

Average annual salary: $30,000-$90,000

Golf Ball Diver

This is a surprisingly well-paying job but this has to do with the high day rate of approximately $120-$200. How much you earn will depend on how many golf courts are your clients.

Average annual salary: $50,000

People Also Ask (FAQs)

People Also Ask

In the diving industry, wages are never guaranteed but the above averages may give you better insights into what your skills will earn you. Here are a few more clarifications about scuba diving jobs salaries.

What is the highest-paying diving job?

On average, commercial divers have the highest paying diving job, especially when working in dangerous conditions. Examples include a career as a HAZMAT diver (hazardous materials), an offshore diver for oil and gas companies, or a saturation diver.

Do scuba divers make good money?

How much you get paid as a scuba diver really depends on the skills you are to have. If you have earned a university degree for the profession, work in hazardous situations, etc. You likely earn more than a scuba instructor at a dive school.

Is it worth becoming a scuba instructor?

Because many jobs and travel opportunities come with being a scuba instructor, it is well worth it. You can take your career in many directions and you will have highly specialized skills.


If you want to live a life underwater then these diving jobs may help you do just that. Think about how much you would need to get paid to live comfortably before you work towards the right certification.

Scuba diving is more than a passion to me, it’s a part of who I am. Now, I travel and dive as much as I can, exploring the world, trying new dive gear, discovering dive destinations and reviewing them here for you. All while educating people of the threats our marine life and oceans face every day and what we can do to help defend it.



Yup, I’ve said it. You’re never going to make your fortunes being a scuba diving instructor unless you are really jammy. Like, you’re the person who comes up golden every time and inexplicably finds themself working as an instructor on some billionaires private yacht (yes, I do know someone this happened to!)

For most of us, we’ll probably end up working for living wage rates (which in the UK is just shy of £10/hour). Entering the diving industry as a newbie instructor, you can expect this kind of wage for a good few years as you build up experience and qualifications.

The thing is, it kinda depends on where you’re going to be working in the world. It’s a lot harder to live on £10 per hour in the UK compared to £10 per hour somewhere like South East Asia. “How much does a scuba instructor get paid” is a relative term and I’ll talk about that more in a minute.


Back in the day, I was a teacher. I’ve got a degree in Product Design and after coming out of uni not wanting to become a designer, I decided to get my PGCE. I started teaching Design Tech (woodwork, metal work. that kind of thing) and in the beginning, I absolutely LOVED my job. Helping kids build amazing projects and watching them become thoughtful problem-solvers is awesome.

After about 3 years, I started falling out of love with teaching. I didn’t stop loving what I did in the classroom – working with younguns was still ace. It was all the background stuff that no one tells you about during your teacher training. The reporting, the paperwork and the constant scrutiny by management. I spent so much time proving I was a good teacher (by planning lessons to tick boxes on some government checklist), that I couldn’t actually be a good teacher.

It was around this time that I decided to make the most of my school summer holiday and travel to Andros in the Bahamas. 6 weeks in the Caribbean working on fish surveys and while I was there I completed my Divemaster. It. Was. Epic.

It was a lightning bolt, a total wake up call. At the end of the project, they had to drag me off the island. I didn’t want to go back to my 9-5. As soon as I got home, I headed to the first PADI members forum. My goal was to find somewhere I could gain experience by becoming a volunteer (that word there, ugh. “Volunteer” – we’re going to come back to that in a minute and I’m going to tell you what I HATE about the UK diving industry).

If you want to read more about this initial meeting and where it led, I wrote a whole blog on it. But to cut a long story short, within about a year I was an instructor – all while continuing my day job (which is completely normal here in the UK).

It took another couple of years for the rot of teaching to really set in. My mental health was shot, I was miserable, stressed, just in a complete rut. The only thing that made me happy? Scuba diving. I longed for the weekends when I could get in the water with students. I found myself planning diving lessons over planning design tech lessons. I had to make a change.

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In 2012 I applied for a sabbatical. I also applied for every single scuba instructor job anywhere in the world. I ended up in Malaysia. I told my school to shove their job where the sun doesn’t shine because I wasn’t coming back.

So, what’s this story got to do with “how much does a dive instructor get paid”? Well, I was earning good money as a teacher. I think I was on about £35k near the end of it. I had plenty of money to cover my living expenses, to buy nice things, to go out with my mates, to go on amazing holidays. What took me far too long to realise is that money isn’t everything.

Yes, you need money to live. But keeping up with the Joneses and having the latest iPhone, I couldn’t care less about that kind of thing now. I have a lifestyle that I absolutely love. You couldn’t pay me a million pounds to go back to teaching (although when I came back from Malaysia and times were tough, I did dabble in supply teaching – I lasted 2 weeks and got a crappy data entry job instead. Lesson learnt!)


In Malaysia I worked my arse off. For a pittance. At the start, as a relatively inexperienced instructor, I reckon I earned about £400 a month. I mean, you couldn’t live on that in the UK but over there that was enough to rent a room and pay for food and drink. Granted, I wasn’t left with much at the end of the month but the lifestyle was absolutely fantastic.

I woke up in the morning, walked to work along the beach, took people diving all day and then hit the bar at night. Every. Single. Day. The island was beautiful, the dive sites were awesome. It really was an incredible 4 years of my life.

As I became more experienced (and James joined me), we got jobs at the biggest centre on the island. Eventually, we stepped up and started to manage the place. The wages increased, along with our responsibility. Before we left to come home and set up The Fifth Point, not only were we in charge of a huge diving operation with a team of around 25 people, 4 boats and a swimming pool, but also a hotel too. We really worked our arses off. Easily 90 hour weeks. Every week.

We learnt so much, and to be honest, there’s no way we could have built The Fifth Point to what it is today without learning the ropes in Malaysia. By the end of our time there, we were earning about £1,200 a month each. When you compare that to UK wages (and what I used to earn as a teacher), it’s hardly impressive – that’s still less than minimum wage (WAY less if you consider the hours we worked). But the cost of living in SE Asia is so minimal, we were living like kings on a paradise island and having an absolute ball.

The instructors from B&J on a pre-season training sesion

Your wage will depend on where in the world you’re working and how much experience you have, but 9 times out of 10 it’ll be commission based. The more you teach, the more you make. There’s not many diving jobs where you get a fixed salary (unless you find yourself working on a cruise ship or something like that). When I was managing the shop in Malaysia, I got a basic managers wage that I could top up with teaching commission. There are lots of variables, so it’s hard to give you an exact figure. I can’t say “if you work in x country, you will receive y wage”.

The thing is, the question you need the answer to is not “how much does a scuba instructor get paid”. The question you should be asking is. “is it worth it”. If you want a job where you can travel the world, meet incredible people and actually enjoy getting up for work in the morning, becoming a scuba instructor is a total no-brainer. For me, the lifestyle far, far outweighs the money I can make. You just need to decide if that’s the right thing for you.


This is where the dream kinda falls a little bit flat. If you’re hoping to live the same lifestyle as an instructor working in the tropics, but in the UK. I’ll be honest, you’ll be disappointed.

Paid job prospects for instructors in the UK are few and far between. If you do manage to get lucky and land yourself a job, you’ll probably earn a living wage. And fair warning, I’m about to go on a total rant here. The UK diving industry is screwed up and I want you to know why.

In the UK, the majority of dive centres rely on volunteer instructors to deliver their courses. There’s that word again. I’m triggered. And full disclosure, we rely on volunteer instructors at The Fifth Point too – not exclusively, but they are an extremely important part of our team. We’ve got full-time staff working here too, and our “volunteers” do earn a commission. I want to make this really clear – neither earn as much as I want them to. It’s something I’m working on, but it’s a long-game strategy. Let me try and explain.

Imagine you just completed your IDC in the UK. You’re now a qualified PADI instructor and you’re looking for work. why aren’t there any paid instructor jobs waiting for you? Well, it’s because most dive centres can’t afford to pay you. They’re in a race to the bottom, trying to undercut the competition. The profit margins are so crazy tight, there’s no room to pay wages. It’s absolute insanity, but it’s happened because instructors here are soo passionate about what they do, they’re willing to do it for free. Over time, this has become the norm (especially with the not-for-profit business models of BSAC and other clubs). Free labour has become engrained in the costing of courses, and after all – why wouldn’t a business owner take advantage of this?

If you’ve seen the price of our PADI Instructor Development Course (or any of our courses, for that matter), you’ll notice that we are WAY more expensive than other dive centres in our area, and I’d say we’re some of the highest prices in the UK too. Why? Well, one of the main reasons is because we pay wages! Staff costs are the biggest outgoing for any small business. We’re no different and it’s reflected in our prices. I mentioned that we’re in the long-game with this, our prices will continue to rise as we build the business and pay higher wages. My goal is to pay ALL of my instructors and divemasters an above-average wage and/or commission for the work they do.

Now, there are some instructors that are totally happy with working for free. It’s their hobby, they’ve got a decent 9-5 that pays the bills and they genuinely do it because they love teaching. They don’t want or need anything in return. If that sounds like you, you’re an absolute star. Seriously, you’re an incredible asset to any dive centre. And that was me when I came back from the Bahamas – I was at the PADI forum handing out business cards. They said “Nic Emery, Divemaster – will work for air”. But I couldn’t stay a volunteer forever, I wanted a career in diving because I didn’t like the job I was stuck in.


I’ve been brutally honest in this article. If you’re chasing the money, becoming a scuba instructor is not for you. There’s an old joke in this industry – “if you want to make a small fortune in diving, start with a large one”. And it’s totally true! The money, time and effort I’ve invested to reach PADI Course Director level and open my own dive centre. nooo! Don’t make me think about it! BUT, have I enjoyed every single minute of my 12 year (and counting) dive pro career? Abso-frickin-lutely. I’ll never go back to a proper job. This lifestyle suits me perfectly. My wage is small but I live. The most important thing is that I’m happy.

My biggest piece of advice is to recognise your worth. Understand that you’re not going to make your millions, but at the same time don’t work for free or be taken advantage of. As an instructor, the world is your oyster. Use this brilliant career as an opportunity to travel the world. You only need to fork out for the initial flight ticket and the rest of your travels will pay for themselves – you can literally work your way around the world. By the time you’re ready to come home. I might even have a well paid job waiting for you!




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