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More training - facility recommendations needed


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#1 asainak

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Posted 18 September 2009 - 05:33 PM

I was wondering if anyone has a recomendation on a training facility that can take me from Advanced open water diver to instructor all at once? I am very interested in becoming an instructor and I can't do it in Alaska so I am willing to go outside for how ever long it takes to get this training. Any and all info will be welcomed.

#2 uwfan

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Posted 18 September 2009 - 05:45 PM

Ahhh, a true Alaskan..."go outside" for those of you puzzled by the phrase... simply means leaving Alaska to some other place...

Hope someone can help, I know the two main dive shops I deal with in the Denver Area tend to run a series of courses in such a way that you might take Rescue, then Divemaster in a continuous stream of courses. Instructor isn't currently in my vision, so I don't know about that.

I do know one shop runs a 6 month divemaster course rather than a 6 week course. IF I decide to do divemaster (just getting through Rescue tomorrow...) I think I would go with the 6 month course as it sounds like it prepares anyone to a much higher level than a 6 week class. But that, as I said, is a ways off in my thought process.

#3 Landlocked Dive Nut

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Posted 18 September 2009 - 06:44 PM

I don't know of any agency that does Rescue, DM and Instructor in one fell swoop. SSI will do Dive Control Specialist, which requires you to have your Rescue class already done, and it will cert you to be a DM and an assistant instructor, but to be a full-fledged instructor is a separate class.

In order to be an effective DM and/or Instructor, you should have practical experience at each individual level IMHO. You cannot teach what you do not know or have not experienced. I know you're in a "less than hospitable" dive environment and that's why you want to do everything all at once in a better location, but I still say you should separate each level of training with some practical dive experience.
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#4 Bubble2Bubble

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Posted 18 September 2009 - 07:42 PM

If I was you I would go to Tamerindo Costa Rica and look up Pacific Coast Divers Op or the Scuba Club Cozumel in Mx, both places offer training in a very popular/busy diving area and you would get the proper training "in real time".. Costa Rica would be less expensive but Cozumel would offer better diving. If your gona end up being and instructor..brush-up on using the o'l dive tables and learn how to teach them to others.

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#5 Parrotman

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Posted 19 September 2009 - 01:35 PM

Deep Blue Divers in Utila can do the job for you. They have the instructors available to take you all the way through. The cost of living there is very reasonable and you get to do some great diving as well.
This is the school not the resort, although the resort can also accomodate you but it would be rather expensive. Rent an apartment in town. You don't need a car and you will dive your butt off while also getting your credentials.

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#6 pir8

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Posted 19 September 2009 - 06:38 PM

I always hear of shops in Fla that do that kind of training. I can't really reccomend any one over another since I didn't go that way.
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#7 peterbj7

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Posted 19 September 2009 - 07:42 PM

My (strong) recommendation is - don't do it. I'll elaborate if you want me to, but you should be able to see why I think it highly undesirable.

#8 asainak

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Posted 24 September 2009 - 03:16 PM

Thank You for all the input I have decided to go to Utila Bay Islands Collage of Diving. After talking to a few of my friends and a couple of Instructors they recomended Utila for the amount of real time training that you recieve in the 3 month course.

So Thanks again

Asa :teeth:

#9 Cold_H2O

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Posted 24 September 2009 - 04:47 PM

Are you planning to return and teach in Alaska?
I am certain that Utila Bay offers a great course but I strongly recommend that you find a dive shop in the WA/OR area that will allow you to improve you cold water skills.

Nothing wrong with training in warm water.. but if you are going to mainly teach cold water diving..
PLEASE spend a great deal of time learning the different skills needed to dive cold water.

If you dive in Alaska I am sure you reconize this.

Edited by Cold_H2O, 24 September 2009 - 04:48 PM.

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#10 asainak

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Posted 27 September 2009 - 06:17 PM

Are you planning to return and teach in Alaska?
I am certain that Utila Bay offers a great course but I strongly recommend that you find a dive shop in the WA/OR area that will allow you to improve you cold water skills.

Nothing wrong with training in warm water.. but if you are going to mainly teach cold water diving..
PLEASE spend a great deal of time learning the different skills needed to dive cold water.

If you dive in Alaska I am sure you reconize this.


Thanks I am not sure where I will teach, but I am lookin into southern Cal, Hawaii or Mexico I have a house in Cabo Pulmo and land in Hawaii so those are two of my options. I am not ruling out Alaska since that is where I live for now.

#11 secretsea18

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Posted 27 September 2009 - 06:45 PM

Are you planning to return and teach in Alaska?
I am certain that Utila Bay offers a great course but I strongly recommend that you find a dive shop in the WA/OR area that will allow you to improve you cold water skills.

Nothing wrong with training in warm water.. but if you are going to mainly teach cold water diving..
PLEASE spend a great deal of time learning the different skills needed to dive cold water.

If you dive in Alaska I am sure you reconize this.


Thanks I am not sure where I will teach, but I am lookin into southern Cal, Hawaii or Mexico I have a house in Cabo Pulmo and land in Hawaii so those are two of my options. I am not ruling out Alaska since that is where I live for now.



As a diver who did my OW class in Southern California, there is nothing in your training (as obtained in Utila, except for learning to share air) that will prepare you for teaching diving students how to dive in Southern California. As all dive classes do both shore and boat dives in training, I sincerely hope that you plan to live and do several hundred dives in So, California before you even think of teaching there. So Cal. is entirely different than Utila, in every regard I can think of.
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#12 uwfan

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Posted 27 September 2009 - 07:10 PM

Okay, I'll say it, I am JEALOUS of your options! :birthday: I love drift diving in Mexico, am intrigued (but also chilled by just thinking about it) when I think about So. California diving, and I'd love to go to Hawaii at some point and try some diving there.

Of course each of those areas has different diving circumstances, so I would agree with secretsea, whereever you want to go to teach should be the kind of diving you do a lot, and you should train to teach for those conditions. I just finished my Rescue course in a muddy lake... er puddle!... in Colorado. I still have some issues when visibility is low ...they said 10 feet but I'm not sure I'm buying it! :birthday: ... , and cold water gives me the chills. But if I were to ever divemaster or teach here I'd have to get beyond those challenges - work on the claustrophobia with the vis issues and learn dry suit to stay warm.

Just curious, why not teach in Alaska?

#13 DiveGeek

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Posted 28 September 2009 - 05:36 AM

My (strong) recommendation is - don't do it.


I agree with Peter on this one. In the dive industry we call these kind of programs "Zero to Hero" programs. What they're attempting to do is compress years of experience into a couple of months. I've actually had the pleasure of watching a friend go through her night specialty training with an instructor who went through one of these programs. The instructor pretty much didn't have a clue.

Whichever path you choose in becoming an instructor, here's some advice that I wish someone had given me once I decided to become an instructor:
  • Become a better diver. Mind you, I'm saying this not knowing what kind of diver you are, but in my experience, most instructors I have run into are pretty poor divers. In order to be a competent instructor, one must first be a skilled diver
  • Assist with as many classes as you can, under as many different instructors as you can. See how other instructors do it, and take lessons and ideas from each. What you are going to find is that there are ways that work for you and that there are even more ways that do not.
  • Learn how to teach. I went through the PADI instructor education system, but I imagine my experience wasn't any different from what other programs offer. The IDC (Instructor Development Course) didn't really prepare me to become an instructor - it prepared me for the IE (Instructor Evaluation). If that's the case with the program you take, be aware of that fact. One of the other candidates with whom I went through the whole process taught (and presumably still teaches) the exact same way he was trained in the IDC. While that was great for the Examiner, it doesn't make for a good experience for the students.
  • Understand that there is a difference between training and certification. Most dive shops these days don't really provide training, they simply offer certifications. Certification is something that must be earned by successful completion of a training program. I could go on quite a bit more about this topic but this post is already fairly lengthy.
  • Decide what kind of instructor you are going to be. Are you going to be an instructor that simply checks the box indicating that the student (marginally) completed the skill, or are you going to be an instructor that prepares your students in a manner that makes them competent divers? If you choose the latter, you must first raise the bar on your own expectations before you can raise the bar on your expectations of your students.
Take this advice with a grain of salt since it is, after all, simply my opinion.

Mark
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#14 peterbj7

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Posted 28 September 2009 - 10:13 AM

Thank you Mark. I have been an instructor in a several different fields, and my personal philosophy is never to try to teach anything until I have myself advanced at least two levels beyond what I'm teaching, and also never to teach until I honestly believe myself to be one of the most experienced people I know in that field. That applied to skiing, skydiving and now scuba.

I have a friend in England who went through one of these diving education mills, hers being the now-defunct Pro-Dive in Fort Lauderdale. I think she was AOW when she went there, and was OWSI when she returned. She then started part-time teaching at the shop I also worked at part-time. She was a very bright girl and her classroom and pool sessions were a lot of fun and highly educational, albeit quite lengthy. I never saw her working in the sea. What I do know was that a few months later she and I were on the same fun dive together (buddied to other people) and she lost her weight belt whilst emerging from a wreck at about 70ft in a harbour opening. She went straight to the surface (we were all wearing drysuits) and bobbed up directly in front of a fast moving boat. Luckily the captain was swerving gently from side to side and saw her. He couldn't stop was was able to miss her.

The next time I met her in the dive centre she had her instructor card in her hand, and she ceremonially cut it in half in front of all her friends and colleagues, saying that only when she felt appropriately qualified would she apply to get it back. She still dives intensively as part of her work as a marine chemist, but so far as I know she has never attempted to teach since.


On Utila, I have never been there but I know several people who have. One person who was a DMT with me in England years ago went there as an instructor, but left as he felt standards there were dangerously low. I know one person I taught up to DM level who then went off there last year to see what levels he could achieve. He now holds cards saying he is a more advanced recreational instructor than I am, and is qualified to dive and teach technical diving to a high level. When I last heard he was intending to become a cave diving instructor. I have never known him attempt any remotely technical dive, and to the best of my knowledge he has never been inside a cave. He has certainly never been inside a wreck, not deep inside, yet he can apparently teach others. And from taking to him he has never had to deal with a real life-threatening situation, either for himself or others. All his learning has been from staged "scenarios". To me this is all quite frightening.

Edited by peterbj7, 28 September 2009 - 10:30 AM.


#15 peterbj7

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Posted 28 September 2009 - 10:32 AM

I am very interested in becoming an instructor and I can't do it in Alaska

Why not?




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