09 Aug Choosing the Right PADI IDC in South East Asia
The first step should be to contact various PADI Course Directors in different locations. If you don’t feel comfortable with the person don’t bother to continue as the mutual understanding doesn’t work and it will be a hard IDC for both. There are 8 different considerations you should look at before choosing the right program and contacting dive centres.
Is the Course Director present at all segments of your IDC? It might be that there are very experienced Staff Instructors and Master Instructors out there but in the end it should be the Course Director teaching this course. The Course Director training is not the big advantage over Staff instructor but the experience, passion, commitment and professionalism you need to get accepted by PADI to achieve that rating earns you the right to teach the next generation of diving educators. Make sure that you have support not only during course hours. My credo as a Course Director is that I am 24/7 available for my candidates during the course plus pre and after care for theory standards and equipment questions plus also giving a hand in getting a job.
It doesn’t really matter where I’m doing my IDC? Partially true, as you want to become a PADI Instructor in a similar environment as to where you teach. If you train somewhere in central Europe where you need a dry suit for teaching it makes actually sense to train in that area. You don’t only learn how to teach on an Idc, a big part is also how to market yourself, your courses and the area. So it makes perfect sense to learn where you teach to find out about strengths, weaknesses and opportunity’s on how to market yourself in the area.
Preparation trough self study:
Does the IDC center give you an option to start preparation from home? There is on one side the IDC online from PADI which basically covers 9 out of 18 presentations from the entire IDC. The benefit for this is that you save two days sitting in the classroom and listening to the course director which you will do anyways quite a lot. Or finish those presentations in a stress free environment from home? I believe personally it doesn’t matter, it is up to you but again it is nice to have a choice. The downside to it is that most likely have to pay a little bit more.
The next step is theory preparation, I’ve seen IDC’s where candidates sit until 10pm going over endless exams and are really struggling. Pre preparation on your own helps you in any IDC. PADI has a workbook which focuses on theory online and you need most likely all your manuals to answer the questions. Because of this I invented my online IDC classroom. The most valued ability of a PADI professional is good attitude and outstanding dive skills. However, to put those abilities into action you need to know the how and why about physics, physiology, equipment, environment, RDP and dive skills to be able to teach student divers in the best possible way once becoming an instructor. This doesn’t only prepare you for your exams in an organized and understandable way, it also provides you with real life examples, videos, diagrams, skill demonstrations and finally hundreds of questions in quizzes and a final exam which simulates the Instructor Examinations. Having a divecenter providing this makes your IDC way more relaxed and you can focus on the main reason you are doing an IDC which is learn how to teach in the practical way.
There are many people in the Industry which tell you language is everything. I don’t think so as the main important attribute of a Dive instructor or beyond is attitude and once underwater no one is interested in a language. Speaking different languages is a bonus when you apply later. The general speaking language in the diving Industry is english. If you don’t speak it you most likely are going to do your IDC close to your home or in an IDC center which is limited to that language. Not a problem but you are limiting your choices. The next best option here is to do the course in english and make sure that there is either the Course Director or Staff Instructor who can support and explain in your language.
There are not always the same facilities! The dive centre should be at least a 5*IDC centre or CDC centre to make sure the standard requirements are met. As a base it should have a dedicated Classroom with Wifi, TV or Projector, Coffee (very important) Tea and Water. Pool with shallow and deep area which should be to deep in which to stand. Retail shop for Marketing presentations and selling workshops. Open Water easily accessible within walking distance or drive by bus or boat within ten minutes. A nice example of facilities you can find here Joe’s living room
As said before there is always the same standard program worldwide regardless where you are signing up. However some places have some added value for the same price. In some places you get extra shirts and Rash guards. Others give you extended training like 3 days preparation for free. Some throw in a Speciality Instructor training. You can’t expect any of it but it is a plus. For me personally I like to give my students value throught knowledge like a reference library and access to my IDC Classroom for life, plus one Instructor training for free. Those are nice add on’s, make sure they are valuable to you.
General the money part is a big consideration, you will find big price differences because some just don’t mention additional fees and material costs you have to pay to PADI regardless of location, while others are more transparent. Materials costs are different depending on location as some countries have higher import taxes so it is always a good idea to check prices and maybe purchase that before your IDC. Here in Indonesia you will get an IDC and EFRi package for around 750US$. The other fees like Instructor application and EFR Instructor application fees are at the moment at a total of 434AU$. After your IDC you need to attend a two day PADI Instructor Examination which costs 890AU$ at the moment.
The prices mentioned above are standard and there is no way around those for any IDC or CDC centre in South East Asia. So if a course costs less then 1730US$ there is something wrong as those are fees and materials only. After that, standard costs like food, refreshments, logistics, tanks, and Course director fees are added and we slowly getting to a realistic price. In general that is an additional 1200 – 1700US$ depending on duration and location. If you consider taking a professional PADI Instructor Development course you should have savings around 3000 – 3500US$ for the standard course.
You might ask why is this so expensive? This is professional training same like every other profession you will need to put a reasonable amount of money into education to be able to gain money as a professional and to be trained by professionals. A lot of people do forget that we have a big responsibility out there taking people in a potentially hazardous environment. Which requires standardised throughout training which doesn’t come cheap.
Is there an out of sight out of mind happening after your IDC or is the dive centre providing some sort of after care? This can be a Facebook group where you get jobs advertised. Or the CD is check reading and distributing your CV. Normally your CD knows many people and can make connections for you. Every dive centre is looking for experienced instructors so the best would be get your Speciality’s in right away and a plus would be if the dive centre provides learn to teach programs to get more experience in.