When it comes to doing a job that you really love, it seems like you never work as hard as you feel like you do if you are doing something that you absolutely hate on a daily basis. That is one reason why some people choose to make money as a scuba instructor. This is a unique profession and people that are involved in it are typically very passionate about the job.
It gives them an opportunity to teach other people how to enjoy the same thing while they themselves are in the realm of the ocean, which is something that many people consider to be nothing short of breathtaking. For these reasons, many individuals ultimately make the choice to become a scuba instructor. They then must set out to find out where they can live so that they can earn enough money to live comfortably and do what they love to do.
What can you make?
Scuba instructors in Thailand can expect to make just enough money to live off of as long as they are careful about their spending habits and they work diligently to maximize what they earn. Typically speaking, a scuba instructor that is living and working in Thailand can expect to make approximately $800 to $900 in U.S. funds based on their salary, with some additional funds that can be made through bonuses and commissions. Typically, the total amount is approximately $1000 in U.S. funds. By the same token, these individuals can usually expect to spend approximately $700 to $800 in U.S. funds on basic living expenditures. These include things such as housing, transportation, clothing and food.
Living in Thailand offers a unique experience and as a result, it is easy to understand why so many people make the decision to become scuba instructors in the area. This is not something that a person will get rich from by any means, but it offers a unique lifestyle that presents an opportunity to go out and do something that is truly interesting on a daily basis.
While a person will not make a ton of money doing it, there is typically enough money to be made to live off of and meet basic needs. Sometimes there is even a little bit of money left that can be saved or spent on something extra.
Individuals that choose this lifestyle typically do so because they have the opportunity to work virtually any time that they choose and they get the chance to do something that truly love and get paid for it. Even though they are not getting paid a lot, the fact that they are able to make money doing something that they are truly passionate about is usually reason enough to make people want to choose this type of lifestyle.
For this reason, many individuals that are scuba instructors make the choice to live in Thailand so that they can carry out their dreams of having a near perfect profession. This is something that many people pay a lot of money to experience; so getting paid in virtually any capacity sweetens the pot for people that love the ocean.
On average the course itself will cost 32,000 – 35,000 Thai Baht, which works out to roughly $1000-1070 US. This should include:
- PADI Divemaster manual
- Divemaster slates
- PADI Instructor Manual
- The Encyclopedia of Recreational Diving
- Scuba Tune-up Guidebook (used to conduct refresher courses)
- Discover Scuba Diving (DSD) Cue Cards
- PADI Professional Log Book
- PADI Divemaster Application package
Plus the training itself from a certified PADI Instructor, along with perks such as:
- Flexible durations
- Discounted equipment packages
- Assistance finding accommodation (or generally accommodation can be provided for an extra fee and is included in some packages).
- Pickup upon arrival (i.e when arriving to the pier on Koh Tao or Koh Phi Phi).
Make sure that your package includes all necessary material as listed in the first group. We also highly recommend choosing a shop that has extra perks, such as the ones listed secondly. This makes your experience better and shows that the shop/resort takes the training of its’ divemasters seriously and wants to provide you with the tools that will make you a successful PADI Divemaster.
The PADI Instructor Development Course (IDC) consists of three sequential parts: the PADI Assistant Instructor Course (AIC), the PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor Course (OWSI) and the Instructor Examination (IE). The AIC portion is done at a PADI Five Star Dive Shop/Resort, or at a Five Star PADI Instructor Development Center. The difference between the two being that the subsequent OWSI and IE can only be conducted at a Five Star PADI Instructor Development Center. The AIC can be taught by a PADI IDC Staff Instructor, however only a PADI Course Director (the highest professional certification from PADI) can conduct the OWSI and the IE portions of the IDC.
The cost of the IDC is broken into 3 parts:
- The PADI IDC Course 40,000 baht
- PADI IDC Materials 18,000 baht
- PADI Instructor Fees 30,000 baht
This results in a total cost of 88,000 baht (roughly $2710 US). Also please be aware that the PADI Instructor Fee is an annual fee that you must pay to maintain your status as a certified PADI Instructor.
In reality if you were alone and willing to live in a place that was either farther from Sairee (where the dive shop, restaurant and bars were), didn’t have A/C, or wasn’t as new then you could easily find something in the 6,000-9,000 baht a month range. In fact for 9,000 a month you could get a nice house with a kitchen, bathroom, living room, bedroom, balcony and Wi-Fi that was a 5-10 minute ride from Sairee on a scooter. 6,000 baht a month would get you a little hut within walking distance of Sairee with a bedroom and bathroom along with a small front porch.
You could also reduce your overall expenses by partying less than I did and forgoing the western meals here and there. There’s also the option that if you will be in a location for a while and you have the money that you buy a used scooter at the start for 7,000 – 12,00 baht. This can save you in the long run because A. it’s your own scooter, therefore if you crash it you dont have to pay an outrageous amount to the owner to get it fixed, rather you can take it to a local mechanic who will be 1/10th of the price. B. when youre finished with the scooter you can resell it for roughly the purchase price, thereby recouping your initial cost.
For an item by item cost break down I recommend using Numbeo Thailand, it allows you to pick specific cities and islands so that you can get an idea of what your monthly cost of living in Thailand will be.
Divemasters going for a night dive
A divemaster internship lets you experience an active, but relaxed lifestyle that others will envy. It’s your first taste of the possibilities of life as a scuba professional. Having experienced it first hand, I can definitely recommend it to:
1. The desk bound office worker, who wants to escape the repetitive day-to-day grind.
2. Students on a gap year, or recent graduates who are fed up with the library and want to learn hands-on applicable skills.
3. The backpacker who needs a break from the road and wants to settle down to truly experience a location.
4. The die-hard diver who would rather be in the water than out and is at their most comfortable 30m under the ocean.
5. Anyone who just wants to shake up their routine and experience something new, while meeting people from all over and making friends who share your interests.
After completing your divemaster internship you will be a certified PADI Divemaster. Working as a divemaster will include: organizing and leading certified divers on diving tours, conducting refresher courses for certified divers who have been out of the water too long and aiding instructors in conducting their courses.
This is a short introductory course, which will also act as a credit to your open water diving certification course.
In this short course you’ll be shown the basic safety concepts, put on equipment and swim around underwater in the resort swimming pool with our highly trained staff. Price 600 Baht per person
We can also conduct this experience aboard our boat, where you will undertake two dives and see the wonderful underwater environment in a safe and supervised manner. Price 3,250 Baht per person.
PADI open water diver course
This is a three or four day course and will introduce you to the world of SCUBA diving.
This entry-level course includes videos, academic lessons and tests, pool training, and four open water boat dives in some great locations. It does not include PADI books or dive tables, which can be purchased from us at extra cost.
It includes free transfer from any resort on the island, lunch and free soft drinks on the boat, we also provide you with a divers logbook and PADI certification card.