Diving Instructor salary

So, you are thinking about doing your PADI IDC instructor course?
Dreaming of the life in paradise? Sun, sea, beach and margaritas!!

But of course, you also need to be able to make a living as a scubadiving instructor.
How much money can you expect to earn as a PADI Instructor? How much does it cost to do your PADI IDC? And, is it worth the investment?



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Salary from country to country

The salary you can expect as a PADI divng instructor varies from country to country. In countries where the living costs are high, you generally earn more. Even within the same country the dive instructor salary differs a lot from location to location so it is impossible to give excact numbers.

Very often the Dive Instructor salary is commission based, meaning in a busy diving center you will earn more money than in a laid back shop. An upmarket dive center will probably also pay a higher salary to their diving instructors.
The table below gives you a rough indication of dive instructor salary per country. Like I said, it is impossible to give excact numbers so this is just a rough guide!

Dive instructor salary in different countries:

South of Europe 800  – 1300 EUR
Australia 2000  – 3000 EUR
Caribbean 1200 – 1600 EUR
Asia 600 – 1200 EUR
Maldives 1800 – 2400 EUR


How to increase your diving instructor salary

Off course, the money you make as a diving instructor will increase if you have more to offer to the dive center. Here are a few ways to make some extra bucks.

Book your own customers — When you work in a holiday location you will meet a many people. The easiest way to earn a bit extra is to convince some of them to go diving with you. Some dive centers will pay you a booking commission so you earn more on courses that you have booked yourself.
Why not use your own social media pages to book some customers? They may also ask you to arrange accommodation for them. You can earn booking commission on that too.

Equipment and travel sales — Many dive instructors don’t like selling and don’t want to be a salesperson. The reality is; there is no way to avoid it! Customers will always come to you for advice. They will ask you what equipment to buy and where to go on their next trip. You don’t have to be pushy. If customers are happy about the course they did with you then they will trust your advice. It is an easy way to make some extra money.

Teach specialty courses — When you can teach more courses, you will have more customers. Look at what specialty courses are popular in a certain location and look at your own interests. If you love underwater photography then you will also enjoy teaching this specialty course and it will set you apart from other instructors.

Non diving skills — I am sure that you have some useful skills outside diving. Maybe you are technical and can service diving equipment or compressors or boats. Maybe you have a marketing background or you know how to build websites. All these skills are very useful for dive centers. You will probably have to negotiate payment for these extra activities.
If you have basic accounting skills or if you have experience in managing staff then you have the opportunity grow into an assistant manager or manager position.

Best country to work

New PADI instructors often ask me “What is the best country to work in as a diving instructor?”
I cannot determine the “best” place to work as a diving instructor, as it ultimately depends on your personal preferences and priorities. In another blog post I share what I know through my own experience and that of my instructor friends about the best place to work as a diving instructor so you can make your own decision and start looking for your dream job!

PADI IDC in awesome locations

Your costs as a diving instructor

When you are applying for a job as a diving instructor after completing your PADI IDC, it is important not only to think about your monthly salary. The living costs also vary a lot from country to country. Some dive centers offer free accommodation and food. Some pay for 1 or more flight tickets. In some countries the dive center will pay for your visa and work permit. In other countries you will have to pay all this yourself.

Off course, you need to pay your PADI membership fees and you need to have your own set of dive equipment. Most dive centers will offer a discount on equipment for their staff.
Some dive centers will arrange health insurance for you but often that will be a local insurance. Most diving instructors choose to pay for their own medical insurance.

In some countries is it mandatory for dive instructors to have liability insurance. If not, it is highly recommended to have a good insurance anyway and even keep it active for a few years after you stop working.

How much does it cost to become a PADI instructor?

So, how much does it cost to become a PADI Instructor?

The total cost to become a PADI instructor varies a lot, depending on the options and location that you choose. If you want to know more, please read my blog post about ” Doing your PADI IDC – is it worth the investment?”.

To give a rough overview: Not counting prerequisite courses, travel and accommodation, and dive equipment you should expect to invest 3000 – 4500 euros. This estimate includes:

Prerequisite courses: Varies widely
IDC: 1000 – 2000 euros
IDC materials: 700 – 800 euros
EFRI course: 200 – 300 euros (free in our IDC’s)
PADI examination fees: 685 euros (2024)
PADI instructor application fees: 400 – 500 (including membership)
Equipment: Varies widely
Insurance: 200 – 300 euros annually
Travel and accommodation: Varies widely

You can find an exact overview of all our prices and package deals here.

Is it worth it?

You came here to read about PADI Instructor salaries. So, looking purely at the financial aspect and the average salaries mentioned above, you’ll be able to earn back your investment in 2 – 8 months.

But for many, becoming a PADI Instructor is about much more than money. You’ll have the opportunity to work in some of the world’s most beautiful locations, meet fascinating people, and share your passion for diving. Plus, the skills and experiences you gain can open doors to various other careers in and outside the diving industry.

PADI Instructor isn’t just a job. It’s a lifestyle!

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Interested in becoming a PADI Instructor?

Asia Scuba Instructors offers PADI Divemaster and PADI IDC Instructor courses at stunningly beautiful locations in Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to write your Course Director directly. He’s happy to help!