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5 Ways to Increase your SCUBA Income

Updated: Dec 14, 2019

"How much does a SCUBA Instructor make?" is probably one of the most common questions we aswer on a near-daily basis. The answer is of course very location- and situation-specific. While it's not unusual for dive instructors in North America or Europe to earn a decent wage and make rent, cost of living and some fun on the side, the job isn't exactly known for being the best plan to get rich quickly. "You're doing it for the life style" is usually a very quick and easy way out of the conversation but it fails to take one very important factor into account: Longevity. Sure, who hasn't dreamt of leaving their 9-to-5 office job behind and lead a nomad life style on the beach, teaching people what they love. Unfortunately, just doing it for the life style is only going to stay fun for so long. So, here's a few tips to increase your SCUBA instructor income. 1. FIND YOUR NICHE AND SPECIALIZE

Whenever I tell my soon-to-be-newly-graduated dive instructor candidates to pick a few specialty instructor ratings and make sure to they can teach courses that other's can't, I'm sometimes met with scepticism. It does sound a bit like a sales pitch, doesn't it?

However, finding the things in SCUBA that keep you going, is essential to your longevity as a SCUBA instructor. Perhaps you're really into photography or you love tinkering with dive gear. Specializing and offering those courses to your students, is what's really going to generate some extra income. Everyone is interested in something and a lot of people are willing to pay good money to get better at something if they can learn it from someone knowledgeable and passionate. I remember breaking the bank on a new Full Face mask and offering a distinctive PADI specialty I had acquired from a colleague Course Director before PADI had written a standardized outline. It was a bit of a gamble because full face mask diving wasn't really considered a thing in the recreational Caribbean scene. Much to my surprise, people were pretty much lining up for a chance to get their hands on this new toy and try it out. The mask made itself back in a matter of weeks and everything after that was profit. 2. HONE IN AND CASH IN ON YOUR DESIGN SKILLS If you're visually inclined, there's a great deal of contributions you can make to the dive operation you work for. Every dive center or dive store that takes itself seriously will have some sort of advertising and social media strategy. This usually requires the production of content and that's where you come in. Even if you're not a visual wizard and Photoshop is above your pay grade, there are a lot of free online design platforms that will help you create enticing visuals. Look into to find a free online design platform with lots of templates so you don't need to start from scratch. Similary, the 'Adobe Spark' app is a great tool for composing flyers, posters or social media posts. You might be surprised how much your employer could be intersted in paying you for your creations if it helps their dive operation's visibility and professionalism. I remember getting a great deal on my IDC Staff Instructor course because I was willing (and able) to re-design the dive center's website. If you're really good with a camera, perhaps you could even consider selling photos or video to customers who would like their dive experience documented. 3. RUN YOURSELF AS A BUSINESS