The PADI Instructor Development Course (and how to make it easier)
The PADI Instructor Development Course (IDC) takes between 10 days and 2 weeks to complete, and is followed by an Instructor Exam. Once passed you become a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor.
The Instructor Development Course can be a lot of fun or a lot of stress, and most of the time the difference comes down to preparation. It requires a commitment of time, money and effort, but if you make sure that you are physically and mentally ready for this next step, you will enjoy the course and everything you learn on it.
Here we’ll take a look at the PADI Instructor Development Course, the Instructor Exam, and how to make the whole experience less stressful.
The Divemaster Course – the most important pre-requisite
The transition to Dive Professional means that you:
*hone your dive skills to demonstration standard
*learn the art of leading dives (including good, informative briefings)
*follow both beginner and continuing education courses
*bring your knowledge of dive theory up to professional levels
*demonstrate that both your physical fitness and attitude are up to scratch
Once you’ve completed your divemaster course you can go straight on to your IDC (make sure that you have a minimum of 100 dives!) If you have the time and opportunity, a season working as a divemaster can make a big difference to your confidence – both on the IDC and as an Instructor.
So what is in the IDC?
The IDC is broken down into 5 parts:
- A series of Powerpoint Presentations by a Course Director or Staff Instructor
- Exams on Dive Theory and PADI Standards
- Learning how to deliver and practising Knowledge Development (classroom) presentations
- Learning how to teach and practising teaching in Confined Water
- Learning how to teach and practising teaching in Open Water
- Rescuing an unconscious diver at the surface
Course Directors spend time at the beginning of the course reviewing your Divemaster skills, however the key word here is ‘reviewing’ not teaching. If your DM skills are not fresh or weren’t learned thoroughly in the first place, then you’ll be playing catch-up throughout your IDC. It doesn’t mean that you won’t get through, but it leads to long evenings revising, unnecessarily stressful exams, and higher stress levels generally as you try to bring yourself up to the required standard.
Learning how to teach
Clearly then the main emphasis of the IDC is learning how to teach. Positive reinforcement is a key part of the PADI way of teaching. Nobody wants to fail, but part of any learning process is making mistakes, learning from those mistakes and getting it right the next time.
The IDC develops a candidates ability to spot and correct problems, reinforce the correct technique and maintain a positive attitude throughout. We do this in the classroom, the pool and the open water in each of the teaching segments.
Standards and Risk
Final Assessment and the Instructor Exam
- Classroom presentations
- Confined Water Presentations
- Open Water Presentations
There are specific requirements for each element, but to simplify it, a passing grade is approx 75% in each element, and you need to achieve the required grade in all sections to pass the IDC.
Once you pass the IDC you can go forward to the Instructor Exam (IE). At this point the job of the Course Director is done. They are usually around to give logistical and moral support, but the IE itself is conducted by an independent PADI examiner.
Many people get stressed or nervous about the IE (I speak from personal experience here!) but if you stop and take a moment you will realise that the Course Director has already said that you are good enough to be an OWSI! By assessing you, the PADI Examiner is simply checking the Course Director’s work.
The IE covers the same 4 elements as the IDC – think of it as a 4 piece jigsaw. You need to pass each segment to pick up that jigsaw piece, and when you have all 4 pieces you can call yourself a PADI Instructor.
What if I fail a section?
If for some reason it all goes horribly wrong on the day and you fail to pass one segment, keep going!
However devastated you may feel at that moment, carry on and complete the remaining parts. You’ll have to come back to another IE, but you only have to take the segment(s) that you failed. Get the others out of the way so that you can focus on the one area that you had difficulty with.
Is there anything I can do to make the IDC easier?
Yes there is!
If you haven’t yet done your Divemaster Course, do your research and try to find a thorough one. As I mentioned earlier, at Khao Lak Scuba Adventures we offer a minimum of 4 weeks of learning and diving with our purpose built training pool, dedicated classrooms and of course the amazing diving. 😉
If you’ve done your Divemaster Course and have the opportunity to work for a while as a Divemaster – do it. Your confidence will increase, you’ll refresh many of your core skills, and your interaction with students and divers will make classroom presentations much less daunting.
If it’s been a while since you did your DM course, consider taking a refresher.
As a minimum:
- Review your divemaster theory, particularly physics and RDP, and make sure you are comfortable using the eRDPML
- If you haven’t dived for a while, get your gear out and go for a few dives to get comfortable again
- Practice your skills circuit until everything feels fluid and easy