Choosing Pro Courses
We all love diving and enjoying the underwater world and quite often find ourselves day dreaming at our desks or talking animatedly to friends and family about the things we have seen, the experiences that we have had and generally trying to share the love and enjoyment with people that we care about. For some however, this love and enjoyment becomes a desire to share our knowledge with others and the most obvious way to do this is by becoming a Dive Professional.
When choosing a course, you have many things to consider and I am going to highlight some of these to hopefully help you through the decision-making process.
How do you learn?
This may not be something that you think of when investigating courses, but it is something that should be considered. Do you learn well in an intense environment? Do you prefer to have time to investigate things for yourself? Would you like to be able to learn in an independent way or do you prefer full support?
These are all very important questions, especially for this level of training as you have to be able to learn in a way that suits you and will enable you to really succeed.
How much time do you have?
There are many different formats for professional level training and there will always be something that suits your availability. Whether you are short on time and want to complete an intensive programme or have several weeks or months free and want to learn as part of an internship, there are places all over the world that can meet these requirements.
Do you like to be in a crowd?
Some places where you complete your training like to have big groups of people in their programmes, others like to keep things small and others won’t run a course unless there are a minimum number of candidates.
I have seen people really succeed during a one-person Instructor Development Course but equally I have worked with those that prefer to be able to share ideas and gain confidence from others. Again, it is a personal choice and one which you should make sure you’re really happy with before you proceed with your training.
Can I afford it?
This is always a biggie, especially when you get to instructor level courses as there are many different costs that you need to take into account.
· How much will the training cost and can you get this as part of an internship?
· What is the cost of the learning materials?
· How much will the professional fees cost?
· Are there any course prerequisites that I will have to complete that haven’t been budgeted for such as First Aid Instruction?
· Are there any extras included within the course?
These courses aren’t cheap but as a student once pointed out to me, there are very few professional level qualifications that you can complete that make you able to work in a global industry that work out so low cost all in. Some training organisations may also offer package deals where all the costs are included in one payment to make budgeting a lot easier for you.
Will I get a job at the end of it?
Think about any extra and unique selling points that you could bring to an organisation when looking for work as a Dive Professional. Here are a few ideas of attributes that may help you along during your quest for your dream job
· Can you service equipment?
· Are you able to take awesome photos?
· Are you a whizz with technology and websites?
· Do you understand the confusing world of Social Media?
· Are you great with kids and young people?
· Can you drive a boat?
· Do you have a business brain that can help maximise a business’ potential?
· Can you free dive?
· Are you a Tec wizard?
· Do you know a lot about Marine Biology and Conservation?
Whilst not essential, any of these would make you a much more appealing prospect to a dive centre and would also mean that your role with them is much more varied which will make you enjoy yourself a lot more
I’m rubbish at theory; will I ever get through?
A lot of people have a great deal of anxiety about Dive Theory and the thought of exams and whilst a lot of the time Dive Centres don’t build specific teaching of these subjects into the main body of their courses, there are often add ons and other forms of help available to you so make sure you are talking to people early on about your concerns and get as much information out of them as you can.
If you are talking to people and you don’t feel like you are getting the support that you would need, shop around and find somewhere that you feel will give the support and amount of teaching that will enable you to proceed.
Should I do the course at home or abroad?
This is the million-dollar question and one that only you can answer. Consider where you want to work once qualified and use that as a starting point. If you plan to work in somewhere like the UK where 355 days of the year you will be teaching in a Dry Suit, it may not be the best idea to learn on a tropical paradise island as the conditions may come as a bit of a shock when you start teaching.
It may also be worth checking if the place where you want to work has any specific health and safety rules and regulations as coming in with no knowledge of these may make you a slightly less appealing prospect that a person that understand all the local law and rules.
There is a lot to consider when choosing your pro course, but I hope that by listing some of the key questions it will help you decide on the type of course you want, additional things you’d want to learn and where you would like to complete your training. The key point is to do your research and find the course that ticks all of your boxes and will also make the training one of the most fun and rewarding learning experiences that you will ever have.
Blog by Bettie Comley