What is the income of a scuba diving instructor? Can I get rich as an instructor? Or can I survive with the salary of an instructor at all?
These and other questions we are asked often. That’s the reason why we have written down our experiences and put together three case studies with some ballpark figures.
The second question can be answered quite clearly with NO. With the salary of an instructor, you cannot get rich. Although what is meant by rich? Rich in experience, rich in quality of life. But that is probably too philosophical to cover in one blog post.
The reasons why someone would like to work as an instructor are obvious. Tropical islands, palm trees, white sandy beaches, sun and the ocean. Suntanned, pretty, bikini-wearing diving students and beach parties with live music. Doesn’t that sound like a nice way of living? That’s how you could live in the most beautiful places of our world.
That’s how four years of summer or a life in Flip Flop could look like => A life in paradise: Travel & Work
But does this really correspond to reality, or is it just a dream and an illusion? Of course, the places of work in the tropics are often as beautiful as paradise. This is certainly one of the big advantages when working as an instructor. But can you really enjoy this paradise while working as a diving instructor?
A diving instructor is entertainer, teacher, psychologist, mechanic, storekeeper and goofer.
Depending on destination and employer, life as a diving instructor can be heavenly pleasant or totally unsatisfactory and depressing. Cultural differences, a different climate, corporate philosophy, work schedules, requirements, tasks and thousands of other factors can have a major impact on the work as an instructor. As an instructor, you need more skills than just scuba diving. Often you act as entertainer, vendor, psychologist, mechanic, storekeeper, teacher and gofer. Therefore, the choice of destination and employer you plan to work for is of crucial importance for your well-being and satisfaction.
Realistically speaking the job as an instructor is anything but a dream. The development of the diving industry has stalled and growth is stagnating. Yet, there are more and more instructors being certified each year. Luckily, there are many instructors who work for a few years only or even just for one season. Even if the market is saturated, there are destinations that experience a lack of good instructors. Generally, however, the income of a scuba diving instructor are rather modest.
Depending on the destination and the employer, the income of a scuba diving instructor can vary greatly. Just as important as the income are the expenditures, and these are, in the most beautiful diving areas of the world, often very low. There are still some cost you have to cover, but life is generally much cheaper in tropical destinations than in Europe.
Depending on the destination accommodation and meals are often included in the wages. These are already two very large expenditure items. Maybe you don’t have to pay taxes, on a small island you do not need an expensive car and also the cost of commuting to work are very low.
The income can be made up as follows:
- Net salary
- Student Bonus (per certification)
- Commission (equipment sales, shop items)
On the expenditure side, the following items may apply:
- Purchase of equipment
- Leisure, going out
- Instructor License
- Insurance (Health insurance, diving insurance …)
- Holiday and travel
Of course, the income and expenditures vary a lot from diving destination to diving destination. Moreover, it is of course always favorable when the expenditure can be divided. As a couple, most of the expenditures can be shared and so reduced.
What is the income of a scuba diving instructor?
To give you an indication, we have compiled three case studies with rough numbers of the income and expenditure per month of an instructor.
Case Study 1: Maldives (Working as instructor with a permanent contract)
- Net salary: USD 700 – 800
- Student bonus: USD 100
- Commission: USD 150
- Tips: USD 50
- Accommodation and meals: included
- Expenses for drinks at the bar: USD 100 – 300
- Health insurance (required by law): USD 100
- Flight to the Maldives: Paid by the employer
- Equipment: Provided by the employer
Case Study 2: Thailand (Working as a freelancer)
- Student bonus (depending on number of students): THB 10’000 – 20’000 (USD 320 – 640)
- Commission (depending on sales success): THB 5’000 – 10’000 (USD 160 – 320)
- Accommodation, room or small bungalow: THB 3’000 – 6’000 (USD 100 – 200)
- Meals: THB 2’000 – 6’000 (USD 65 – 200)
- Motorbike rental: THB 3’000 – 4’000 (USD 100 – 130)
- Visa Runs: THB 2‘000 – 5‘000 (USD 65 – 160)
Case Study 3: Egypt
- Salary: EUR 800 – 1200 (USD 1000 – 1600)
- Student bonus: EUR 100 (USD 135)
- Commission: EUR 100 (USD 135)
- Accommodation and meals: included
- Expenses for drinks at the bar: EUR 100 – 300 (USD 135 – 400)
All information are without guarantee and can of course vary greatly from destination to destination and employer to employer but also over time. But we hope to help you with above information that we have put together from personal experience.
Working as scuba diving instructors on the Maldives was the best job of our lives so far.
If you find a good employer and you start your job as an instructor with the right attitude and expectation, work can be an enormous enrichment and lots of fun. It is important that you are aware of the fact that the life of an instructor is not always fun and easy, even if you are in paradise. As with any other profession, you will have very good times and sometimes you will have unpleasant experiences.
Even if you do not become rich as an instructor, you will certainly be rewarded with beautiful moments and impressions. You can work where others spend their holidays. Tourists pay a lot of money to spend their holidays at the place where you work. You’ll learn a lot about the underwater world and have breathtaking encounters with the inhabitants of our oceans. You’ll also learn a lot about the divers that you take care of and your knowledge of human nature will grow. The training of new divers is an enormous enrichment and it’s a lot of fun.
More blog posts about diving:
- The best dive sites in the Lhaviyani Atoll, Maldives
- Diver’s heaven: Daytrip to the Fam islands in Raja Ampat
- Raja Ampat: Spectacular diving