This month I have IDC candidates from India, Pakistan, Israel, the UK & Germany and last month’s nationalities included France, New Zealand, China, Taiwan, Spain, Australia, Canada and the United States. Additionally, my Staff originated from the UK, Mexico, Hong Kong & Malaysia.
What really strikes me is the sheer diversity of people from different countries and cultures that not only visit Koh Tao, they are also choosing Koh Tao to do their IDC and become PADI Dive Instructors. So why choose Koh Tao to take your PADI Dive Instructor course?
Standards and the Quality of Training
Koh Tao is home to some of the most established PADI Dive Centres in the world, boasting some of the most experienced PADI Instructors and PADI Course Directors. Subsequently the training standards on Koh Tao are of the highest quality. There are several reasons for this.
Although Koh Tao has a high demand for Dive Professionals, the island produces a good number of them and naturally the best ones stand out. Of course it makes perfect sense that the dive centres hire these candidates.
Another reason is that the more you do something, the better at it you become and the diving community on Koh Tao certainly has plenty of opportunity to teach people to dive, as well as become scuba diving professionals. What do we all do on Koh Tao? Dive – Eat – Sleep – Repeat. 365 days a year!
Diver Training Facilities
Koh Tao boasts many stunning sheltered bays offering swimming pool like confined water conditions for most of the year. The island also offers a wide and varied choice of dive sites, which provide optimum topography, depth and water movement in which to conduct around 90% of the training dives that make up the PADI system (No Ice, Dry Suit or Drift I’m afraid!).
The dive centres themselves also boast fantastic facilities. Specifically designed training pools, multiple dive boats and dedicated air-conditioned classrooms all contribute to create the most conducive learning conditions imaginable.
Many Dive Centres such as Crystal Dive Koh Tao have dedicated IDC training facilities so you won’t be sharing the training pool with novice divers, nor will you be forced to complete your IDC Open Water training sessions at less than ideal dive sites – as we will be the only ones on the IDC training dive boat.
Environmental Conditions around Koh Tao
No matter what anybody tells you, good dive conditions matter. Imagine as a child being taken straight into the Atlantic Ocean for your first swimming lesson. It’s not going to work, is it? In fact, it would probably put you off swimming for the rest of your life. The most you are likely to learn is how unpleasant it is to swallow salt water and get cold.
When you are learning something new it’s imperative you are learning in an environment appropriate to the type of skills you are trying to learn. This does not guarantee success but it certainly provides a platform in which to build from. This is the same for a Divemaster that is training to become an Instructor, as it is for a child that is learning to swim.
I conduct at least six Open Water training sessions for my candidates during my Instructor Development Courses. It’s important to note, there is a lot more to these sessions than just IDC Open Water teaching presentations, although the presentations themselves form a critical part of each session.
I conduct Descent and Ascent workshops where the focus is on effective ways of setting the skills up and how to maintain proper control of student divers. Additionally, I teach my candidates how to handle commonly encountered problems when in teaching status.
Initially this is done in a workshop environment when IDC candidates attempt these skills for the first time before progressing to the evaluation stage later on. Good dive conditions are important in order to create the environment necessary to make this initial learning experience beneficial. This allows my candidates to build understanding, knowledge, skills and confidence in suitable conditions that facilitate achievement and success.
During the Adventure dive workshop candidates are shown how to use lift bags, tie knots, and conduct skills from the Peak Performance Buoyancy dive. I also conduct multiple Rescue workshops where IDC candidates are shown and get sufficient time to practice and perfect their ability to demonstrate in its entirety, Rescue exercise 7 – Unconscious diver on the surface.
This is one of the skills that IDC candidates are evaluated on during their IE. All of these workshops require dive conditions conductive to learning, something Koh Tao provides in abundance – 365 days a year!
Flexibility – Monthly Dive Instructor Courses
The popularity of Koh Tao as a destination for diver training, along with its 12 month diving season means the island is one of the few diving destinations where PADI conduct an Instructor Examination (IE) every month.
This allows IDC candidates the flexibility to choose the best time to complete their Instructor training. Divemasters working on Koh Tao during busy periods can plan their IDC training during the lower season, maximising their earning potential in the lead up to the IDC. Those travelling from elsewhere can easily plan between travel, work or college commitments.
Dive Instructor Employment Opportunities on Koh Tao
A wise man once told me when I was considering where to complete my IDC ‘do your training somewhere where there are good employment prospects.’ This certainly makes sense. Who would employ a complete stranger and a complete novice in any industry?
In terms of the global scuba diving industry, you will not find a location with more employment opportunities than Koh Tao.
With over 60 Dive Centres, certifying over 100,000 divers a year, not to mention the need to cater for 15,000 Discover Scuba Diving participants annually, Koh Tao is the perfect place to live and become a PADI Scuba Diving Professional.
Jobs are in abundance and the experience an individual gains in a relatively short space of time on Koh Tao is significant, which means there’s more to put on your resume and more employment opportunities should you decide to move on and explore other dive destinations.
Continuing your Education as a PADI Diving Instructor
So now you are a PADI Instructor, with a plan to work in Greece, the Maldives or Western Australia perhaps? But right now you have no real teaching experience. And you have 4- 6 weeks to pass before the new season starts. What is the best way to spend this time?
I recommend continuing with your Instructor level education and complete a team teaching Internship and train for extra Instructor Specialty ratings along the way. A combination of 100,000 student divers wanting to get their PADI annually, and the 12-month dive season we enjoy on Koh Tao means you can get an extensive MSDT Internship program completed.
From this you can gain a minimum of 25 PADI certifications working alongside some of the best and most experienced Instructors in the dive industry. You will be team teaching on a variety of PADI courses including Open Water, Advanced, Rescue as well as Specialties including Wreck, Deep, Nitrox and the Divemaster course.
New PADI Instructors can pick up invaluable experience in a relatively short space of time here on Koh Tao.
Great Value – Free Fun Diving, Marine Conservation & Dive leadership Internship opportunities
Most Dive Centres offer free fun dives for IDC candidates signed up to complete an IDC and arriving early for the program is a great way to acclimatise and prepare for your Instructor Development Course.
On Koh Tao you can easily get your dives up to the minimum 100 required to start the IDC, gain valuable Divemaster skills through a ‘Dive leadership’ Internship (PDF Download) or help with the many Marine Conservation activities.(PDF Download).
Outside of Koh Tao, there are very few places in the world to train to become a PADI Diving Instructor where you get more value for your investment.
What about the Lifestyle on Koh Tao Island?
Koh Tao is a picture postcard perfect tropical paradise. You are mesmerised the minute you arrive by the inviting crystal clear turquoise waters that merge into gorgeous white sandy beaches, and the beautiful backdrop of lush green hillsides lined with palm trees. The island does not disappoint.
Koh Tao offers a laid-back island style vibe, with stunning natural beauty. Other than being Where the World Learns to Dive, Koh Tao offers some great natural viewpoints, as well as lots of beaches and plenty of outdoor activities to keep you occupied. Stunning sunrises and sunsets are a constant reminder of why I have lived here for close to 20 years.
And if you think the scuba diving industry is competitive, packed with high quality operators and diving professionals alike, you should check out the local restaurants on Koh Tao.
Offering International cuisine from all corners of the globe the food available on the island makes for mouth-watering choices every time you eat. Small street vendors offer succulent chicken and pork on a stick, som tam salads and Larb Gai (spicy chicken and lemongrass). High-end resort restaurants offer Sushi, International Brunches & imported meats and cheese. Koh Tao offers food for everyone’s taste and budget.
There is a friendly community spirit, with locals and multi-cultural ex pats mixing together, and a vibrant nightlife, offering a mixture of beach bars, pubs and regular outdoor parties. Koh Tao offers everything a person needs to feel like they have finally found a long term home.
A great support network – A PADI office on the island
PADI has regional offices all over the world. The Americas office along with the PADI Global Headquarters is based in California and the Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) office is based in Bristol, UK.
Our regional office is Asia Pacific, which is based in Sydney but due to Koh Tao being such an important part of the diving industry – the reason the island is referred to as the Mecca of Scuba Diving, we are fortunate enough to have our own ‘mini PADI office’ right here on Koh Tao.
With both a PADI Regional Manager (RM) and PADI Regional Training consultant (RTC) based on Koh Tao, dealing with PADI has never been easier and their service levels have never been better. We even have a PADI Territory Director who spends 2-3 weeks per month based here too!
This is a great advantage for all PADI Members living on Koh Tao. Whether you have a question regarding buying PADI products, want some assistance with a new marketing initiative, or just simply would like a PADI training standard clarified both your Regional Manager & Regional Training Consultant are on hand, and happy to help making your day to day PADI related scuba diving activities even easier!
In summary there isn’t a better place right now for you to do your PADI IDC than Koh Tao. With world class training facilities, high quality training standards & good year round diving conditions there is a reason Koh Tao is ‘where the world learns to dive.’
Factor in superb employment opportunities, a great support network and a laid back island ambience and lifestyle and you have everything you need as a budding scuba diving professional to get your career off to that perfect start.
This is why Koh Tao is often referred to as the ‘Mecca of scuba diving.‘
Award Winning PADI Course Director – 463599