Blue Marlin Komodo and Blue Marlin Gili Air now host an IDC program taught by Course Director Matt Fieschi. Recently, we decided to sit down with Matt to get answers to the most common questions he receives from potential PADI Instructors (aka Divemasters).
Start simple: Why should I take the PADI Instructor Development Course?
Put simply, you’re already a “professional” diver and this is a way to become more employable. That said, you also get to increase your overall knowledge about diving through teaching. As a PADI Instructor you are well versed in the practices and verbiage of the leading certification agency. PADI’s reach, even if sometimes seemingly overbearing, works to your advantage because you can work as an instructor worldwide. The opportunity to be able to support yourself while living in different places around the world is great, but as a PADI Instructor, you get the added bonus of helping people’s goals and bucket lists become reality.
What are the prerequisites for a PADI IDC?
You need to be a PADI Divemaster or an equivalent level of certification from another certification agency. It’s better to be a PADI Divemaster because you’ll already be used to the wording and structure of the course.
To start the course you need 60 dives…but in reality you should have more like 85 because you need 100 to go to the IE (Instructor Examination). In a perfect world, those dives would be in a variety of conditions and locations.
What do I need to know coming into the Instructor Development Course?
I want to answer this in a creative way.
First, you should know that you will become someone that’s going to change people’s lives. That might sound overdramatic, but imagine your own first dive and who was teaching you. Considering that you’re thinking about doing your IDC, I’d say that person changed your life!
Second, after becoming a PADI Instructor, your work/life balance is fantastic. Finding that balance is increasingly popular these days, so you’re ahead of the game.
Finally, be aware that it’s a challenging program. It takes a lot of energy and effort. But that’s the point – you want to master the skills and let them become second nature to you so that you don’t have to think about what you’re teaching and instead just how you’re teaching.
Ok, so do I actually learn anything new in the PADI IDC Course?
Obviously, you’ll continue to perfect skills from your Divemaster program, along with the PADI standards and learning how to keep safety as an absolute priority while teaching. PADI’s teaching methods and course structure is critical to their worldwide growth.
I make the IDC as fun as possible for the specific purpose that you can make your courses fun as an instructor. It’s an overlooked skill, but the best instructors have their students raving about them long afterwards.
How long will it take to become a PADI Instructor?
My course itself is 15 days including two days of practice exams and two rest (or fun dive) days – you’re going to be exhausted, so those rest days will come in handy. In addition, I teach a skill and theory refresher the day before the course which is not compulsory but recommended so that we’re all working with the same knowledge base.
Following the course will be 2 days of exams with the PADI representative. When you pass, it takes 5 business days to process you to active teaching status. During those 5 days, you can enrol in the MSDT (Master Scuba Diver Trainer) prep program with me so that you don’t have to “waste time” while you wait.
In total, 23 days in total from the pre-course through active teaching status.
What’s the total cost of the IDC?
This is a more complicated question than it seems because usually there are three different currencies involved as well as PADI fees and learning materials. That said, let’s give it a shot…
The minimum cost, inclusive of all Blue Marlin and PADI fees as well as course materials, is roughly USD $2850. You’ll find that this cost doesn’t vary too much around the world, but you will be able to save money on living expenses within Indonesia compared to other locations. If you also wish to enrol in the MSDT prep course, the final cost will be about USD $3300.
How do I get hired as a PADI Instructor? Do I need my MSDT?
In theory, you can begin to certify your own divers immediately. If you’re trying to work for a dive centre or resort, then here are factors that make you more employable such as speaking another language, having certifications for equipment repair or boat maintenance knowledge.
Of course, experience and specialties are important as well, which is the purpose of the MSDT prep course. You’ll be able to teach 5 specialties AND you can stick around the resort and team teach with our instructors to gain certifications. At 25 certifications, you can actually earn your MSDT from PADI.
Obviously neither Blue Marlin nor I personally can guarantee any jobs after the course, but we provide a great support structure to give you the best opportunity. We’re willing to help you with writing a CV and getting in touch with other dive centres in our network around the world.
If you wish to stay in Indonesia, the industry is growing and it is definitely a tight-knit community. We’ll do our best to put you in touch with the right people. Plus, there are a lot of liveaboards down here which is another great opportunity.
Are there any more physical tests?
You have to be able to swim 800 metres and be in good physical condition. Don’t worry, no snorkel tests!
What happens if I fail the IE?
Everyone will leave for the IE fully prepared to pass, but sometimes nerves get the best of people. They’re nervous because it’s expensive or they don’t like exams. The idea of my IDC is to make sure that those nerves are settled because you’re thoroughly prepared. But in the unlikely event someone fails, they can come to my next IDC for free.
Why should I do my PADI IDC with Blue Marlin Gili Air or Komodo? What’s the difference?
Gili Air is a very relaxed island with a nice lifestyle where you don’t have any cars or motorbikes. It has a good balance between living a relaxed life and having entertainment/ social life which makes it a nice place for living and doing your Instructor Development Course. The diving is really good and the dive centre has 25 years of experience behind Blue Marlin. It’s also the newest facility and has direct access to the sea from the shop, offering greater flexibility for both the IDC and the MSDT prep program.
Labuan Bajo is a small but rapidly growing fishing village that is the gateway to Komodo National Park (hence, Blue Marlin Komodo). It’s famous for the dragons, but the diving is absolutely world class. The small, but sociable town comprised of a mix oflocal divers and expats which leads to an active social life talking about diving and experiences (usually at the Blue Marlin restaurant!). We have the fastest speedboat in town which gives us the best flexibility to dive the park on our own schedule. We’re also the only PADI 5 Star Dive Resort with a dedicated diver-training pool and a remodeled classroom specifically for IDC’s. Oh yeah! The MSDT prep program takes place on Blue Marlin’s liveaboard, the Ikan Biru. That’s a big selling point. Finally, I’d say that if you stick around to do team teaching with Blue Marlin Komodo, you dive in a place known for strong currents, which in the end will help you become a better instructor.
Either way, Indonesia in general is a great place to take your IDC as well as work as a PADI Instructor. Compared to other places I’ve worked, it seems that there’s enough business to keep you employed/busy but the cost of living is still cheap so you can actually save some money.
Wow, I’m sold! Ok, not a general IDC question…what’s your background?
I did my PADI Open Water course in 2006 in The Maldives. In 2007, I did my Divemaster there as well before becoming an instructor in Thailand at the end of the year. Since then, I’ve been working in The Maldives, Thailand, Italy, and Mexico. I had to stop for a couple years for personal reasons and during that time I went to school for hotel management. It was useful, but I missed diving. When I made the decision to go back to diving as a profession, I went to places I had been previously, but also made my way to Indonesia where I’m very happy to be a PADI Course Director. I want to grow as a Course Director and improve – diving is a constant learning experience for everyone. My goal is to never forget to have fun in life.