Choosing where to take your PADI IDC can prove a little daunting at first – there are many places offering the PADI Instructor Development Course, so how exactly do you choose your PADI IDC ? Here’s a few things to consider and questions to ask…
One factor to consider is how experienced is the person who will be teaching your PADI IDC. But what is experience and how is it measured ? For some people it’s just a case of asking ‘how long have you been a Course Director ?’. But really, it goes a little deeper than this. Time is a consideration, but it’s also good to know in which locations the Course Director has worked before – have they only taught in one location, or do they have experience of conducting PADI courses and skills in different locations with different water conditions and logistics ? Have they taught in cold and warm water ? Have they taught skills on wall dives, or just shallow sandy sites ? Do they have any experience teaching in strong currents ? Did they fast-track their way to Course Director, just meeting the minimum requirements, or did they spend a few years teaching in different locations ? It might also be worth checking if the Course Director will be teaching the whole course, or using less experienced IDC Staff Instructors to do the teaching, and if the Course Director advertised on the website is the same one that will be running the course. You can also check if the Course Director has much recent experience teaching IDCs by having a look at the second quarter Undersea Journal for each year and seeing if their name is listed in the Frequent Trainer Awards as being a ‘Platinum’ Course Director.
Questions to ask:
How long has the Course Director been conducting PADI IDCs ?
When did the Course Director become a Divemaster and an Instructor ?
Does the Course Director have the ‘Platinum’ rating ?
Will the Course Director teach the whole IDC ?
Where has the Course Director worked before, both as a Course Director and as an Instructor ?
How many students has the Course Director certified – both at recreational and professional levels ? And can I see a copy of their Student Count Report ?
With the revisions to the PADI IDC programme coming later in 2019, it is more important than ever to research your potential Course Director’s style of teaching. PADI will be putting a bigger emphasis on training whilst neutrally buoyant. Therefore, look for a Course Director that has experience teaching skills neutrally buoyant – not on the knees. Many Course Directors have adapted to this style of teaching already – with all skills being performed either on fin-tips or in mid-water. Have a look at the Course Director’s or dive centre’s Facebook pages for recent photographs from their training, and also read any blogs they may have posted regarding their training.
Another aspect to research is whether or not the IDC will be conducted using the most up-to-date and modern PADI eLearning materials. PADI have been encouraging the use of electronic materials for a while now, yet some IDCs are still being run using the paper materials to teach from. As a new instructor, it is important that you are familiar with, and comfortable with, these new PADI digital materials. During the IDC you should get a chance to utilise the full range of PADI digital products – eLearning student manuals, the PADI app, PADI Library app, and the Project AWARE app – as well as a workshop on how to certify divers using the updated Online Processing Centre.
Questions to ask:
Do you teach skills on knees or whilst neutrally buoyant ?
Have you written any blogs on this subject that I can read ?
Will be be using the latest digital PADI teaching materials in class ?
It’s important to know what facilities the dive centre that you are considering has. Do they have a comfortable, air-conditioned classroom ? Tropical destinations are very popular for PADI IDCs, and you want to make sure you will be comfortable in the classroom as that’s where the majority of course time is spent. You should also find out where the confined water and open water training will take place. Does the centre have a pool, and how suitable for training is it ? If, for example, the pool is too shallow it would be problematic to teach something like a hover, or 5 point descent without touching the bottom, where plenty of depth is required – a purpose built dive pool is ideal, with at least 3 metres depth. The pool should also be well-maintained – you don’t want an ear infection in the middle of your training. There should also be good equipment washing facilities, with different tanks for different pieces of equipment – washing wetsuits and regulators in the same water is not ideal. The water for rinsing equipment should be clean and changed frequently. You should look for a PADI Career Development Centre – the top rating for a training centre – with a good reputation, and ask to see their facilities.
Questions to ask:
Do you have an air-conditioned classroom ?
How big is the classroom and how many candidates do you usually have per IDC ?
Do you have a private training pool ?
How deep is the pool ?
Before you sign-up for an IDC, you should also make yourself aware of the time commitment required. In accordance with PADI standards, an IDC can be taught in as little as seven days. Many PADI IDC centres offer course over nine or ten days, however this usually translates to long days in the classroom – sometimes twelve hours. There is a lot of information to take in during an IDC, plus you need to prepare for the next day after finishing. It is possible to find extended, more relaxed PADI IDCs where your day will finish around 4pm – giving you plenty of time to prepare your presentations for the next day, eat a good meal and relax a little. A 12 – 14 day IDC programme is ideal – any longer and you are losing time that you could be certified and teaching your own students with. After a relaxed 12 day IDC, you arrive at the Instructor Examination feeling relaxed and confident rather than stressed and tired. These slightly longer IDC programmes typically include extra workshops (such as Confined Water Dive 1 workshops, neutral buoyancy teaching, how to teach hovering effectively) and extra presentation practice, rather than just hitting the minimum training requirements set out by PADI. Ask to have a look at the schedule…
Questions to ask:
How long is the IDC programme ?
Are there any extra workshops ?
Are any Specialty Instructor ratings included ?
Do you conduct a ‘Mock I.E.’ ?
How many teaching presentations will I deliver ?
What time does each day start and finish ?
The location is perhaps the least important of these factors to consider, but it’s still something to think about. Most of an IDC is spent in the classroom, but it is nice to be able to go diving before or after the IDC to relax underwater with some mantas or sharks. It is also nice to take the course in a relatively quiet location, free from distractions – it might be best to avoid the party islands or towns.
Also, after the IDC has finished, you will need to wait a week or so for your paperwork to be processed before you can start teaching. This is the perfect time to take some Specialty Instructor Training and learn even more. If this is something you’re considering, think about which Specialties you would like to teach. If you want to become an AWARE Shark Conservation Specialty Instructor, you need to be somewhere that offers current, if you want to teach the Wreck Diver Specialty, you would need a location with a wreck. Also find out if the Course Director has written any Distinctive Specialities, or can offer any unique Specialty instructor training which will help your CV stand out when applying for jobs – such as Manta Conservation Specialty, or the new Adaptive Techniques Specialty. Some places, such as Koh Lanta, are very fortunate in that they can offer conditions and dive sites conducive for teaching most Specialties. And if you are looking to gain these extra qualifications, find out if the Course Director will be diving with you, or just asking a less experienced IDC Staff Instructor to do these dives instead.
Questions to ask:
What type of area is the dive centre located in ?
Do you offer any free diving before or after the IDC ?
What is the water temperature ?
Do you have wrecks ?
Which Specialty Instructor ratings can I do with your Course Director ?
If I take Specialty Instructor ratings, will the Course Director be in the water with us ?
If you are looking to complete a PADI IDC soon, then also check out our blog post ‘How To Prepare For Your PADI IDC‘…
We also offer career programmes so you can keep progressing after the IDC with IDC Staff Instructor Courses, Master Instructor Prep programmes, and even an internship designed to prepare you to attend the CDTC and become a PADI Course Director !