How to become a PADI Tec Deep Instructor

Have you ever considered going pro with your tec diving? The PADI Tec Deep Instructor program allows you to teach tec programs all the way up to PADI Tec 50. At the Londonidc we run regular Tec instructor programs with PADI Tec Instructor Trainer Alex Griffin, where you’ll get the opportunity to assist on real courses and gain experience too. There is also the Tec Instructor rating which allows you to teach the Tec 40 program and is a great entry point to technical instruction, read on to find out more of what’s involved:

Course and Application Pre-requisites:

To begin the Tec Instructor Program you need to be

  • Tec 45 or equivalent student level.
  • Be a PADI deep and nitrox speciality instructor
  • Have a 100 logged dives (20 nitrox, 25 deeper than 18m, 15 deeper than 30m).

To then qualify as a Tec Instructor you will need the following:

  • Have 20 staged deco dives (these don’t have to be met before starting the tec instructor program but do need to be met before putting in the application).

For Tec Deep Instructor you also need to have the following levels before starting the course:

  • Tec 50 or equivalent student level

Before putting in the application you also need to meet the following requirements:

  • Be a PADI MSDT or higher
  • 270 logged dives with at least 25 staged deco dives below 40m
  • Have certified at least 10 nitrox and deep student level divers (can be a combination of both)

What’s involved:

The course takes 5 days to complete. It roughly breaks down as follows:

Day 1: Theory, kit set up

Day 2: 2 x Skills dives and practical applications

Day 3: Simulated deco dive and full deco dive

Day 4: Simulated deco dive and full deco dive

Day 5: ‘Mini Instructor Exam’

During the course you will go through the tec skill circuit, working on demoing key skills like shutdowns, NOTOX , gas sharing and SMB deployment. You’ll also complete practical exercises in planning technical diving using both manual planning and deco software. During the Mini IE you will be evaluated on several key skills and you will also teach a series of skills in a similar manner to the PADI IDC.

The Tec Instructor program takes 3-4 days to complete, following a similar outline

Locations:

We can run the course anywhere we have access to deep enough water, in the UK, I tend to use Wraysbury, Vobster and NDAC. The course can be run as a stand alone course or run alongside existing student level tec courses although we need at least one day dedicated to the course for the mini IE.

Costs:

The course costs £200 per day excluding the following

  • Course Materials: (currently approx £60)
  • Equipment hire
  • Gas fills
  • Applications to PADI
  • Dive centre costs or dive site entrances
  • Travel

Dates:

I will be running a program in 2018 from the 6-10 June. For more details or to sign up, please let me know!

Hard working recreational diving instructors are the unsung heroes of the UK diving industry.

Bonus points for spotting the reference…

I remember when I was first thinking about becoming a diving instructor, which was pretty much as soon as I came up from the last dive of my advanced course, it seemed like one of the coolest professions it might be possible to have. At the time, tec diving was still a tiny niche area and the heroes of the scene were people like Mark Ellyatt who were doing immensely deep dives on open circuit. It was epic but hardly the kind of thing that was aspirational to your average recreational diver.

Fast forward 15 odd years and the landscape has changed. Tec diving has become much more accessible and popular but it’s aspirations have changed as well. No longer are the deep divers held up as heroes (albeit slightly bonkers ones), witness the outpouring of unpleasant schadenfreude after the death of ‘Doc Deep’ a couple of years ago. Nowadays tec diving has become fixated upon technique with the result that our current heroes are held in high regard because of their ability to hover without twitching an arse muscle instead of their achievements and accomplishments. I’ve already ranted about this more than enough times already

The upshot of this is that becoming a recreational instructor is not always seen as the top of the tree. It also occasionally seems there is a degree of snobbery aimed at recreational scuba instructors mainly centred round things like kit configurations, perceived lack of personal skill or lack of skill demonstrated by their students.

I believe this is because, as an industry, we have pitched tec diving as if it is a superior activity to pro-level recreational courses when in actual fact they’re just different. I don’t really care how many amazing deep dives you’ve done on CCR, it won’t make you a good diving instructor.

As an example, whatever someone might want you to think, teaching DSDs is not an easy task that anyone can do. Meeting minimum standards might be straightforward, but actually making a DSD enjoyable and safe takes an immense amount of skill and work, very little of which has to do with looking good in the water. In fact, if you spend time worrying about how you look, instead of looking at your students, you’re probably at risk of being distracted if a problem does arise. When you think that for many people a DSD is their first diving experience and the make or break over whether that person will continue diving, then it quickly becomes clear that instructor ego and a fixation on skill perfection is a toxic combination unlikely to do the DSD candidate or the industry any favours.

In fact, I’d go as far as saying that a lot of instructor trainers and tec instructors (me included) would probably soil themselves in terror at the prospect of taking 5 people through an open water course now. That’s because we’ve been spoiled by only dealing with customers who have their own kit and already know what they’re doing (most of the time..). This means we get to sit in our ivory towers bollocking on about horizontal trim when we don’t actually have to get a group of open water students through 2 dives in rented drysuits in cold water and then drive a van full of kit all the way back to the centre, unload it and sort paperwork before we finally get to drive home, often all for the love of it.

Last week I was at NDAC doing a tec instructor program. On the Sunday I watched an instructor with a big group of Advanced students running through his briefings. He had 3 dives to do (always a challenge with the van runs at NDAC) but he was funny and engaging and his students were clearly having a good time. On top of all this, he’d somehow found the time to be wearing a Pokemon costume over his drysuit for Halloween which his students also loved and at the end of the day I saw them all laughing and joking over paperwork.

I wasn’t in the water with them but all thing being equal, to me, that’s the true sign of good instructor and also a reminder of just how challenging and rewarding it can be.

Tec diving is a brilliant next step for a diver wanting to continue their education but it’s not always the best thing to rush straight into either. I see lots of divers who might otherwise have chosen to progress down the DM and Instructor path now choose the tec path instead. This is all well and good but I can categorically state that divers who have attained at least DM level almost always have a greater level of skill and comfort in the water than those who haven’t. It’s also true to say that whilst DMs and Instructors will regularly continue onto tec diving, which I think is great because it gives them a diving activity that’s just for their enjoyment, it’s rare for tec divers to come back and do DM or instructor, which is often a great shame.

Becoming a recreational diving instructor is an incredible achievement and being a good diving instructor takes a rare combination of skills of which in water prowess is only a part. Don’t let anyone let you forget that!

Why Become a PADI Tec Instructor?

Tec Instructor

Becoming a tec instructor is not for everyone but for those with the ability and interest it’s an incredibly rewarding experience that not only broadens the range of courses you can teach but also gives you plenty of useful skills you can apply to your recreational courses too. Becoming an entry level tec instructor is also not as difficult as you might think.

A PADI Tec Instructor is able to teach the Tec 40 rating which is a brilliant introductory tec course that really bridges the gap between tec and rec. It can be taught in a variety of ways to suit the centre you work with. Many instructors, myself included, use the course as a means of teaching basic tec skills and dive planning as well as introducing the standardised technical rig (either backmount or sidemount) but what you may not know is that the course can also be taught using a 15l single tank and pony set up. Tec 40 divers are qualified to dive to 40m and manage up to 10mins of deco with the option of using a stage of up to 50% nitrox to pad their decompression.

To read more go to our sister site at Helldivers