Work and Travel: What's the salary for a scuba diving instructor around the world?
Updated: Jan 12
Work and travel is a desire for most people, follow the summers, and do what they love every day is what attracts people to the diving instructor career.
As a mentor for the professional level in the diving community, one of the questions that I mostly hear from my students is:
"What's the salary for a scuba diving instructor?"
It is totally fair to ask yourself if this a possible career choice and if you will be able to sustain yourself.
I have experience working in 3 different countries (Thailand, South Africa, and Brazil) and I could analyze and answer it with my panorama, but I always thought it wasn't enough, so considering this I try to dig a bit deeper in the matter.
The first thing that comes to my head was to ask uncle google for some data and I find this series of reports from the LifenDIve website, that congregate some interviews with dive professionals all around the world and look like a piece of pretty solid information, but the data was from 2014 I was expecting something newer.
So at the beginning of 2019 ( I know, it needs an update), I took a step forward and decide to ask this delicate question about my diving community. Using google research I get over 16 answers from people all over the world.
Analyzing the data from LifenDive and my network, I get around 30 reviews from different countries like Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Brazil, Mexico, Bahamas, Australia, Greece, Cyprus, Malta, Egypt, Bahrain, South Africa, and Oman.
Working abroad: Diving Salary
The result wasn't so far from what I expect with my experience, the average salary comes in US$ 1400 monthly.
- Diving Instructor Average Salary: US$ 1300
- Manager and Trainer/ Course Director: US$ 1700
The highest-end was in Australia with a monthly salary possibility reaching an average of US$ 3000, the lowest end it was in the Philippines at US$ 475 fixed mark.
Work and Travel: Consideration for the scuba dive instructor salary
#1 - It's a seasonal job. In the majority of places and it's going to reflect in your salary, so planning is super important. Use the high seasons to build a saving so you can ride along when the lowest months arrive.
#2 - Consider the cost of living, a lot of diving jobs are based in cheaper countries so sometimes the pure number doesn't say so much, analyze where you wanna work and go for it.
Also consider there are positions that you will provide accommodation and food, so your salary is clean for savings, fun, and other expenses.
#3 - You can follow the highest season in different places, working and traveling and getting the best of both worlds.
#4 - Is it possible to maintain yourself?
From my personal life experience, the answer is YES, but planning is essential. I and my wife are keeping up living a decent island life in Koh Tao, even we are expecting a baby.
But to be honest you're probably not going to be rich but you're still going to have one of the coolest jobs in the world in my opinion. After 8 years I still stock with my life/ work experience.
So if the sea is a passion, you enjoy diving and connecting with people, this can be a useful career. Remember the instructor qualification doesn't need to be your main occupation, there is plenty of people that use the training as a part-time job, seasonal work, trip leader role, social activities, and the list can go on.
I still can say it was one of the best decisions I ever made, so if you ever thought about becoming a professional recreational diver just contact me. I can help you along the way.