How to Become a Divemaster
If you are thinking about doing your divemaster course, what are your options? Are divemaster internships really slave labor? These are both questions you may have asked yourself in pursuit of a professional diving career.
The basic options for achieving divemaster status are on a customer basis, or through an internship.
The customer route
Basically, this option requires you to pay money to a dive center to be their student with:
- An instructor that you are assigned
- Self-study, instructor-led theory sessions, exams, skills practice, and execution in open water
- About 6 to 7 days to complete
The only thing to watch for here is what’s included in the price you are paying and if there are any extras you need to consider. For example, one dive center might offer a dive course at a flat rate, but not include the extra agency fees or costs associated with study materials.
A customer-based dive master course is a great option if:
- You have been diving for a long time
- You have a good level of skill proficiency
- All you really need is to complete the exercises and brush up on a bit of theory
This option is not recommended if you’re coming into a dive master program with the minimum number of dives required, which is around 40 based on the agency. You will then have a limited amount of time to:
- Gain expertise in all of the theory
- Pass all of your exams
- Do all of the exercises acquired during the course
- Run your skill circuit and get adequate scores
- Assist an instructor and somehow amass an additional minimum 20 dives
This can all quickly become extremely overwhelming, which brings us to the second option.
Divemaster internship programs
These programs typically take place over a longer period of time, giving you more time to
- Update your skills
- Get to your required number of dives
- Get a feel for what it’s like to work for an actual dive center
However, you need to make sure you know what you are committing to. There are two major myths about divemaster internships.
They’re not. These programs are completely optional. However, the problem is sometimes it’s not made clear upfront what’s included, what’s not included, what the costs are, and what the expectations are for the intern. Therefore, it’s up to you to do the math to see whether the program fits your expectations.
The equation involves:
- How much of your time you are going to spend working for the dive center, and how much that time is worth to you
- The costs of any exclusions that aren’t included in the program
This then needs to be balanced against the value of everything you’re getting in the internship package, including:
- Course study materials
- Bonuses that you can earn through commission
- If you work in a retail operation, any gear packages or rental gear included
- Your instructor’s time
- The opportunity to dive for free over six months, and how much you are going to be able to take advantage of that
- Any accommodation or food packages included
If this equation isn’t balanced, it’s not a dealbreaker. If there is a deficit you need to decide if you would pay that amount.
Not really. Dive centers can hire dive instructors for the same price as divemasters, and dive instructors can do a wider range of jobs.
While opportunities for a divemaster are limited, here are some possibilities:
- If you’re looking for resort work, focus on those that are looking for dive guides rather than dive instructors. In other words, those that are looking for someone to lead guided trips instead of selling and teaching courses.
- The same goes for Liveaboard scuba diving cruises, as most of the guests aren’t looking to do an actual course. They just want to dive as much as they can!
- The mega-yacht industry is also great for divers with divemaster certification. Although it usually would not be a full-time job. You would have to also take on the responsibility of being a steward, stewardess or deckhand with additional divemaster duties.
Doing a divemaster course, either through the customer route or by doing an internship, is a great way to work with great instructors and get a lot of diving done. However, doing an IDC (instructor development course) is another great option when looking to make scuba diving a career. If you are a newly qualified scuba diving instructor, be sure to check out how to prepare a professional scuba diving resume and narrow down your job search.