Become a dive instructor! No prior experience needed, you can become a dive instructor teaching others how to dive leading to an exciting career all over the world. This is a life changer, training under one of Koh Tao most established an successful course directors you can put the prospect of a 9 to 5 rat race well and truly behind you.

Qualify As A  Scuba Instructor Course

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An unrivalled opportunity to ditch the day job and work anywhere in the world! Life is good as a diving instructor, we should know we have several on our staff at Xtreme Gap Year. In fact you could say that we diving nuts, so you have our full support and expertise if you are planning the ultimate career move into becoming a diving instructor. Our Zero to hero course qualifies you for very basic all the way through to full blown PADI pro.

Dive Instructor Highlights

  • Train and then gain your PADI dive instructor Qualification
  • Unlimited diving
  • Work all over the world with the ocean as your office
  • Completely overhaul your lifestyle!
  • All your dive training through to Instructor
  • Course materials and pack included
  • Transfer to Koh Tao and one night in Bangkok
  • All Accommodation included


Learn & Earn As a Dive Instructor

It is a pretty good life style you have as a  Scuba Instructor and it is very rewarding too! You help people overcome their fear and make them feel really proud. Imagine having happy students around you every day. Of course the view from the office is pretty tough, usually the worlds best beach resorts, yes it is a tough life, but someone has to do it.

How do you become a    Scuba Instructor? Complete Your  Thailand IDC

If you are a complete novice in diving it will take you 7 months to train up to become a dive instructor, but is a pretty awesome 7 months. Why 7? Well the rules set out by PADI state you can not become a dive instructor until 6 months from your first open water qualification. If you have prior dive experience you can achieve this in one month

Prior to starting your IDC you will need to complete your Divemaster course. During which you will enjoy unlimited diving living on a tropical island paradise!

Most of the time the sea is your class room! And your work uniform is swimwear, the cantina is a nice Thai restaurant and your teachers are all tanned and happy to help you out becoming one of them!

Becoming A SCUBA Dive Instructor – Before you start

There are usually two types of people that think about becoming a SCUBA dive instructor. Those who already have an existing dive qualification, and others who are toying with the idea because they like the idea of a career change.

If you do not already have an existing dive qualification (open water) then it is best that you contact us first to discuss your options. It is a huge commitment becoming a SCUBA dive instructor financially, as the IDC pre-required courses do not come cheap -and that’s just the courses you also have to factor in living costs prior to starting.

There are a whole host of things that you should consider prior to starting and we are able to talk you through your options from the point of view of experience. Many of our staff hold scuba-diving instructor qualifications and have completed their IDC’s. So if you want a genuine insight into what it is like to be a diving instructor and what is required to pass exams then get in touch on e-mail.

Doing Your IDC The Process.

To become a SCUBA dive instructor and work anywhere in the world, you need to complete your instructor development course aka your IDC. The instructor development course will cover all the theory and practical modules and learning you need to undertake prior to doing your IE (instructor exam). The instructor exam is overseen by an examiner from the accrediting organisation usually PADI although it is possible to gain instructor qualifications from other agencies such as SSI. The course director who runs the instructor development course (IDC) is just responsible for getting you up to the level where you will pass your instructor exam. For this reason instructor exam fees are not usually included in the cost of IDC’s as the instructor exam fees go directly to PADI.

Prerequisites to becoming a SCUBA dive instructor

Obviously you need to be able to dive, but officially you need to have six months from the initial first SCUBA diving qualification to the dates you start your instructor exam. This means you need to gain experience which is good for the students and obviously good for you as well.

There are several qualifications you will need to go through prior to starting your SCUBA dive instructor course.

  • Open water
  • Advanced open water
  • Rescue and EFR
  • Divemaster
  • MSDT

You can then regain your OWSI or open water scuba diver instructor certification. The above are based on the PADI system and is generally interchangeable with other systems such as SSI.


The IDC takes place in the pool, open ocean and classroom. Usually run once a month they are done in a group with a course director overseeing the training. The IDC’s are almost always followed directly by the IE and upon completion you can then start to look for a SCUBA dive instructor job.

Training & Course Break Down

Zero to Hero Dive Instructor Thailand (3)If you have no prior diving certifications you start of with your PADI open water certificate, this will take you about 4 days. After that you do your advanced open water which will take you 2 days. Then the more serious work starts and we will take you through the rescue course and your EFR. The Divemaster follows then the IDC.

  • Open Water
  • Advanced Open Water
  • Emergency First Response (First Aid)
  • Rescue Diver Certificate
  • Divemaster
  • EFR Instructor
  • Open Water Scuba Instructor Development Course (The IDC)
  • The Instructor Exams (fees not included)

Pre IDC: The Divemaster

Zero to Hero Dive Instructor Thailand (5)The first oroffessional qualification: The Divemaster. During this time you can dive as much as you want.

The Divemaster internship is where you gain most of your commercial experience in the dive industry. At this point some opt to work as a Divemaster (if a position is vacant) and this then becomes a paid position. This is not Guaranteed, but fairly realistic when spending several months training.

If you are a Divemaster you can guide dives, you can not teach people how to dive. Being a Divemaster is fun and you will be able to work in the dive industry anywhere in the world but if you want to take it one step further and have a properly paid job (Divemasters do not earn much) in the dive industry and really teach people how to dive you have to continue your course and do the instructor course!

Are The Instructor Exam Fees Included?

Zero to Hero Dive Instructor Thailand (7)No, unfortunately they are not. It is pretty expensive to become a Diving instructor, but ultimately worth it. The IDC (abbreviation for Instructor development course) includes the required training both practical and theory with a qualified course director, to get you up to the standards needed to pass the Instructor Examination. The Price of the programme covers the IDC (It also covers the accommodation and diving costs and course learning materials as well), but not the examination fees.

So please note you will need to budget at least £800 on top of the fee to Xtreme Gap to cover the extras

Think of it like learning to drive, you are paying for the lessons, and instruction. The instructor examination fee is just that, it is the fee paid to PADI to sit and mark the exams. They send out their own examiners to mark you and certify you ensuring you are up to standards. The fee is the same regardless of where you sit the exam as these are set down by PADI based in Australia.

Now in extreme cases someone may not pass the exam, so fees are never included because it is up to you to be able to pass, this means if you failed you would have to pay the exam fee again.

We say extreme cases because our Course Director Guy Corsellis, has a 100% pass rate and is one of the longest serving course directors in Thailand. He has certified well over 1000 instructors in his career.

This means it is a big investment to train as a dive instructor, with the cost of this programme and living costs involved, but it does cover you for 6 months, and because you will be living and training in Koh Tao, the worlds top location for scuba certifications, it gives you plenty of time to network and get to know the dive school owners (there are 38 there) , so it is easier to snag the instructor jobs available when they become available.

Trip Frequently Asked Questions

There are some extra costs not included in the price you pay us, these are fees that are payable direct to PADI to sit your exams. At the time of writing they are (in Australian Dollars):

The IE will now cost 865 AUD$ , the IDC application fee 249 AUD$ and the EFRI application fee will cost 172 AUD$ , all together adding up to 1286 AUD$.

Please note this figure is a guide and can change (it is set by PADI not Xtreme).

Yes, the Koh Tao course is adaptable. Eg. we can shorten your trip if you have existing qualifications when you start your Koh Tao  IDC  instructor course. However remember you need to have at least 6 months gap between gaining your first diving qualification (Open Water) and becoming a Dive Instructor.

To train on the Koh Tao diving course you will need to fill in a medical statement and pass a medical exam. You will definitely notice that your fitness levels improve significantly as you advance through the Koh Tao Divemaster course. Bear in mind you will be swimming for up to 4 hours, this has a great impact on your fitness and health. However before beginning the course you need to be reasonably fit and healthy. You will also need to pass a PADI instructor swim www.

20 to 25 pounds a day should be enough for a great gap year. If you are not the drinking type and you like more quiet nights you could do it for 15 pounds. During the day you will only spend some money on food and water, and trust me, that is cheap!

The rooms are spacious and clean and have a nice balcony. Every room has 2 single beds, a TV and an en suite bathroom. If you want your own room during your gap year diving, there is an option for your own room for 75 euro extra a month.

The resort is part of the dive school. There is a reception, bar, restaurant with Thai and Western food, a big pool with sun beds pool, friendly reception, spacious rooms, and internet. The resort is a 2 minute walk from the beach, the bars and the restaurants.

You do not need experience. But you do need to be able to swim, not excellent, but you need to be able to swim around the dive boat. The diving in Thailand programme of Xtreme Gap gives you plenty of time, more than most programmes. But please do realize it is a big commitment so make sure you really want to do it.

We have arranged that your transfer tickets are ready at the desk of the hotel in Bangkok. The night after arriving you will get on a overnight bus and then in the morning a few hours on the boat. Also the pick up from the pier on Koh Tao on your day of arrival is included. The island is 21 square KM, and the resort is a 2 minute walk from the beach and all restaurants. So once you are on Koh Tao everything can be done by foot.

Thailand is great for a gap year because the weather is always nice. Maybe except October and November, than it is rainy season. The rest of the year it is hot and sunny! And even in the rainy season you will have lots of sunshine and hot weather.

Yes. We do never know exactly how many, but there is always an average of 5 to 12 travellers from Xtreme Gap.

Not all gap year travellers will be doing the Thailand dive programme. There are also options to do Martial arts on Koh Tao, Yoga, Free diving and rock climbing. For more gap year Thailand ideas please check our site. Everyone will stay in the same resort.

Yes. Xtreme Gap has a rep on the island that will be there for all gap year travellers. The rep will pick you up from the pier, show you around, take you out for dinner, introduce you to other gap year takers and will be there for you 24/7. Then you will also be working with your dive instructor daily. We also have an emergency number.

You can buy anything you need on Koh Tao, and it is much cheaper than back home, so pack light! The shops are all close to the resort. You can buy souvenirs, sun lotion, mosquito repellent, swim shorts, flip flops and everything else you might need.

If you are from the UK you can book gap year travel insurance online on the Xtreme Gap website. You would need the backpacker option and then the upgrade since you will be diving up to 30 meters deep during your gap year. We have chosen to work with this company since they are good value and cover the necessary diving and sports options Xtreme Gap has for gap years.

One of the benefits of booking your trip on Koh Tao with Xtreme Gap Year is not only do you get to do this awesome activity, but you will become part of the Xtreme gap family on Koh Tao. We will pick you up from the pier and give you a warm welcome at our stunning resort. On your first night our resident representative will take you out for a gorgeous Thai meal annual get to know all of the other members of the group. When you are booking a trip with us it is not just about the activity so please bear this in mind if you are comparing prices to other companies. No other company has such a big presence in Koh Tao, runs groups of like-minded travellers so booking a trip with us is as much about the friends you make as well as the experiences you will have.

The first thing we should mention is rules do change very frequently in Thailand, so this is just a guideline and you need to take responsibility for checking the accuracy. Having said that this is a question we are asked often and this is the current advice we are giving regarding visas.

Before you travel to Thailand you will need a double entry 60 day tourist VISA. This will enable you to get 60 days when you  first enter Thailand which can be extended by 30 days in Koh Samui either personally or we can send yourpassport over to our representative and they´ll do it for a fee, then at the end of that 30 days you will have to do a visa run and going over to Burma.

This is the closest place to do a VISA run, which takes place overnight you leave in the evening and you are back on Koh Tao the following morning. When you re-enter Thailand you will get the second 60 day visa activated. Once this is nearly expired this can once again be can be extended by 30 days in Samui.

This takes you to 6 months. If you are on the seven month course you will still need an additional month which requires you to do one final VISA run.

Some people from certain countries do now get 30 day tourist visas when they enter Thailand over a land boarder, the UK is one of these, but Ireland isn´t. The list of countries which now get 30 day visas when they cross a land border is;

  • Canada
  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • UK
  • United States.

So if you are from any of the above countries you are able to do one additional VISA run to complete the trip, if you are from other countries you may need to do to visa runs, please check with the course director to ensure that your visa runs do not interfere with the timing of the final instructor exam.

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  • Detailed information pack before you leave
  • 1 Night in Bangkok, 3 star hotel in the famous backpackers area
  • Transfer to Koh Tao
  • Taxi from the pier to the resort
  • Welcome introduction and meal to meet fellow divers and Xtreme Gappers
  • IDC (instructor course and certificate)
  • Unlimited Diving during the training
  • 4 weeks accommodation
  • All training manuals
  • Help obtaining the correct visa


  • Flights
  • Insurance
  • Food, drinks and living costs
  • Dive gear ( you will want to buy your own gear, you use it everyday)
  • At start IDC you need BCC, mask, fins, wetsuit, regulator, dive computer
  • PADI Registration and subscription fees (see FAQ)
  • Instructor IE Exam fees (The IE will now cost 865 AUD$ , the IDC application fee 249 AUD$ and the EFRI application fee will cost 172 AUD$ , all together adding up to 1286 AUD$. )
  • Costs for Visas and visa runs
  • Transfers back to Bangkok
  • IDC Crew Pack 20500 THB


Please contact us with your current dive qualification is and tell us when you would like to start. Depending on qualifications we will customise the start date for you. If you have never dived before you will need to allow up to 7 months. If you have an existing dive qualification then you can complete this in as little as three months.



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