Your PADI Divemaster certification can open the door to a fun and rewarding career anywhere in the world, but landing a great job takes work. You can’t be like a sea anemone and wait for the perfect job to drift by. Use the strategies below to outmaneuver the competition and snatch up your dream job.
Do You Have the Skills Employers Expect?
For the most part, business owners would rather hire someone with experience rather than train a newbie. Review the list below to ensure when a potential employer asks if you have experience filling tanks, working on a boat, etc. – you can answer yes!
- DSD Leader credential – By completing the PADI Discover Scuba Diving Leader internship, a Divemaster can conduct PADI Discover Scuba® (DSD) programs in a pool or confined water. This skill makes you a valuable asset to any dive operation and, because it is an optional part of the Divemaster course, gives you an advantage over other job applicants.
- Boat Basics – PADI Divemasters, especially those hoping to work in resort areas, need to know their way around a boat. Familiarize yourself with boat terminology, local laws, and make sure you remember those knot tying skills. If you don’t have a lot of boat diving knowledge, consider taking the PADI Boat Diver Speciality course.
- Minor Equipment Repairs – Divemasters spend a lot of time helping divers with their gear. If you don’t know how to handle minor gear issues, enroll in the PADI Equipment Specialist course and/or purchase the PADI Equipment Specialist Touch
- Emergency Oxygen Administration – Every dive leader should be familiar with how to administer oxygen in the event of a diving emergency. Most dive operations will expect you to have this skill – in addition to current first aid and CPR training. Learn more about the PADI Emergency Oxygen Provider Specialty. If you already have this certification, talk to a PADI Course Director about getting trained to teach this course.
- Ability to Fill Tanks – The ability to fill scuba tanks is an essential skill for Divemasters. To distinguish yourself from other candidates, you may want to get a visual cylinder inspection certification.
What Makes You Better Than the Rest?
Why are you the best candidate for a Divemaster job? What can you do better than anyone else? If you don’t have an answer to these questions, consider picking up one of the specialized skills below:
- Boat Skills – Resort and liveaboard operators need staff members who can do more than just lead dives. If you can drive a skiff, have a boat handling certification, know basic boat engine or compressor maintenance, or have a captain’s license, you will be twice as valuable as a Divemaster who does not have these skills.
- Equipment Service Technician – Enroll in manufacturer-sponsored courses such as regulator repair, BCD maintenance and repair, etc. Though you may find yourself at a workbench more often than a dive boat, this can be your foot in the door.
- Know Your Local Marine Life – Most Divemasters have a good (but not great) knowledge of local marine life. By learning about the behaviors and habitats of your local critters, you’ll be able to help divers get more from their dive experience (and hopefully show their gratitude in tips). PADI’s Fish ID and Underwater Naturalist Specialty courses are a good place to start.
- Photo/Video Expertise – Capturing great images of marine life and divers having fun is a huge asset to any dive business. Photos and video are an essential part of any businesses’ marketing strategy, yet many dive operators don’t have time to get them. Divemasters can also teach the PADI Digital Underwater Photographer Specialty Course(under the direction of a PADI Instructor) after receiving training from a PADI Course Director.
- Adaptive Techniques – PADI Divemasters can become a certified PADI Adaptive Techniques Support Diver (English only) and learn techniques to apply when training and diving with physically and mentally challenged divers.
Retail Recommendations – A Divemaster looking for work in a non-resort location should learn everything they can about the major manufacturer’s product lines. Knowing the features and benefits of popular BCDs, regulators and computers makes you a valuable employee to retailers.
Resorts – Divemasters looking for work in resort areas should be familiar with local places to eat, drink and have fun – easy right? Another thing DM’s should know is how to drive a large passenger van. Many dive operators in resort areas have a 15+ passenger van to pick up guests at their hotel(s) and to shuttle divers to/from the dive boat. Check local licensing requirements, some areas require a special driver’s license endorsement.
Knowing more than one language is also advantageous for Divemasters working in resort areas. The “best” second language to learn will depend on the area. Visit the Employment Board area of the PADI Pros Site to learn which languages are in demand.
Check in next month for Part 2 and find out about those extras that can put you in the winning seat.