The Cost to Become a Scuba Instructor Vs. Other Instructor Programs

A worldwide search for PADI IDC programs revealed prices ranging from $1798US all the way up to $10,000US or more for a “zero to hero” program. In the Americas, the cheapest IDC+EFRI programs were advertised for as little $2200US; however, these bargain-basement prices didn’t include materials, PADI application fees or the Instructor Examination (IE).

After accounting for all the required costs, the average price to become a PADI OWSI in North or South America is around $3500US. With that in mind, we asked: how does the cost to become a scuba instructor compare to the cost to become a certified yoga instructor, kayak instructor or ski/snowboard instructor? The answers may surprise you.

padi instructor

Yoga Instructor

The yoga industry doesn’t have strict training guidelines like the scuba industry, but they have a widely-recognized training organization called Yoga Alliance (YA). Most gyms and yoga studios recognize a basic, 200-hour YA certification as sufficient experience to hire a new yoga instructor. As with all jobs, additional experience and certifications are beneficial.

Similar price, larger class sizes
The average cost for a 200-hour Yoga Alliance-certified training program is around $3500US. As with scuba diving, cheaper programs are available outside North America. Aspiring yogis can become instructors in Costa Rica for $3500US, or in India for $1650US. The prices do not include airfare, but they do include shared lodging.

An “intimate” teacher training consists of 15-20 students. There can be up to 50 yoga instructor candidates in one class. Also, Yoga Alliance requires continuing education (75 hours every three years).

Average pay: a yoga instructor in North America can expect to be paid $30-$35US/class, or approximately $15US/hour.

Ski or Snowboard Instructor

A ski or snowboard instructor generally needs a Level 2 certification from an internationally-recognized organization such as the Canadian Association of Snowboard Instructors (CASI) or Canadian Ski Instructors Alliance (CSIA). First aid training is typically required, but not included in ski/snowboard instructor course price.

More expensive
A combination Level 1 & 2 course costs around $8132 – $10,300US and training takes place over 8-12 weeks. Prices do not include airfare to the resort destination or transportation to/from the mountain. The price typically includes learning materials and shared lodging.

Average pay: a ski or snowboarding instructor in North America can expect to earn $15-$20US depending on the location and their experience.

Windsurfing Instructor

Certifying organizations include CANSail, Royal Yachting Association (RYA), or U.S. Sailing. The course length ranges from a 5-day intensive to a 10-week part-time class.

Similar cost, fewer hours
The cost to become a windsurfing instructor is $2374 – $4779US depending on the candidate’s prior experience.

Average pay: a windsurfing instructor in North America will earn around $9/hour.

Kayak Instructor

The American Canoe Association (ACA) offers instructor certifications for a variety of paddle sports (canoe, kayak, SUP).

Lower cost, fewer hours
The cost for a kayak instructor course ranges from $495 – $799US. The course takes approximately 40 hours to complete over 4-5 days.

Average pay: kayak instructors can earn $15-$19/hr depending on experience.

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