Eight Tips for Rocking Your IDC

PADI Instructor

By Brooke Morton

Ready for your IDC? Don’t wait until the course starts to see where you stand. We talked with a handful of PADI Course Directors and IDC Staff Instructors about what it takes to pass an IDC with flying colors. Their best advice? Start now. Here’s how:

8. Spend time familiarizing yourself with the PADI Instructor Manual.

“Definitely be prepared to go through the Instructor Manual. You’ll need to know where certain things (such as standards and minimum ages for courses) are,” says Neil Evans, PADI Course Director with Rainbow Reef IDC in Key Largo, Florida.

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7. Work on your trim.

Get your weighting down for the pool, freshwater and saltwater. Says Evans, “People are so used to diving one way and they’re not used to, say, diving with no wetsuit. IDC candidates need to know their weighting for every scenario.”

6. Go through the Diving Knowledge Workbook.

Read over the materials. If there’s anything you don’t understand, ask an instructor. Call your dive center or walk in for a visit.

“Go over it with someone early, as opposed to waiting until class starts,” says Michelle Pugh, PADI Master Scuba Diver™ Trainer with Dive Experience on St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

5. Nail your buoyancy so that you can stay on your fin tips.

Can you hover and stay on your fin tips? If not, practice.

“You want to be as neutrally buoyant as possible—as opposed to planting down in the sand,” says Evans.

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4. Practice demonstrating skills as slowly as possible.

“There’s an IDC saying: ‘There’s slow, slower and a five.’ People tend to rush through their demonstrations of skills such as mask clearing, and that doesn’t get you a good score,” says Kevin Barry, IDC Staff Instructor with Any Water Sports in San Jose, CA.

Not sure which skills to practice? The list of 24 basic scuba skills you will need to model is listed in the PADI Instructor Manual.

3. Know dive theory.

“Find practice questions and sample exams online and have a go at them,” says Will Welbourn, PADI Course Director with Coconut Tree Divers in Roatan, Honduras.”

2. Spend time assisting instructors.

“Any instructor would love the help of an insured divemaster. Time with an instructor buys you hands-on learning, including gaining tricks for handling a lot of situations that can happen with beginner divers. Instructors can tell you what the most common things are that can happen with any skill, and what you need to do to handle those situations,” says Pugh.

1. Choose a good instructor to shadow.

“Take your time in finding an instructor to learn from,” says Pugh. Not all are created equal, and you want to be sure you’re gaining experience from someone who packs the skills, as well as patience.

If you are interested in taking the PADI Instructor Development Course, find more information here, register for IDC Online, and visit a PADI Five Star Instructor Development Center or Resort to sign up for a course.

Lastly, view the Instructor Development Calendar. 

Hologram for PADI Divemaster and Instructor Applications

PADI is changing the color of the holograms we ship with the Divemaster and Instructor crewpaks. Starting in a few weeks you’ll start to see

Green holograms in the Divemaster kits.

Blue holograms in the  IDC kits.

2011 will be a transition year, so please use whatever hologram came with your materials.


PADI IDC material online — available now

PADI IDC Candidates may now complete a portion of their IDC program online through PADI’s eLearning system. The online course reduces the IDC program time by approximately two days.

With the eLearning option, IDC candidates and Course Directors have more time to devote to in-water sessions and workshops. View the current cost for IDC online.

The decision to put certain sections of the course online was based on survey results from PADI Course Directors worldwide and the program was field tested during 2008 and 2009.In areas where eLearning is not accessible or translations are unavailable, the Course Director may complete the nine eLearning sections in person.

Students can register for the IDC online material in two ways:

  1. By clicking the eLearning link on a Five Star/ Five Star IDC or CDC dive center website.
  2. Or, by visiting padi.com and choosing a Five Star IDC or CDC from our dive center locator.

The IDC online program was revealed at DEMA 2009 and includes nine sections:

  • General Standards and Procedures*
  • Learning the PADI System
  • Risk Management*
  • Marketing diving
  • Promoting Discover Scuba and Open Water programs*
  • Teaching PADI Specialty courses
  • Business of Diving*
  • Promoting continuing education programs*
  • How to teach the RDP

* These programs have a “part two” discussion component to be completed in person with the Course Director.

The student will need a current PADI Instructor manual (free download from the PADI Pro’s Site) and student diver materials for OW, AOW and Rescue to reference during the online training.

Whether using eLearning or doing an entirely classroom option, all IDC candidates will need the materials from the  IDC crewpak.

The nine sections may be completed in any order. The candidate must complete a short assessment at the end of each section to verify section completion.

When the student has finished all nine sections, they can print out an eRecord for their CD / IDC/ CDC facility. The candidate must also bring a SWOT analysis, along with a two marketing plans for review and discussion during the classroom portion of their IDC.

Is it possible to preview the online IDC material?


  1. The IDC eLearning slides are in the new PADI Course Director Manual (available now).


  • PADI Dive Centers can also preview the course from http://elearning.padi.com. After logging in, choose “User Maintenance” followed by “Preview Course Sections.”