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PADI Instructor Development Course

The PADI Instructor Development course has been said to set the standard in the industry by being the most comprehensive and challenging of courses. The Instructor Development Course (IDC) is conducted as a complete program, and may also be split into two components – the Assistant Instructor (AI) and Open Water Scuba Instructor (OWSI) courses.

The AI course introduces teaching techniques for skill and knowledge development. The course concentrates on duties and programs AIs may conduct independently, while establishing the base of knowledge and skills they need as PADI Open Water Scuba Instructors. Successfully completing this course earns an AI certification and those who qualify may continue on to an OWSI program.

The OWSI course introduces the PADI System and focuses on further developing instructor knowledge and skills. PADI Assistant Instructors, as well as instructors from other diver training organizations who want to become PADI Instructors, must successfully complete this program to qualify to attend a PADI Instructor Examination.

The Instructor Development course begins with IDC eLearning, ideally before participating in classroom sessions and inwater workshops with your Course Director. Learning necessary background information on your own makes the time you spend developing teaching techniques with your Course Director more effective. You’ll learn to conduct all PADI core courses with your Course Director. You’ll learn to organize and present information, conduct skill development sessions and control open water dives.

Some of the key topics include:

  • PADI Standards and procedures for courses you can teach
  • Dive theory for dive leaders
  • Learning, instruction and the PADI System
  • Risk management and diver safety
  • The business of diving and your role as an instructor.

Divemasters may choose to take the full IDC or break up the course by attending the Assistant Instructor course then later take the Open Water Scuba Instructor portion. Only the candidate ultimately decides whether to take the full course or break it up.

At St. Croix SCUBA, we prefer to extend the course to 10-12 days in order to maximize the workshop time. Some candidates need extra time with dive theory while others need more time with refining skills for demonstration. During the course we intertwine the standard requirements with some fun diving (while learning) such as deep, enriched air, boat, night, digital imaging, etc, just to name a few.

Our goal is to prepare the candidate to teach immediately after successfully completing the Instructor Exam rather than simply teaching to test. The more tools in the toolbox the more successful the candidate will be.

After completing the IDC successfully, a candidate will attend a 2-day session known as the PADI Instructor Examination. A representative from PADI (completely objective) will come out and assess the readiness to become a coveted PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor. During these 2 days the candidate will prepare a single classroom knowledge development presentation, a single confined water teaching exercise, a mini skill circuit of five skills, a single open water assessment consisting of two skills, demonstration quality rescue exercise #7, and successfully score 75% or higher on each of the 5 dive theory exams as well as 75% or higher on a closed book standards exam.

What you will learn

During the IDC eLearning you will be introduced to:

  • Dive Theory for Dive Leaders
  • System Overview
  • Learning and Instruction
  • Discover Scuba Diving & Experience Programs
  • Open Water Diver Course
  • Risk Management & Legal Considerations
  • Managing Risk
  • Quality Management & Licensing
  • Introduction to Teaching Presentations
  • Conducting and Evaluating Knowledge Development
  • Confined Water Training
  • Open Water Training
  • Continuing Education & Leadership Courses
  • Business of Diving
  • How to teach the Recreational Dive Planner

During the IDC Curriculum you will learn:

  • Dive Theory Workshop
  • System’s Workshop
  • Learning & Teaching Workshop
  • Discover Scuba Diving Workshop
  • Open Water Dive Course Scheduling & Setup Workshop
  • Risk Management & Licensing Workshop
  • Knowledge Development Presentation Workshops
  • Skill Development Workshop
  • Confined Water Training Workshops
  • Open Water Training Workshops
  • Continuing Education Workshop
  • Advanced Open Water Diver Course Workshop
  • Rescue Diver Course Workshop
  • Sales Techniques Workshop

What you will participate in:

  • Minimum of 3 knowledge development teaching presentations
  • Minimum of 4 confined water teaching presentations
  • Minimum of 2 open water teaching presentations
  • Demonstrate all 24 skills
  • Minimum of 2 Standards and Procedures Exams
  • Minimum of 2 Theory Exams
  • 400 meter/yard continuous swim
  • 10 minute tread, drown proof
  • Rescue exercises including: panicked diver at the surface, surfacing an unresponsive diver, unresponsive diver at the surface, egressing, and first aid / oxygen using a pocket mask


Candidates complete the independent study through PADI IDC eLearning. As with all PADI programs, instructor development courses are performance-based. Course length may vary, depending on factors such as logistical considerations, candidate ability and the number of candidates in a course.

If the IDC eLearning is completed prior to the start of the course then 6 days is all that is needed to complete the curriculum. If eLearning cannot be completed prior to class and must be delivered in person then the length is 8 days.

Prerequisites to attend an IDC or AI Program or OWSI Program:

  1. PADI Divemaster or:
    1. An instructor member in good standing (renewed or eligible to renew) with another recognized recreational training organization.
    2. Have a leadership-level certification in good standing (renewed or eligible to renew) with another recognized recreational diver training organization; 60 logged dives; documented experience in night diving, deep diving and underwater navigation.
  2. 18 years old.
  3. Medical clearance attesting to dive fitness signed by a physician within the previous 12 months, and have had no medical condition changes
  4. Certified diver for at least six months.
  5. Completed the EFR Primary and Secondary Care course, or other qualifying training, within the last 24 months.  Note: Emergency First Response Instructor (or qualifying rating) is required for Open Water Scuba Instructor certification.If not a PADI Divemaster, successfully complete the
  6. PADI Divemaster course diver rescue skills assessment.
  7. Documentation of any nonPADI qualifying entry level, advanced, rescue and leadership level certifications as required

Required Equipment for all PADI Professional level courses

  • Fins, mask and snorkel
  • Compressed gas cylinder and valve
  • Buoyancy control device (BCD) with tank mount or separate backpack, and low pressure inflator
  • Primary regulator and alternate air source
  • Breathing gas monitoring device (e.g. submersible pressure gauge)
  • Depth monitoring device
  • Quick release weight system and weights
  • Adequate exposure protection
  • At least one audible emergency surface signaling device (whistle, air horn, etc) and one visible (inflatable surface tube, flare, signal mirror, etc)
  • Dive computer or RDP (eRDPml or Table)
  • Time monitoring device
  • Compass
  • Knife / diver’s tool
  • Dive flag – where required locally
  • Instructions for use for dive computer or RDP/eRDPml

Required Materials for a complete IDC or Ai Program or OWSI Program

  • PADI Instructor Manual (Current)
  • PADI’s Guide to Teaching to Teaching (current)
  • PADI IDC eLearning
  • PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy, Coral Reef Conservation and Project AWARE Specialty Course Instructor Guides
  • PADI Open Water Diver Manual or eLearning
  • Recreational Dive Planner – RDP Table and eRDPml, including instructions for Use booklets
  • PADI Skill Practice and Dive Planning Slate
  • Open Water Diver quizzes and Exam Booklet
  • PADI Advanced Open Water Diver Manual or eLearning
  • PADI Rescue Diver Manual or eLearning
  • Rescue Diver Final Exams booklet
  • PADI Divemaster Manual or eLearning
  • Divemaster Final Exams booklet
  • Aquatic Cue Card for Open Water Diver, Advanced Open water Diver, Rescue Diver, Divemaster and Discover Scuba Diving
  • Skill development preparation slate
  • The Encyclopedia of Recreational Diving
  • Diving Knowledge Workbook or eRecord for Dive Theory online


  • All PADI diver videos
  • PADI Specialty Diver manuals or eLearning
  • Open Water Diver Course Prescriptive Lesson Guides
  • Rescue Diver Course Prescriptive Lesson Guides
  • Divemaster Course Prescriptive Lesson Guides
  • Discover Scuba Diving Participant Guide
  • Skill Evaluation Slate
  • PADI Pro log book
  • PADI ReActivate eLearning
  • PADI Freediver eLearningPADI TecRec course materials