How much does a Dive instructor get paid?

How much does a Dive instructor get paid?

We often get asked, "Hey, how much can I make as a Dive Instructor?" or "Where's the best place for Dive Instructors to earn?"—basically, the million-dollar questions, "What's the deal with Dive Instructor salaries?"

We totally get it. Becoming a PADI Diving Instructor is a big step, and knowing the financial side is crucial. Regarding income, dive instructors can earn anywhere from around 500 euros/month to rocking it with 3000 euros/month– and everything in between.  


What you make depends on a few factors


Koh Tao Dive instructor teaching in Open Water


Salary Structure: Fixed Salary VS "Earn As You Work".

• Fixed salaries typically hover around 800 euros to 1800 euros per month. The cool part is that many places sweeten the deal by offering extra commissions. The perk here is financial stability, but the downside is that it might be less than what you'd earn with total commission-based salaries.

• With the "Earn As You Work" structure, dive instructors receive payment for each diving student they guide. This system is prevalent in popular diving destinations. The average commission for a PADI Open Water student usually falls between 50 and 70 euros, varying based on your work location. Consequently, a dive instructor's salary in these areas can significantly differ from one instructor to another, as it relies on the number of students they teach.

 Koh Tao - PADI Open Water Diver students


When it comes to a scuba diving instructor's salary, location is a game-changer. Different spots attract diverse crowds—some are prime spots for learning scuba diving, while others are magnets for thrill-seekers seeking fun dives. Since a dive instructor's primary role is teaching, choosing the right location is pivotal for their overall salary. So, the key is to aim for popular locations where people can learn scuba diving! Consider the paycheck and living expenses, which can vary widely depending on your location. While some dive centers may provide free accommodation and meals, in most cases, you'll be handling your rent and food expenses. To optimize your budget, consider relocating to more cost-effective areas. 

Koh Tao Open Water students

Oh, did we mention that working on cruise ships, liveaboards, and superyachts can also significantly boost your scuba diving instructor salary? 


Personal Factors

A positive attitude as a scuba diving instructor doesn't just lead to a higher salary; it also makes it easier to land and keep scuba jobs and advance to higher positions. Moreover, students love their teaching style, prompting them to invest in more courses, buy scuba equipment, and rely on their advice for other adventures. This often translates to additional upselling commissions that can significantly elevate a dive instructor's monthly salary. Now, here's the reality check: Even with an excellent attitude, there are instances where scuba diving instructors may earn a low income, usually because they're working in the wrong location...

friendly dive instructor in Koh Tao, Thailand


Having extra skills

Teaching as many Specialties as possible benefits your students and boosts your employability. It sets you apart from the competition, making you an attractive candidate for dive centers! Dive into specialties that align with your interests and resonate with the local diving scene. If the location features fascinating wrecks, consider becoming a Wreck Specialist. For photography lovers, share your passion by teaching underwater photography. And, of course, broaden your expertise with popular specialties like the Deep Diver, Night Diver and Enriched Air Nitrox Diver Specialty courses! 

Koh Tao Night Diving


Boost your income 

Equipment sales can be part of the dive instructor journey. When customers seek your advice on gear, there's no need to be pushy. Your satisfied course graduates will naturally trust your recommendations, making it an easy and effective way to add extra income to your diving adventure! Plus, some dive centers offer booking commissions, giving you even more reasons to love what you do! 


Koh Tao Newly Certified divers


While we may not have unraveled the mystery of a million-dollar question, one thing is sure—a scuba diving instructor's salary varies widely. Our advice? Don't embark on the journey for the money alone; passion must be your compass! You can thrive in this industry with a positive attitude, hard work, a love for scuba diving, genuine care for your students, and thoughtful choices in education and location.


At Coral Grand Divers in Koh Tao, Thailand, we train all our PADI Pros, Divemaster, and IDC Candidates to become successful dive professionals, ensuring their success no matter where they work around the globe.

PADI 5 Stars IDC Center

More than 50000 PADI Certifications


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