Training and getting certified are commonly mistaken as analogous, that they are one and the same. In an ideal world, having a system of checks and balance would be the perfect thing when getting your training and getting certified. The instructor conducting the course should not be the one to audit his training, and certify the students himself or herself. However, in the dive training industry, getting other divers to observe, audit, and certify students training by someone else would be costly and very messy.
To ensure uniformity and consistency of the course, dive instructors had to go a serious of rigid training, and have been subjected to instructor examinations conducted by their respective training agencies before they are certified as instructors. They are expected to adhere to standards, methods, course flows, training sequences, etc to ensure that the certification process will no longer require the presence of an independent professional to audit and assess the students performance and knowledge.
So the choice of a Dive Center and Instructor should be taken more seriously, and should be considered more important than the cost of your course. So asking questions about diving in general, the conduct of your training, and other matters go a long way.
Here are top 3 toughest questions that you should ask your instructor before booking his or her training course.
Are you renewed and authorized to teach now?
While you can discreetly ask for his or her instructor number and verify your instructor’s teaching status, you might want to give your instructors an opportunity to tell you about this status personally. Like any other profession, is subject to round of renewal, re-certification, and in some cases, required to undergo updates, and most certainly need to pay for his or her membership dues. Failure to renew ones status disqualifies that person’s authority to teach courses and conduct programs.
This particular question addresses the professionalism, dedication and commitment of your instructor towards his own training agency.
Have you ever suffered a Decompression Sickness or Illness (DCS / DCI)?
Decompression sickness or DCS, also known as “the bends”, which involves a trip to the hyperbaric or recompression chamber, is every instructor’s nightmare. As a diver, you are expected to engage in safe diving practices and give yourself enough safety margin to avoid DCS from ever happening to you. How do you feel if the person running your course, who is supposed to teach you skills and arm you with knowledge about how to stay a safe and responsible diver, suffered DCS at some point in his diving career? How do you feel if that person had more than one unfortunate incident?
This particular question exposes your instructors personal safety considerations and habits, which can ultimately be passed on to you in one form or another.
Have you ever had an incident where the safety of your students was in jeopardy?
While this question can sometimes throw people off, your instructor’s reaction to this question is as important as his or her answer. Circumstances leading to an unfortunate incident may not entirely be an instructor’s fault, you should at least give give yourself enough opportunity to decide whether to go for it or find another professional whom you are more confident to teach you.
This particular question will give you an idea of your instructor’s adherence to standards, safe practices, foresight, judgement and priority.