“What does a scuba dive instructor earn?” is one of the most asked questions by people who like to become a dive instructor, by people who are like to live on a tropical island, like Gili Air, or by people who are taking a gap-year.
This question is not easy to answer. Indonesian archipelago has 17.000 islands, reaching from Sumatra to Timor. And all dive shops on these islands have different contracts.
Starting to work in Indonesia
Starting at the beginning, an instructor who likes to work in Indonesia should have a valid temperate stay visa (KITAS) based on the Indonesian immigration rules and they should have a valid working permit (IMTA) based on the rules and regulations of Manpower Indonesia.
Because the working permit is related to the company that sponsors the instructor, the dive instructor can’t work for other companies to freelance.
If the instructor found a job and all the above-mentioned requirements are met, the instructor is allowed to work.
Salary as a scuba dive instructor
Most of the instructors will find jobs in dive shops. The instructor’s job will be teaching the students how to dive or educate the divers to become better divers. Most likely the instructor will earn his salary in provision base. This means if the instructor is good in marketing himself, having a positive attitude, being the most passionate dive instructor as he can be, his sales will go up and also his salary.
If the salary is based on provision, think also about the seasonal influences during the year. Indonesia has a dry and a rainy season. Most of the tourists will visit Indonesia during the dry season. In the months July till October tourists from the western world who like to spend their holiday in Indonesia come Indonesia. During the holiday they like to experience the beauty of the underwater world by scuba diving. In these months the salary will be almost double compared to salary earned during the rainy season. The average salary of a scuba dive instructor in a busy dive center before COVID-19 started was IDR25.000.000 a month, like EURO1500.
If the dive instructor is looking for a fixed salary, working on a live-aboard is the best option. Dive instructor will work as cruise director on most of the live aboards in Indonesia. The advantage of working on a live-aboards is that the instructor will go to amazing diving places like, Komodo, Ambon, Raja Ampat or Sulawesi where it is hard to go without a ship. The disadvantage of a live-aboard is that the scuba instructor has to stay a minimal time on the boat. On a live-aboard the salaries will be a bit higher, and also all the other expenses are covered, like costs of accommodation, food and drinks.
Why people want to be a dive instructor in Indonesia?
Tropical islands, friendly people, crystal clear water, amazing diving are the main reasons to work as an instructor in Indonesia. It is most likely that people enjoy the lifestyle in Indonesia. And be honest, who doesn’t want to live on a tropical island with a cocktail inn your hand!