Become an Instructor

In 1959 the YMCA developed Scuba training standards for instructors. These standards remain the most thorough and comprehensive in the dive industry today.

When it comes to Scuba certification, trust is an important aspect of training. YMCA Scuba instructors follow the philosophy of the YMCA while building self-esteem and nurturing personal growth in divers. YMCA leadership prides itself on maintaining values. In a sport such as Scuba diving, it is important for those participating to have values, good moral character and ethics. YMCA Scuba Instructors instill character development in their students by promoting caring, honesty, respect and responsibility during dive training.

Instructor certification permits an individual to teach Scuba students how to become competent divers. The instructor promotes safe diving and upholds the standards of YMCA Scuba. The Instructor may also teach many specialty and leadership courses, although additional training and certification may be required to teach some of these courses. The process of becoming an instructor involves three separate courses including Divemaster, Assistant Instructor and Instructor. The certification requirements and process for each of these three levels is described in detail below.

Divemaster

A certified YMCA Divemaster provides on-site leadership for groups of certified divers during recreational sport diving or for students during training under the direct supervision of the YMCA Scuba instructor. Divemasters conduct tours and supervise diving activities. Divemasters can work at dive resorts, on dive boats and in dive shops all over the world.

Divemaster Entrance Requirements:

  1. Age 18 years or older
  2. Medical exam with physician’s approval. The medical exam must be for scuba diving and completed less than one year prior to the beginning of the training. The medical questionnaire used in entry and advanced level classes is not acceptable to meet this requirement.
  3. Statement of Understanding/Waiver & Release completed and signed.
  4. Be a certified Open Water Diver with a recognized agency.
  5. Diving experience: Silver Advanced Diver or, 20 logged dives including experience in Night, Navigation, Deep (beyond 60 feet) and Search & Recovery diving.
  6. Current certification in Standard First Aid (ARC, AHA, NSC, ASHI, or equivalent).
  7. Current certification in CPR (NSC, AHA, ARC, ASHI, or equivalent).

Divemaster Certification Requirements:

  1. Completed all requirements contained in the Divemaster course.
  2. 18 years of age or older.
  3. Own a copy of the Standards and Procedures Manual.
  4. Medical exam with physician’s approval. The medical exam must be for scuba diving and completed less than one year prior to the beginning of the institute. The medical questionnaire used in entry and advanced level classes is not acceptable to meet this requirement.
  5. Hold a YMCA SLAM Rescue Diver rating.
  6. Diving experience, at least 40 logged dives.
  7. Hold current certification in each of the following:
    1. First Aid (NSC, ARC, AHA, ASHI, or equivalent)
    2. CPR (NSC, AHA, ARC,ASHI, or equivalent)
    3. Oxygen Provider (DAN or equivalent).
  8. Signed Ethical Practices Statement
  9. To be considered for any YMCA Scuba Program Leadership certification, the student must not have any standards violations or have been dismissed from the YMCA Scuba program or any other Scuba certification agency.

Assistant Instructor

YMCA Assistant Instructor certification is a required step in the development toward YMCA Scuba instructor. Assistant instructors may teach the YMCA Snorkeling and Skin Diving courses. During the Open Water course, assistant instructors assist in classroom training, pool training and the open water dives under the direct supervision of the instructor.

Assistant Instructor Entrance Requirements:

  1. 18 years of age or older.
  2. Medical exam with physician’s approval. The medical exam must be for scuba diving and completed less than one year prior to the beginning of the training. The medical questionnaire used in entry and advanced level classes is not acceptable to meet this requirement.
  3. Statement of Understanding/Waiver & Release completed and signed.
  4. SLAM Rescue Diver certification or SLAM Rescue Diver Crossover if certified in scuba rescue by another recognized agency.
  5. Complete Divemaster training or approved equivalent level from recognized agency.
  6. Have logged a minimum of 40 dives.

Assistant Instructor Certification Requirements:

  1. Complete all requirements contained in the Assistant Instructor course.
  2. Hold current certification in each of the following:
    1. First Aid (NSC, ARC, AHA, ASHI, or equivalent)
    2. CPR (NSC, AHA, ARC,ASHI, or equivalent)
    3. Oxygen Provider (DAN or equivalent).
  3. A current YMCA Scuba Standards and Procedures Manual is required.
  4. Diving experience must include at least 60 logged dives.
  5. A teaching internship must include the following minimum times:
    1. 16 hours of classroom assisting
    2. 18 hours of pool/confined water assisting
    3. Assisted during 5 open water training dives under direct supervision of an instructor.
  6. Signed Ethical Practices Statements.
  7. To be considered for any YMCA Scuba Program Leadership certification, the student must not have any standards violations or have been dismissed from the YMCA Scuba program or any other scuba certification agency.

Instructor Entrance Requirements:

  1. 18 years of age or older.
  2. At least one year of diving experience since entry level certification.
  3. Medical exam with physician’s approval. The medical exam must be for scuba diving and completed less than one year prior to the beginning of the institute. The exam used for Assistant Instructor certification may be used only if within this one-year requirement. The medical questionnaire used in entry and advanced level classes is not acceptable to meet this requirement.
  4. Statement of Understanding/Waiver & Release completed and signed.
  5. Hold a YMCA SLAM Rescue Diver rating, or hold a nationally recognized dive rescue certification and complete the YMCA SLAM Rescue Diver Crossover. This crossover training may be completed any time prior to or during the Instructor Institute. SLAM Rescue Diver training may be included as training hours for Instructor certification.
  6. Have completed the requirements for or be certified as a Divemaster. Divemaster training may be included as training hours for Instructor certification.
  7. Completed requirements for or be certified as a scuba assistant instructor. (The candidate must have completed A.I. training even though the certification card may not have yet arrived.) Assistant instructor training may be included as training hours for instructor certification.
  8. To enter instructor training, instructor candidates are required to have a minimum of 60 logged dives since entry level certification. The 60 prerequisite dives must include at least five from the list below:
    1. 10 dives to greater than 80 feet
    2. 10 dives utilizing full wet suit including hood and gloves or dry suit
    3. 10 dives using minimal thermal protection, i.e. dive skin or shorty
    4. 10 night dives
    5. 10 low visibility dives (less than three feet visibility)
    6. 10 fresh water dives
    7. 10 salt water dives
    8. 10 dives in surf, drift or current conditions
    9. 4 diving specialty certifications.

Instructor Certification Requirements:

  1. Complete all requirements contained in the Instructor Institute.
  2. Diving experience including a minimum of 100 logged dives before completing instructor training. An up-to-date log book must be presented by the candidate.
  3. Show proof of scuba teaching experience as follows:
    1. 15 hours of lecture experience
    2. 18 hours of water-work teaching
    3. Assisting in at least three separate open water class checkouts.

Note: on a, b & c, proof of lecture, water teaching and open water checkout training must be in the form of a letter from the candidate’s sponsoring instructor, or the teaching internship of the YMCA Assistant Instructor course. In some cases, this experience may be gained by assisting an instructor that certifies for another agency.

  1. Hold current certification in each of the following:
    1. First Aid (NSC, ARC, AHA, ASHI or equivalent)
    2. CPR (NSC, AHA, ARC, ASHI or equivalent)
    3. Oxygen Provider (DAN or equivalent).
  2. To be considered for any YMCA Scuba Program Leadership certification, the candidate/student must not have any standards violations or have been dismissed from the YMCA Scuba program or any other scuba certification agency.

YMCA Technical Advisors

The YMCA Scuba program is pleased to announce the appointment of Technical Advisors for major regions of the United States. To find the dates and locations of upcoming leadership programs contact one of the Technical Advisors nearest you. Also, if you have questions or issues to discuss, need clarification, or would like advice on starting a YMCA Scuba program in your area, contact the Technical Advisor for your region.

North – Diane Tiser
South – Dan Marelli
East – Andy Silverman
West – John Souza
Midwest – Tom Leaird