Instructor Training

The first step to becoming an Instructor is to attend an Instructor Foundation Course (IFC) which you can do once you have acheived your Sports Diver Qualification and will allow to teach in the Pool. The next step is to start teaching in the pool and go diving to become a dive leader as this will alllow you to become either a practical or theory Instructor.

To become a Theory Instructor you need to pass a Theory Instructor Exam (TIE). Once passed it allows you to give lectures for trainees. To become a Practical Open Water Instructor you need to attend an Open Water Instructor Course and pass a Practical Instructor Exam (PIE). Once passed it allows you to take and teach trainees in the sea.

Once you pass both the PIE and the TIE you are a Nationally Qualified Instructor (NQI) and can teach both practical and theory.

As an added incentive if you are actively instructing with the club you can claim back part of the cost of the IFC, OWIC, PIE and TIE.

If you have an instructing qualification from another agency that is recognised by BSAC, you can easily cross over. All you need to do is attend an IFC or OWIC. Please talk to our Extended Training Officer if you have any further questions!

Instructor Foundation Course (IFC)

The first step on the way to becoming an instructor is to attend an Instructor Foundation Course. This is a two day course run, usually run over the weekend, with half the time spent in lectures and small group sessions and the other half spent in the pool. On the first day you will get a title for a 10 minute classroom presentation and a pool lesson to be given the next day. But remember this isn't a pass/fail assessment, it's a course preparing you for the next step in becoming an instructor.

IFCs tend to be run in the same places and the nearest venues to Bristol are Exeter and Worcester. You can check the BSAC website for upcoming courses. Once you've completed an IFC you are a sheltered water Assistant Instructor so you can teach in the pool under the supervision of a Nationally Qualified Instructor (NQI). If you are actively instructing then you can claim back half of the cost of the IFC (speak to the treasurer).

Theory Instructor Exam (TIE)

The TIE is comprised of three separate elements:

  • A 10 minute Classroom presentation
  • A 1 hour (60 question) multiple choice answer Exam Paper
  • A 45 minute Practical Assessment

Hints & Tips for the Presentation

As soon as you get the topic for your presentation, start thinking about it and crack on with it ASAP.

Don't try to teach the entire topic given. This runs the risks of teaching beyond the knowledge of the target audience and/or making you run overtime. Pick a small part of a subject and teach that well.
e.g. Buoyancy: Why not get your BCD out and discuss its features and use, or compare it to others that you may be able to borrow. This could be instead of discussing the laws of physics and explaining what they are all about! By the reverse logic, pick a subject and DON’T brief over it.

Try to pull most of the information from the Instructor Manual.


  • Buoyancy: Can use your BCD or 'Physics of Buoyancy'
  • Dive Computers
  • DCI: Can be broken down into Signs and Symptoms, First Aid or Prevention
  • Wreck Diving: Penetration, Dangers & Navigation; How to research and get information on wrecks or equipment to use whilst wreck diving
  • Risk Assessments: Can use SEEDS as a basis (pages 108 and 129 of Instructor brochure may be of help)
  • SMBs & DSMB: The different types (can use real thing as Visual Aids)
  • Compass Navigation: You could get the students to practice use of a compass in the class, but ensure you have set the room up to accommodate this
  • AAS: Reasons for having them, different types (could use real things as visual aids)
  • Circulation
  • The Ear
  • Drift Diving: Could use SMB (i.e. reasons why you need one), profiles, buddy-lines
  • Decompression Tables: Be careful not to turn this into a list of definitions
  • Charts - Symbols (could use chart 5011)
  • Diving Diseases
  • Deep Diving
  • Rescue Techniques and Processes (important to check on what is current information)
  • Nitrogen Narcosis
  • Tides: Explanation of Tides, Rule of Twelves and/or Tidal Curves

When you've got the gist of your topic, scribble out your visual aids.

Rehearse your subject and give your lecture to your diving friends to ensure you have got it right and that your timings are good. It also gets you used to talking in front of people and they could give you advice on what is good or may be going wrong, so that you can sort it out before the big day.

Lecture Preparation

1. Ensure that your information is accurate and up to date:

  • Classic examples of this are CPR and EAR, which appear to change every year (DR ABC. Etc)
  • Check the instructor manual

2. Find out the must know information, which must be taught:

  • This can be checked with/from the student workbooks
  • You must choose who you are pitching the lesson at i.e. Ocean Diver to Advanced Diver, and tell the examiner before the lecture is given so he knows what to expect, therefore he will know if you haven't covered the subject matter or covered to much. This stops him assuming it is aimed at Ocean Divers, when you had Dive Leaders in mind when giving it.

3. The Information taught is laid out and given in a logical and progressive manner:

  • Check the subject matter against the Instructor Manual for the progressive/logical manner per Diving grade
  • Ensure that it is supported by the APPROPRIATE visual aids, which ARE spelt correctly and relevant to subject matter
  • Try to make them as big, simple and colourful as possible
  • Try to use pictures or diagrams as much as possible


As a layout for your lecture and timings, you should aim for:

  • One minute of introduction, Visual Aid 1: Topic Name and your Name.
  • Eight minutes of the main topic, Visual Aid 2: Aims, Visual Aid 3: Subject Heading, Visual Aid 4+: Subject Matter
  • One minute for summary & questions, Visual Aid: Final Slide: Summary. This could be slide 2 or a repeat of it.

NOTE: Too many visual aids can complicate the lecture, so keep them to a minimum.

Ask student confirmation questions - Instructors may say they will ask them, so be prepared. Don't single out anyone, this may put them under even more pressure than they are already, besides they may return the favour when they are giving their lecture - you may get picked up for this by the examiner as a bad practice. You can prime someone with a question, but beware.

Hide your Visual Aids; prevent them from becoming a distraction.

Give any handouts at the end to prevent these from becoming another distraction.

Non Essential Information - you cannot fail for missing out non-essential information, but it can be the difference between a merit and a pass.

The Structure of the lesson, Introduction, The Main Theme and Summary are not essential to the lecture, but it is expected to be in there.

  • Arrange your room for your lecture; the examiner will give you the time to do this if you require it. See the point below reference distraction but ensure that the class is positioned so they can see you and the visual aids
  • Have a good management of distractions. Position by windows or visual aids being seen. If a cock up happens, relax. These things happen and the examiner knows this, including the strain you are already under, he's probably sympathetic, if you handle it well they might be impressed.
  • Get a flow to the subject matter, this normally comes with practice
  • Get class involvement by questions and eye contact. Don't stare at just one person the examiner will probably pick up on that and it will make the other student uncomfortable
  • Visual Aids handled effectively, ensure you can use your visual aids (i.e. Power point presentation are readable and colour scheme makes it easier to read like dark blue background with yellow writing). Try it out before the day
  • Don't rely on anyone having the same visual aids as you, like Power point or OHP and make sure you have the equipment to back it up (spare bulbs, extension leads, as your OHP/Data projector may not be near a power point)
  • Make more than one type of visual aids to cover your bets, remember even flip charts may not have an easel to put it on, unless you have it, or having chalk, when you get the venue it has white boards or nothing at all.
  • Check transfer of information, and correct if necessary (this could mean changing the content of the question)
  • Keep reasonable time keeping, ask one of the other students to give a signal, they may want to do the same thing for themselves
  • Ensure you have a sensible amount of information covered; it’s too easy to go too in depth, which again may mean running over or teaching beyond your target audience

Final Advice

Once you have worked on your subject and you think your there, don't be afraid to ask for advice/proof-read or present it to others for practice. The best target audience will be instructors who have already gone through this process already. They will be able to advice, help or guide you. Most when approached will be more than happy to help you.

There is always a risk of when you are writing & practicing a lecture, that you get target focused; that is you can't see the mistakes or miss a better way of getting the information across because you are already engrossed in the material. A fresh pair of eyes from a different perspective can usually identify any potential problems.

Make the time to rehearse your lecture, this will help you get a feel for it and help in time keeping, if you choose to do this in front of an audience that is your choice, but it will help you overcome a fear of public speaking in front of people (something you will have to do anyway as an instructor giving lessons to students).

The earlier you can sort out/write your lecture, get it proof read and carryout a few rehearsals the better prepared you are for the TIE. This means you can correct any issues and still have plenty of rehearsal time before you enter the exam. The better prepared overall, the end result is that a lot of the stress is taken out of your big day. You will be more relaxed and hopefully give a good lecture.

Practical Instructor Exam (PIE)

Currently no information