Assistant Instructor

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The SSI Assistant Instructor program provides you with the knowledge and training necessary to perform the duties of an assistant instructor. These duties include conducting entry-level scuba training under the indirect supervision of an Open Water Instructor, and independently conducting Scuba Skills Updates, Try Scuba, and Perfect Buoyancy programs.

During the Assistant Instructor course, you will learn what goes into Classroom and pool presentations. You will practice giving classroom teaching presentations and learn how to develop knowledgeable dive students. You will also learn about each skill taught to scuba students in confined water (pool training). During the East Coast Divers Assistant Instructor course, you will learn and practice the teaching techniques for training scuba students and get an opportunity to work with real students.

After the course, you are able to teach pool and classroom sessions with indirect supervision from a current instructor. After completing the Assistant Instructor course the next step is Instructor. During the Instructor Course, you learn how to teach skills that require more control such as emergency skills in the pool and the Open Water Checkout Dives of the Open Water Course not to mention specialty programs such as Nitrox and Dive Guide.

At East Coast Divers our priority is to create¬†Comfortable, Safe, and Fun divers and instructors. That is why all of our training from the Basic Open Water course through Instructor is all done while neutrally buoyant and each student is worked with directly to address their strength and weaknesses to ensure you don’t just get an instructor card but become a confident, passionate dive instructor.

As an active status SSI Assistant Instructor you are able to teach academic and non-emergency pool skills from the Open Water Certification course along with being able to independently teach the following programs:

  • Scuba Rangers
  • Try Scuba
  • Scuba Skills Update (refresher)
  • Perfect Buoyancy

You are also eligible to become a training specialist and independently teach the following programs after specialty training:

  • Altitude Diving
  • Boat Diving
  • Computer Diving
  • Equipment Techniques
  • Navigation
  • Photo & Video
  • Science of Diving
  • Waves, Tides, & Currents

Before Class

  • Minimum age of 18
  • Diving medical signed by an MD
  • Minimum of 60 logged dives (totaling 40 hours or more)
  • Certified Divemaster
  • RECOMMENDED: Certified Nitrox (up to 40%)


  • Provide your own Total Diving System for local diving with the exception of cylinders and weight
  • Mask
  • Snorkel
  • Fins
  • BC with power inflator
  • Weight system
  • Gas delivery system with cylinder, regulator, & alternate air source
  • Information system with SPG, depth, and time (a dive computer is required)
  • Exposure suit appropriate for the environment with appropriate ballast
  • A cutting device
  • A compass (can be integrated into a dive computer)
  • A signaling device for deploying from depth (red surface marker buoy is recommended, but follow local guidelines)
  • A reel or spool (appropriate for the maximum planned depth)
  • One (1) surface signaling device (whistle or similar)
  • Logbook (physical or digital)
  • All academic sessions and online training (typically five (5) classroom sessions)
  • Minimum of 10 (10) pool/confined water skill development session of 60 minutes or more
  • Water fitness evaluation
  • Presentations & evaluations of confined water teaching skills
  • Presentation & evaluation of academic teaching skills
  • Minimum of two (2) days of Open Water or Pond work
  • Assistant Instructor final exam with a passing score of at least 90%
  • Maximum of eight (8) students per instructor

Instructor Upgrade

The SSI Instructor rating recognizes that you have the knowledge and training necessary to operate independently within an SSI facility to teach full Open Water Certification programs along with a large selection of specialty training courses including:

  • Deep Diving
  • Night Diving
  • Stress & Rescue Diving
  • Wreck Diving
  • Ice Diving
  • Sidemount Diving and other XR Technical Programs

and other unique specialties...

As an instructor, you will have reached the independent peak of a dive professional opening the door for an unlimited amount of unique styles of diving that you can now learn to teach. Whether it be Wreck diving or Cave Diving, Photography or Deep Diving, Rescue Diving or Extended Range Technical Diving, your SSI Instructor certification is your primary jumping-off point to start introducing new people to the world of scuba diving and being able to share your passion.

The Instructor Addon Course centers around training new divers and managing unpredictable environments such as during emergency skills training and Open Water training. Due to this fact, the majority of this course is spent in the pool and open water training environments.