If you are passionate about the future of BSAC training and want to make a contribution to our worldwide diving organisation at the highest level you may want to take your instructing skills further by becoming a BSAC National Instructor, the fourth of BSAC’s instructor levels.
You will work and dive with the most talented divers within the organisation, make friendships that last a lifetime and have some amazing experiences along the way.
For me this was the ultimate challenge in my instructor journey with BSAC. To be pushed to my limits by the many faces that had taught me to dive and teach, actually felt a very special honour.
The most important lesson learnt is to keep smiling, we do this for fun!
- Adrian Collier, National Instructor 257
National Instructor Exam candidates should already be active Instructor Trainers, having worked on Instructor Foundation Courses, Open Water Instructor Courses, attended an Instructor Trainer Development Course and examined on Practical Instructor Exams and Theory Instructor Exams.
You will have to demonstrate the highest level of theory knowledge, organisational and personal diving skills and be an excellent teacher and Instructor Trainer, above and below the water, being a leader and team player in turn.
To enrol you must be an Advanced Instructor, a BSAC First Class Diver, be an Instructor Trainer and you must have a Pass or Merit grade in the First Class Diver theory exam, gained within the past three years.
The National Instructor qualification is awarded following success in the National Instructor Exam, a demanding and challenging four-day event teaching and diving at everything up to First Class Diver level. This national event is usually held at a coastal location in July or August each year.
The action-packed preparation programme for the National Instructor Exam includes five national prep events, each held once a year. These events are run with a workshop format to develop and progress skills.
- Your first step is to attend the National Instructor Exam Introduction event, which will explain all the elements of the exam. You will also have the opportunity to meet other candidates who, like you, are thinking of taking the exam within the next few years, and the National Instructor Team, who will support the preparation events and be your examiners. This two-day event is usually held in October or November.
- Your second step is to attend the National Instructor Pool Preparation event, which focuses on improving your Instructor Trainer skills. The event consists of classroom and pool sessions led by the candidates, e.g. you will present an Instructor Foundation Course practical demonstration and will be teaching and coaching as if you were tutoring on an IFC. Other elements of the NIE will also be covered, such as the Dry Practical Session and you will actively participate in these. You will receive plenty of feedback and coaching to improve your instructor trainer performance and will practice coaching others at this level. This two-day event is usually held in January.
- Your third step is to attend the National Instructor Open Water Preparation event. This event reviews the open-water elements of the National Instructor exam at a sheltered water site. It will give you the opportunity to improve your skills as an Instructor Trainer on Open Water Instructor events and to practice coaching others at this level. You will also present a demonstration lesson as if on the Open Water Instructor Course. This weekend will also cover other elements, such as the Practical Rescue Scenario Session, which you will plan, lead and run. You will receive coaching and feedback from other candidates as well as the NI Preparation Instructor Team. This two-day event is usually held in March/April.
Your final steps on the journey towards becoming a National Instructor involve having some opportunities to go boat diving.
- A National Instructor Small Boat Preparation event, usually planned and organised by candidates to practice teaching and coaching from boats run by the candidates, as if tutoring students at Advanced Instructor or First Class Diver level. You will receive feedback and coaching from experienced National Instructors. This two-day event at a coastal site usually takes place in May or June.
- A National Instructor Skippered Boat Preparation event, again usually planned and organised by candidates and , usually happens at the exam venue, using the same boat as for the exam. The aim is to enjoy going diving with a very competent team and to take the opportunity to practice and coach each other at First-Class-Diver-level on the skills associated with adventurous and project-oriented diving, supported and coached by experienced National Instructors. This two or three -day event is usually organised by the candidates in May or June.
National Instructors are very important to BSAC as they are the people who bring forward new courses and help adapt to technical developments in our sport. They also play an important role in diver training by organising BSAC Instructor Training and developing others as Instructor Trainers. As a National Instructor, you will have the chance to progress to teaching and examining on both Advanced Instructor and First Class events.
You can join the National Instructor preparation programme by submitting a National Instructor Exam Preparation Registration form to the National Instructor Chief Examiner by email.
To qualify as a National Instructor you will need to have applied to take the National Instructor exam in any year by 31 March.
There is no course fee for NI-related prep events, although you will need to cover your share of any food, accommodation, boat-related expenses and diving gas. If you meet the criteria for the National Instructor Exam, BSAC will pay your previously agreed travelling expenses, in accordance with the Expenses guidelines.
Your next steps
As a National Instructor you will be ready to take an active part in the development of our sport, working within BSAC at the highest levels. You can help to ensure the safety and the quality of all of the training offered though BSAC’s extensive instructor base, enjoying working and diving with friends on a wide variety of events worldwide.