What Happens on a PADI IDC?

What will you do on your PADI IDC?

If you’re thinking about becoming a PADI Instructor, it’s important to know what to expect from your PADI Instructor Development Course. 

This comprehensive course will teach you everything you need to know to become a successful instructor.

Here, we’ll discuss what happens on a PADI IDC and how it can help you achieve your career goals!

What will you do on a PADI IDC?

You’ll learn how to conduct all of the PADI core courses. This includes organising and presenting classroom knowledge, conducting confined water training sessions, and controlling open water dives. You’ll also become a better public speaker and improve your demonstrating skills while watching out for student diver safety.

A PADI IDC: What to expect

During a PADI IDC, you’ll spend time in the classroom, the pool and in open water learning about everything from dive theory to teaching techniques.

You’ll also have the opportunity to practice your skills with other people in your team.

By the end of the course, you’ll be prepared to take your PADI Instructor Exam and start teaching diving courses!

No two IDCs are the same

Every IDC is different. 
It must be different. No two IDCs are the same.

The people on it are different, locations are different and so are logistics.

I have taught well over 100 PADI IDCs over the past 20 years, and each of them had their own individual styles. 

Of course PADI Standards set the framework.

But the needs of the candidates, and the personalities of everyone around made each course unique.

So what I can say here is a very brief outline of the PADI Standards. 

During your PADI IDC there will certainly be more emphasis on some areas than others. 

Whatever the schedule, I know that you’ll have a great time, meet new lifetime friends and learn a whole new set of skills.

The First Day

On the first day, you and your fellow students will settle in the classroom, getting ready for what’s ahead. 

Your course director will try to put you at ease.

In this first session, it’s all about getting to know each other, and to find out what exactly will happen over the next week or so. 


At the very beginning, your course director will try to relax you and create a positive atmosphere. 

Everyone will get a chance to ask questions and be reassured about what’s expected of them.

You’ll be given a course schedule, assignments, learning agreements and logistical information.

You will be reminded of what equipment you’ll need, given maps and local information if you’re new to the area.

Everyone will check that they have all current materials and manuals. 

Your course director will explain the goals of the PADI IDC and of the PADI Instructor Exam.

Dive Theory and Standards Workshops

These workshops are to make sure that everyone is fully up to speed with Dive Theory and PADI Standards. 

The more prepared you are, the more study that you did  before your IDC, the easier life will be for you. 

The way this session will progress will depend heavily on how prepared the other IDC candidates are.

Work in teams

Essentially, you’ll all be working in teams, where you will act as both learner and teacher. Helping each other to understand theory and how to navigate the PADI Instructor Manual.

There are two Theory Exams, and two PADI Standards Exams that you’ll have to take during your IDC. 

You have to pass these exams with 75 pct or more. 

On your final PADI Instructor Exam, you’ll have to take these written exams again.

In my long career as a PADI course director, I would say that the number one cause of stress on a PADI IDC is lack of preparation.
Stress, frustration and sense of panic are all a result of lack of suitable preparation.  

(See my page Complete PADI IDC Preparation Course to find out how I can help you to prepare for your IDC.)

Discover Scuba Diving Workshop

Depending on where your IDC will take place, this workshop might be split over two or three days. 

After reviewing the program, the workshop comes in four parts: 

  1. Briefing skills
  2. Confined water skills
  3. Open water skills
  4. How to register participants

These are really fun workshops! You get the chance to play at being “naughty” participants, while your colleagues acting as instructor have to correct you!  

It’s a great session and helps you to be relaxed with your fellow candidates in the pool.

There’s  usually a lot of laughter involved. But the underlying message is always learnt. 

How to Schedule a PADI Open Water Course Workshop

This workshop is designed to get you to “think like an instructor.”

There are several ways to organise the components of an Open Water course. 

You will get to consider logistics, time and sequence for you and your students. 

IDC candidates are usually very familiar with the scheduling of open water courses at their own dive centre, but aren’t aware that there are several options available when teaching new students. 

Risk Management Workshop

As a group, you’ll discuss risks associated with teaching scuba. 

You’ll consider different risk management tools and insurance options. 

Knowledge Development Presentation Workshops

This is where you’ll learn how to teach in the classroom. 

You’ll find out how to determine when your students need further explanations. 

The main idea is to allow your students to realise how theory links with the practice of them actually diving.

The formula that you’ll use to build your lessons is similar to the same structure used by training agencies in all industries around the world. 

Guide to PADI IDC Preparation

Confined Water Training Workshops

There are various sessions held in both classroom and pool where you’ll learn how to teach new skills to divers.

The sessions incorporate:

  • Briefings
  • Demonstrations
  • Problem Solving
  • Organisation
  • Debriefings

There will be “dry” practice runs, and then repeated in confined water. 


You’ll get lots of practice at being Instructor, Student and Assistant.

You will conduct at least 4 training sessions with you acting as an instructor. 

You’ll learn a lot about how people react to different teaching styles. 

Most of all your level of awareness will improve as you monitor each stage of your “students” development. 

You’ll learn a lot about how people react to different teaching styles. 

Most of all your level of awareness will improve as you monitor each stage of your “students” development. 

Skill Development Workshop

Similar to your PADI Divemaster Course, you’ll have to demonstrate the same 24 skills as before, but at a slightly higher performance level. 


You’ll also have to perform a 400 metre/yard swim and a 10 minute float/survival swim.

Open Water Training Workshop

You’ll learn how to teach effectively and have control over students in open water.

You will build on what you learned during confined water workshops to progress to open water. 

You’ll teach at least 2 training sessions with you acting as an instructor. 

In open water, your level of control needs to be much higher than in the pool. 

Your awareness will increase even more. 

You will always know exactly where your assistant is, and where each of your students are. 

The IDC is certainly a wonderful course for personal development. 

Continuing Education Workshop

Here you’ll work with your fellow candidates to discuss how continuing education can help your customers reach their individual dreams. 

You’ll study the course linking and scheduling options that would help both you and your students. 

Advanced Open Water Diver Workshop

This workshop has two parts:

1) Candidates observe and participate in a role model Adventure Dive.

2) Candidates practice diver assessment and supervision for the Deep Adventure Dive.

This builds on the Open Water Diver Workshops. 

You’ll transfer the same concepts to teaching Adventure Dives.

This is a great session, because it brings all of your training closer to “real world” teaching. 


Rescue Diver Workshop

Again this builds on what you’ve learned during the Open Water Workshops and the Advanced Open Water Workshop. 

But this time concentrating on Rescue Diver Skills. 

You’ll spend time demonstrating and teaching:

Exercise 2 – Panicked Diver

Exercise 6 – Surfacing the Unresponsive Diver

Exercise 7 – Unresponsive Diver at the Surface

Maybe others too!

Sales Technique Workshop

This workshop is designed for you to be able to help you students choose the right equipment for them. 

Also help them to develop themselves by taking appropriate courses and dive trips that will further their goals. 

Close Course

The next step 

The PADI IDC is very close to my heart. 
I’ve taught many hundreds of people to become PADI Instructors. 

Many of those people have used the techniques taught in their daily lives. 

You’ll learn to create confidence in others, and how to get people to reach goals that they could only dream of. 

More information:

This might help

Prepare for your PADI IDC

Lots of helpful Articles here: PADI IDC Guide

Last modified: 10th January 2023
Author: Steve Prior