UTD Instructor Development

Thank you for considering joining our UTD Instructor Family. Becoming a UTD Instructor is definitely one of the most exciting journeys that you will undertake, however it is extremely challenging. To properly prepare you to teach the UTD educational curriculum in a consistent manner we require that everyone, no matter what previous instructor rating they may have, take a core level class called UTD Instructor Development Class (IDC) and then be evaluated by our Training Advisory Board (TAB).

Upon completion of this process - UTD IDC plus evaluation by the TAB, you will become either a UTD Open Water Instructor or a UTD Foundational Instructor and will be able to teach within the TAB recommendations. As a UTD Open Water Instructor you can then start to upgrade within the recreational category to achieve a full UTD Foundational Instructor rating. Only a full UTD Foundational Instructor can move up to upper level categories such as technical, cave, wreck or rebreather instructor. This is achieved by taking a UTD Technical, Cave, Wreck and/or Rebreather IDC. Below is a discussion of the IDC process:

A message to you from our UTD Instructor Family:

  • We are dedicated to teaching divers to become "Thinking Team Members."
  • We are always introducing divers to the latest UTD/DIR methodology, philosophy and skills
  • We have the best Instructor materials ever produced including a full "Playbook" covering every class and skill.
  • We work with the highest set of Standards and Procedures in the industry.
  • We are leaders in the scuba community and belong to an ever growing community of UTD/DIR divers.
  • We are supported by UTD Headquarters which responds quickly and effectively to our students and to our teaching needs.
  • We are supported with a full and comprehensive set of materials (Online and Printed for our students.
  • We are building future explorers for UTD Projects and Adventures
  • Most importantly, we have fun teaching and diving.


The Complete Process

To begin your UTD IDC journey you must first ensure that you meet the prerequisites* as listed below. Then you must complete each of the following steps: 

  1. An Interview with one of the the following: a UTD Instructor Trainer or UTD HQ (contact us)
  2. Have taken any UTD class - UTD IDC Prep is preferred however UTD Essentials or higher is acceptable
  3. Purchase and Study your Online Course Materials and Online Academics 
  4. Register online for your Instructor Development Class (IDC) event and choose Open Water or Foundational Instructor
  5. Attend the UTD IDC event and receive a recommendation from the Instructor Trainer (IT)  
  6. Get a final TAB Evaluation and Recommendation
  7. Start your teaching adventure :)


More Information

Prerparing for the IDC

Although you will do much of the preparation for the IDC on your own, we are available at any time to guide you, answer questions, and talk about the programs. You will complete the online classroom programs and tests for each class you plan on teaching. You'll study our Standards and Procedures and Instructor Operations Manual. Then you'll explore our Instructor Playbook.

The Playbook is the heart of the UTD instructor materials. This document describes, in great detail, how to teach critical skills at the various levels. The book outlines how those skills are applied to each UTD certification class and include the methodology on simulating failures, instructor positioning during critical skill training, and the expected student outcome of each simulated failure.

Attached to the playbook are hours of video that describe in detail how to teach dry runs - personal and critical skills taught on the surface. We also have a private group on the UTD website that offers a discussion forum and a private shopping cart for instructor materials.



IDC Prerequisites:

The prerequisites to become a UTD Open Water or Foundational Instructor are Divemaster with any recognized training agency, proof of 200 non training dives and at least UTD IDC Prep or Ess of Rec / Tech or any other upper level UTD class. A full list of prerequisites can be found in the UTD Standards and Procedures

  1. Must meet UTD General Course Prerequisites as outlined in Section 1.6.
  2. Must be a minimum age of 19 years of age.
  3. Must be able to swim at least 425 yards/ 400 meters in less than 14 minutes without stopping.
  4. Must be able to swim a distance of at least 70 feet/21 meters on a breath hold.
  5. Divemaster certification with a recognized certification agency.
  6. Rescue class, or equivalent
  7. First Aid, CPR, and AED/O2 within past two years
  8. UTD IDC Prep or UTD Essentials of Rec / Tech or any other upper level UTD class 
  9. Complete the UTD IDC Registration Module
  10. Smoking is not permitted during any training activity. 
  11. Show results from any completed PFO test. PFO test are recommended but not mandated.
  12. If a PFO exists, it must be repaired and the instructor cleared by a physician for Technical Diving.

IDC Prep

This is a personal skills class that prepares you for the UTD IDC. This is only needed if you have not taken a UTD Essentials of Rec/Tech/Side Mount or any other upper level UTD class.  The three-day class covers how we teach buoyancy, trim, propulsion, basic-6, s-drills, valve drills, and smb deployment. All these skills are taught at demonstration level. The class also goes through proper weighting, how to dive a 'balanced rig,' Min-Deco ascent strategies, and Rock Bottom gas planning. Cost is approximately $450 plus $99 for online course materials (materials are included if the UTD IDC package is purchased first). If a candidate's personal skills are at the UTD IDC Prep level via prior training and practice, this step may be skipped with permission of the Instructor Trainer teaching the IDC. 

Homestudy Classroom Materials Prep Module

Review of all student materials supplied in the Open Water or Foundational category, including Open Water, Rec 1, 2, 3, Essentials, Nitrox, Rescue, Dry Suit. 

Homestudy Academic Module

This is an online program comprised of approximately 16 hours of video that address UTD's teaching philosophy, ethos, Standards and Procedures, Playbook, and much more. 

In-Person Instructor Development Class (IDC)

These IDC's are held worldwide and consists of a 3 to 5 day in-water IDC depending on level. Your instructor trainer (IT) with work with you to develop your ability to lecture, present dry runs, conduct in water teaching, and evaluate your students. 

UTD Training Advisory Board (TAB) Final Evaluation. 

At the conclusion of the IDC, your instructor trainer will post additional videos of you giving one classroom lecture, one dry run, and one teaching event to the Training Advisory Board for final evaluation. 

Instructor Development Class (IDC) Options 

Recreational 1 (Open Water) Instructor Development Class

UTD's Rec 1 / Open Water) IDC is an entry level instructor development course that prepares the candidate to teach the UTD Open Water curriculum. Upon completion and passing the Training Advisory Board evaluation, the candidate becomes a UTD  Open Water Rec 1 Instructor and can teach within the TAB recommendations.

Foundational Instructor Development Class

UTD's Foundational IDC is the highest level instructor development course within the recreational category and prepares the candidate  to teach UTD's ESM, ZUBA and Rec 1 (Open Water ), Rec 2 (Advanced), Rec 3 (Master), Essentials of Recreational curriculum. This IDC prepares the candidate for evaluation by the UTD Training Advisory Board. Once completed and passed the evaluation, the candidate becomes a full UTD Foundational Instructor and can teach within the TAB recommendations. The UTD Foundational Instructor can then start to upgrade to one of the upper level categories by taking the Technical, Trimix, Cave, Wreck, and/or Rebreather IDC's.


Side Mount

Side Mount diving is becoming wildly popular among recreational open water divers, advanced technical divers, cave divers and wreck divers because it offers the best of all worlds. Your IDC can be conducted in side mount or back mount. If you take your IDC in side mount, you will need a back mount endorsement to teach in back mount, and visa versa.


Back Mount diving is the most common configuration for recreational open water divers, advanced technical divers, cave divers and wreck divers. If you take your IDC in back mount, you will need a side mount endorsement to teach in side mount, and visa versa.

UTD Instructor Development Class Package Costs

The below prices are for your UTD Instructor Development Course and include registration, online materials, online academics, first year instructor membership and IT fees. The only thing they DO NOT include are ​any relevant travel expenses​​​.

IDC Prices

  • UTD Rec 1 (Open Water) Instructor - $1000
  • UTD Foundational Instructor - $2100
  • Side mount or back mount endorsement - $475
  • Upgrade from Open Water Instructor to full Foundational Instructor - $1500

Moving Forward:

  • Instructor Trainer (Foundational/Tech/Cave/Rebreather) - $1000 each plus $350 Materials
  • Technical Instructor - $1000 plus $350 Materials
  • Rebreather Instructor - $1500 plus $350 Materials
  • Cave Instructor - $1000 plus $350 Materials
  • Wreck Instructor - $1000 plus $350 Materials

Note: As a policy, because the upper level IDC's are generally taught with real students, the tuition fees may be waived if the instructor candidates provide full paying students in their IDC upgrade. 

If you are interested in learning more about becoming a UTD Instructor, please let us know. We look forward to talking with you.