This should be a short guide to help you find the right Instructor for you. Of course there is only one way to make 100% sure and that is by actually meeting the instructor personally and/or taking a course but still there are a couple of considerations that can be used for pre-selection. I can guarantee you for example that I am not the right choice for every body =)
Seek the Expert:
You should look for somebody that is doing the kind of diving you want to learn, in their spare time so you know they are up to date with their information and skill. They should dive regularly at a higher level as the level they will teach to you to be able to guarantee your safety as well as have additional information to show you what comes next.
What is his/her specialty:
When you start to look into advanced training you will find in part Instructors with very advanced careers, meaning that they are Instructors and Instructor Trainers in many different areas. This means in the same time though that they will not be able to spent equal time amongst all their areas of expertise.
Don’t let the Plastic Cards fool you:
Once you have reached a certain level as Instructor in this industry different training organizations will offer you fast ways through their systems or easy crossovers in order that you chose them over others. Like this sometimes inexperienced Instructors turn up with many cards from different organizations and appear to be very experienced, when in fact they are not. Plus there are always Instructor Trainers that will simplify training programs or make Instructor ratings faster attainable to gather further Instructor candidates. This sometimes creates Instructors that will use the same approach when it comes to teaching students. With dive training as with many other things in life, what you put in is what you will get out. Be sceptical with “easy and cheap” training programs.
Train with different Instructors:
Most people will stick to the same Instructor once they found one they like or look up too. In my opinion this is a mistake. Everybody has different point of views, experiences and styles. By switching instructors you will get much more input and different ideas, especially if it is about the same type of diving.
Where do you want to go:
Try to have a realistic idea about where you want go with your diving and make sure that the experience of the Instructor is covering it so you can already get the information and skills required to get you there.
Where do you want to dive:
In what area are you going to dive or do you plan to dive one day. Of course nobody has been in every single place you will possibly visit but your Instructor should have experience in your main destinations or similar conditions. Like this, he or she can inform you of local standards and procedures.
Ask other students:
Try to get in touch with former students to find something out about the atmosphere during the course, logistics and the character of the Instructor.
Contact the Instructor:
After all your research is done, contact the Instructor and find out for yourself. It is the best way to get an idea about his or her personality and see if it works for yours.
This is more or less the way I choose an Instructor when I am thinking about doing a course and I hope it helps you finding the right one for you.