Being a full-time skydiving instructor is the dream gig, but it doesn’t come as easy as you may think! Being a skydiving instructor means getting paid to be a certified badass, but it also means working hard, having exceptional communication skills, and a true passion for exposing others to the sport. Let’s jump into what it takes to be a good skydiving instructor, what the tandem instructor course entails, and what the skydiving instructor's salary is.
First things first, you need to get your skydiving license. Most skydiving centers offer a skydive training program called Accelerated Free Fall (AFF), which is used as a comprehensive student progression program to introduce newcomers to the sport safely and efficiently.
AFF instructors are responsible for introducing novices to the sport on the ground through pre-jump training and in the sky, by holding onto them during freefall and talking them down via radio to land their canopy. AFF instructors are superheroes!
There are four skydiving licenses, A, B, C, and D, which are issued through the United States Parachute Association (USPA). A tandem instructor must first achieve each license, and finally the D-license (the most difficult one to earn!) before applying for the tandem instructor course. The D-license requirements are listed below:
Getting your D-license is tough work! A tandem instructor is a professional skydiver who can’t even think about getting their tandem instructor rating before completing the above requirements.
You’ve made it to the fun part – congrats! After achieving your D-license, it’s time to hit the books and get a taste of the tandem instructor life. Potential tandem instructors are required to take a course through the USPA. This course is designed to teach the new instructors how to take passengers on their first tandem skydives and learn how to operate the tandem parachute system, which is slightly different from the one used by solo jumpers. What credentials must they have before taking the course?
Tandem instructors must:
During the Tandem Instructor Course, new instructors will take “students” (who are actually instructors) on practice tandem jumps. The “students” will do everything they can to test the skills of the new instructor, which conditions them to be able to handle any and every situation when they start skydiving with real first-time students.
Yep, skydiving can 100% be made into a career! How much a skydive instructor makes is usually dependent on which rating(s) they hold and where in the world they are. How much do skydiving instructors earn in the USA? Well, it depends. Each region's economy is a bit different and therefore salaries vary. We can assure you that here at Skydive Danielson we only employ the best of the best and pay our staff sufficiently.
If you're interested in getting your USPA A-license and starting your journey to become an instructor, check out our Learn To Skydive page! If you have yet to make your tandem jump and are ready to take the leap, check out our step-by-step guide to know what to expect. We can’t wait to have you!