Six diving students from The College of the Florida Keys have advanced from the role of student to instructor. Each successfully passed the Professional Association of Dive Instructors (PADI) Instructor Examination (IE) in December, certifying them as open water scuba instructors. The PADI IE is a two-day evaluative program conducted by a visiting PADI employee who tests an instructor candidate’s teaching ability, dive theory knowledge, skill level, understanding of the PADI System, and attitude and professionalism. With PADI certification, widely considered the gold standard in the diving industry, these new diving instructors will be qualified for attractive diving professional jobs around the world— teaching people how to scuba dive. 

In addition to earning the respected industry certification, five of the six students also graduated with a CFK Professional Dive Instructor college credit certificate. They were aided in their endeavor by Rapid Credential grants, a state-wide initiative to help individuals, particularly those negatively impacted by the pandemic, quickly train for a career. The grants, which covered tuition, course fees, textbooks, and testing costs, were funded by the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Fund. Those students earned the following industry certifications as well: Divers Alert Network (DAN) diving emergency management provider instructor, PADI Divemaster, PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor, Emergency First Response (EFR) primary, secondary, and care for children with AED instructor certification.  Back row L to R: course staff instructor Curtiss Carter, CFK marine science faculty Angelo “Jason” Spadaro, students Christy “Hannah” Fry, Skylar Saxon, and Madeline Ticer.   Front row L to R: Students Kim Platt, Daniel Metz, course director John Miller, course staff instructor and CFK dive faculty Lucja Rice, and PADI instructor examiner John Land.