Open Water Instructor

The A-1/SSI Open Water Instructor Course

Congratulations on your interest to become an Open Water Scuba Instructor. There’s nothing more exciting and gratifying than sharing your love of the water and passion for diving with others.

The combined experience of our decades of training thousands of divers, a team of Instructor Trainers, and state-of-the-art dive center are unprecedented in the Rocky Mountain Region.

This course is simply an extension of what you learned in your Assistant Instructor Course or leadership training from another recognized training agency. We will continue developing your abilities as a professional dive educator, improve your knowledge of the SSI system of diver education, and prepare you for the grand finale…….. the Instructor Evaluation (IE).

Just relax, focus on learning exciting information, and fine-tuning your diving skills. Yes, you’re even allowed to have lots of fun! Are you ready to begin?

The following information details the many exciting aspects of our Instructor Course.

What You’ll Learn

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  • Orientation session – Introductions, course overview, documentation requirements, and establishing a schedule
  • Academic Classroom Presentations
    • The Open Water Diver Program
    • Open Water Instructor Specialties
    • Diver Stress and Rescue and Dive Guide
    • The Business of Diving
    • Your Career with SSI
  • Pool Session Evaluations
    • Water fitness evaluation (if not current within six (6) months)
    • Academic presentations including Enriched Air Nitrox or Diver Stress and Rescue, and Dive Guide
    • Confined Water presentations including Open Water Diver Emergency Skills and Diver Stress and Rescue
    • Open Water Diver skills evaluation
    • Diver Stress and Rescue Workshop
  • The Open Water Evaluation will be conducted at the Denver Downtown Aquarium and includes:
    • Dive Briefing, Dive Guiding, and Rescue Evaluation


Click to view prerequisites

  • Minimum age: 18 years old
  • Logged at least 75 open water dives totaling 50 hours or more
  • Have the Enriched Air Nitrox 40 certification, or equivalent from a recognized training agency
  • Be an active status SSI Assistant Instructor, or hold an equivalent rating from a recognized training agency

Requirement for Completion

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  • Submit completed documents provided by your Instructor Trainer
  • Log at least 100 open water dives totaling 65 hours or more
  • Read and complete all sections, including reviews and assessments, from the Instructor Training Course digital learning materials
  • Complete all academic sessions as outlined in the instructor manual for the Instructor Training Course
  • Complete the Candidate Water Fitness Evaluation as outlined in the SSI Training Standards, if it has been more than six (6) months since the candidate has been evaluated
  • Pass all requirements and evaluations as outline in the instructor manual for the Instructor Training Course

Open Water Instructors are Authorized to

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In addition to the programs taught by active status Assistant Instructors, insured Open Water Instructors may teach, supervise, and issue certifications for the following programs:

  • Basic Diver
  • Referral Diver
  • Indoor Diver
  • Scuba Diver
  • Open Water Diver
  • Experienced Diver Test
  • Advanced Adventurer
  • Diver Stress & Rescue
  • Enriched Air Nitrox
  • Dive Guide
  • NOTE:  qualified Instructors are able to become Aquarium Dive Guides

Course Fee – $1200

Click to see inclusions and exclusions


  • ITC digital kit (chapters 7-10 of the instructor manual)
  • Orientation session
  • (1) Open Water Dive at the Denver Downtown Aquarium
  • (6) active learning sessions
  • All pool sessions
  • Open water diver instructor e-kit
  • Advanced Adventurer instructor e-kit
  • Enriched Air Instructor e-kit
  • Diver Stress & Rescue Instructor e-kit
  • Dive Guide instructor e-kit
  • Use of tanks and weights


  • Personal diving equipment
  • Pro Presentation Kit (6’x8″ slate, pencil, and retractor)
  • Surface Marker Buoy
  • SSI one-time registration fee unless previously paid
  • Annual Membership renewal fee
  • Professional liability insurance
  • First Aid, CPR, and Oxygen First Aid
  • SSI Instructor Evaluation (IE) There is a separate fee for the IE

2024 Dates – Please call to register for the FREE orientation (303) 789-2450

  • June/July – Orientation May 23

  • November/December – Orientation October 17

Orientation begins at 6 pm.  Course dates will be determined on student availability.

PLEASE NOTE: NO fee is required to attend the orientation but you must call (303) 789-2450 to register you for the orientation. It includes an overview of the course, Q&A, and a discussion of the course schedule.

Instructor Evaluation (IE)…… the grand finale!

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The Instructor Evaluation (IE) is a two-day evaluative program conducted by an SSI Instructor Evaluator who evaluates the instructor candidate’s teaching ability, dive theory knowledge, skill level, and understanding of the SSI System. IEs are internationally standardized and conducted by specially trained SSI Instructor Evaluators. The IE location, testing environment, and examination sessions are organized to be as objective as possible to fairly and consistently evaluate a candidate’s abilities. Only those who meet the IE performance requirements earn the respected SSI Instructor certification.

NOTE: The fee for the IE is determined by the Instructor Evaluator 

  • Upon completion of the Instructor Training Course, candidates may participate in an Instructor Evaluation. The Instructor Evaluation must be conducted within six (6) months of the completion of the Instructor Training Course.
  • If it has been more than six (6) months, an Instructor Trainer will need to conduct a reevaluation to determine if the candidate still has proficient knowledge and skills before attending an Instructor Evaluation.
  • Candidates must pass all requirements and evaluations listed in the instructor manual for the Instructor Evaluation
  • Candidates must complete a final exam with a passing score of 90%
  • There is a separate fee for the IE paid directly to the Evaluator
  • There is a separate $100 registration and processing fee paid directly to SSI
  • Does not include transportation, location entry fee, lodging, and meals
  • IMPORTANT NOTE Before the final Open Water Instructor certification can be issued the following (current) documents must be uploaded to your MySSI account Document Manager
  1. RSTC Diver Medical/Participant Questionnaire signed by a physician (MD or DO) within (1) year
  2. Proof of CPR training within (2) years
  3. Proof of First Aid training within (2) years
  4. Proof of Oxygen First Aid training within (2) years

PLEASE NOTE:  A-1 is proud to be able to host the IE.  There is a separate “facilities fee” which includes the use of the classroom, pool usage (tanks/weights), and the open water evaluation dive at the Denver Downtown Aquarium.  The fee is subject to change.  

And Finally…..

Soon you will become a mentor to divers ranging from beginner through the instructor level. Your actions, attitude, knowledge, sense of professional pride, and strong desire to be the best of the best will have an ever-lasting effect on them.

The key to your success is to come prepared and willing to learn new information, techniques, and procedures. Our job is to guide you through this comprehensive and highly effective course and help you succeed.

There’s no greater feeling than the moment you become an Open Water Instructor. You have a great deal of work ahead but the satisfaction, enjoyment, and rewards are well worth the effort. Get ready for what some call, a “life-changing experience.”

Sign Up Now

Please call (303) 789-2450 to register.

Please note: Cancelling less than one week before the starting date will result in a forfeit of your deposit