How to Become a Skydiving Instructor

December 1, 2020 3:52 pm Published by

Skydiving for a living. It is more than a pipe dream: it’s a way of life. Around the world, skydiving instructors have turned a passion they love into a feasible way to produce an income. Honestly, can you think of any job that could be cooler than becoming a skydiving instructor?

If you haven’t even made your first jump yet, this may seem like the stuff fantasies are made of, but we’ll have you know, every one of our instructors started right where you are: they were interested in skydiving and wanted to see where it could lead. Since we’ve got a bird’s eye view, here is the path you need to follow to become a skydiving instructor.

Step One: Your First Skydiving Jump

tandem skydiving

Every journey, no matter how arduous or lofty, will always begin with just one step. On your journey to becoming a skydiving instructor, your first step will be your first jump. For the majority of people, the first introduction to skydiving comes with a tandem skydive. On a tandem skydive, you are attached via a harness to an experienced skydiving instructor who will be in charge of the parachute equipment. If you have questions, ask away. Our skydiving instructors love to fan the flames when they sense someone housing a spark of passion for the sky.

A pro tip: enjoy this first time skydiving experience, it will remain a cherished memory long after you’ve attained your goal of becoming a skydiving instructor.

Step Two: Learning to Skydive

Just as your educational career was a progression from learning the alphabet and counting on your fingers to using a written form of communication and using those same numbers in increasingly complex ways, so too, will you progress as you learn to skydive. At Skydive Perris, we use a tried and true method of skydiving instruction called the Accelerated Freefall Program. The program itself consists of 7 different levels of proficiency that a student must attain. Before a student makes their first skydive in the AFF program, they will be provided with a 4-6 hour ground training and 2 flights in our indoor skydiving simulator.

Once the 7 levels are completed, the student will be cleared to skydive solo. From here the student will need to complete the following requirements to attain their A skydiving license:

  • 25 total skydives (the 7 AFF jumps, coach jumps, and any previous tandem skydives can be counted toward this requirement),
  • at least 5 coach jumps completed with a USPA certified coach to develop advanced flying skills,
  • a low altitude skydive,
  • a parachute packing class,
  • and the completion of an oral and written exam.

Step Three: Get Those Skydiving Ratings

As a new skydiver, you will have a hunger for the sport that will seem like it can never be satiated. This kind of appetite for altitude is just what you need to work toward obtaining your various skydiving licenses and instructional skydiving ratings.

Before becoming a full-fledged tandem skydiving instructor, you’ll need to build both your teaching skills and your skydiving skills. Both are achieved by attending a USPA Coach Course and earning your USPA Coach rating.

tandem instructor

Remember those coach jumps that were mentioned above as a requirement for obtaining the A skydiving license? They are each completed with an individual who has this particular instructional skydiving rating. The USPA Coach rating allows an individual to jump with non-licensed skydivers who have been cleared for self-supervision to help them develop their flight skills and prepare them for their own skydiving career! Plus, this rating is a required prerequisite for becoming a skydiving instructor.

That’s right: even after this monumental achievement, the journey isn’t over. Being a skydiving instructor is a big responsibility, and because you’ll be in charge of the well being of each tandem student you jump with, there are strict rating requirements. In order to become a tandem skydiving instructor, you will need to accrue 500 skydives, attend a tandem training course approved by the United States Parachute Association, obtain a USPA D- License, have 3 years in the sport, secure an FAA Class III Medical, and as mentioned above, obtain a USPA Coach Rating.

How long does it take to become a skydiving instructor?

We won’t lie: the journey to becoming a skydiving instructor takes time (a minimum of three years if you want to be a tandem instructor), but you won’t have to travel far. You can complete every step of your journey to becoming a skydiving instructor here at Skydive Perris. From a premier skydiving school to regularly scheduled rating courses, Skydive Perris is able to get your dreams of being a skydiving instructor off the ground and in the air.

All it takes is that first step. Book your first tandem skydive today!

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This post was written by Gabriel