What's the Salary of a Skydiving Instructor?

Research what it takes to become a skydiving instructor. Learn about salary, licensure, certification and training requirements to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Early Childhood Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Skydiving Instructor?

Skydiving instructors educate people about the safety procedures and equipment used while skydiving and teach them how to skydive safely. They teach students about concepts and maneuvers like drop zones, freefalls and canopy flights. They also cover important information concerning airplanes and landings. Skydiving instructors may teach individuals or groups of people. Skydiving instructors often jump in tandem with their students, but they may also prepare students for their own jumps. Skydiving instructors must meet all licensing requirements and meet a required number of jumps and hours of freefall. Here is an overview of training requirements and salary information:

Degree Required None required, high school diploma recommended
Training Required Recorded log of jumps, instructor training & USPA instructor exam
Licensure and Certification No formal license required; may pursue instructional rating (range A-D)
Key Skills Reading & writing for tests, ability to teach to different ages
Job Growth (2014-2024) 15%** (for self-enrichment teachers)
Salary $20-$30 per class*/ $42,350** (2015 average for self enrichment teachers

Sources: *College Foundation of North Carolina, ** U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Get Paid as a Skydiving Instructor

The College Foundation of North Carolina (CFNC) notes that skydiving instructors may draw a salary or get paid per class; however, instructors also can be paid per jump (www1.cfnc.org). Additionally, CFNC reports that wages generally depend on the qualifications of the instructor, including whether he or she holds voluntary licensure or instructional ratings, as well as the skydiving student's level of training.

Earn a Skydiving License

There are no formal licensure requirements to become a skydiving instructor. However, it might be beneficial to earn one or more instructional ratings through the United States Parachute Association (USPA). Before pursuing these ratings, you must earn your voluntary skydiving licensure, which first requires membership in the USPA (www.uspa.org).

There are four classes of skydiving licenses, which are awarded based on a skydiver's proficiency. To get a license, you must submit a log of your jumps that includes the jump number, date, location, exit altitude and length of time in free fall, as well as the distance you landed from your target, equipment you used and a signature verifying the jump. Finally, logs need to show what kind of jump it was, such as a flying, canopy formation or style jump.

Pursue Instructional Ratings

To earn an instructional rating as a skydiving instructor, you must pass an exam administered by the USPA, have an advanced skydiving license, display mastery of skydiving techniques and demonstrate teaching proficiency. There are three types of instructor positions you could hold, including coach, instructor and instructor examiner.

As an instructor, you would teach jump courses in one or more of the following areas: harness holding, assisted deployment, static line or tandem jumping. You also would oversee coaches, who could instruct students in certain jump and free fall skills while under you supervision. Instructor examiner is the pinnacle of the USPA instructional rating program. As such, you would represent the USPA regarding specific drop zones. This typically includes offering advice to skydivers and providing administrative services.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

A couple of related careers that typically require on-the-job training include fitness instructors and tour guides. Fitness instructors may lead classes that involve various exercises, stretches and strength training activities. They typically demonstrate the movement, observe their class performing the movement and correct any mistakes to ensure the safety of their students. Tour guides provide sightseers with information on places of interest. They may lead groups or individuals on tours through historic parts of cities, important buildings, galleries, museums and more. Other duties can include enforcing any site rules or giving tourists in foreign locations practical tips for enjoying the native culture.

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