Skip to Content

How Much Experience Do Skydiving Instructors Have?

Skydiving Safety

Wisconsin Skydiving Center Posted by: Wisconsin Skydiving Center 10 months ago

When it comes to jumping out of an airplane, safety and expertise are paramount. Skydiving instructors play a crucial role in ensuring the safety, comfort, and quality of experience of each jumper. They guide students through their first jumps, provide skydiving training, and share their vast knowledge and passion for the sport of skydiving. But have you ever wondered just how much experience these skydiving instructors have? Let’s open the door to the world of pursuing a career path in skydiving and explore what it takes to become a skydiving instructor.

How Much Experience Do Skydiving Instructors Have?

Being a skydiving instructor is a huge responsibility. They’re in charge of the well-being and safety of each student they jump with and, as such, there are extremely strict rating requirements. Considering that the journey to becoming a skydiving instructor takes a minimum of three years, most tandem skydiving instructors have at least 1,000 jumps under their belt already, hours of freefall/canopy time, and expertise in teaching others how to skydive.

How to Become a Skydiving Instructor

Becoming a skydiving instructor is not a journey that one takes lightly – it requires dedication to the sport, whole-hearted commitment to safety, and a willingness to continuously improve and advance the sport. Here are the steps to becoming a skydiving instructor:

Step #1: Jump!

The path to becoming a skydiving instructor starts at jump number one! Yep, that’s right. Every single instructor has been a student and has had a first-time skydiving experience. 

Step #2: Get Licensed

Somewhere along an instructor’s journey, they decided to pursue their own skydiving license in order to jump solo. Here are the requirements for becoming an A-licensed skydiver according to the United States Parachute Association (USPA):

  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • 25 total skydives
  • Completed, signed, and stamped USPA A License Proficiency Card
  • 5 group freefall skydives involving at least two participants
  • Pass written and oral exams

Step #3: Start Coaching

Once a budding skydiver has at least 100 jumps and a USPA B license, they can attend a USPA Coach Course and earn the USPA Coach Rating. Coaches are able to assist students through some of the jumps required to get a skydiving license. This rating also acts as a prerequisite for becoming a skydiving instructor. (See where we’re going here?) 

Step #4: Choose A Path – AFFI/TI

From here, instructors can decide if they’d like to teach people how to skydive and become an Accelerated Freefall Instructor (AFFI) or, head straight to a Tandem Instructor (TI) and take first timers on a life-changing journey. Aspiring instructors attend an AFFI Rating Course to become an AFFI and a Tandem Instructor Rating Course to become a Tandem Instructor. It’s not necessary to have an AFFI rating to pursue a TI rating, however, there are some Tandem Instructors who are also AFFIs.

To achieve a Tandem Instructor rating, a skydiver must have:

  • Made at least 50 skydives in the last year
  • Earned the USPA Coach Rating
  • Logged a minimum of 500 jumps
  • Achieved the USPA D License
  • Been skydiving for at least 3 years
  • Completed and passed an FAA Class III Medical

How Much Does it Cost to Become a Skydiving Instructor?

The cost of becoming a skydiving instructor can vary widely depending on a few factors, such as the skydiving training center, the location, and the specific training program. The cost to earn the basic skydiving license ranges anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000, or more. This includes costs for instruction, jumps, gear, training materials, and USPA membership fees.

Earning the USPA Coach Rating requires completion of a multi-day USPA Coach Course which typically costs $300-$400. The AFFI Rating Course is usually six or so days and can cost upwards of $700-$800. The TI Rating Course can cost around $600 and typically lasts four days. Some courses include the jump tickets necessary to perform required jumps, some do not. When selecting a rating course, it’s wise to ask about associated costs and fees.

Can You Make a Living Off of Skydiving?

If you’ve been skydiving before, you know how intriguing it is! From bodyflight to canopy flight, skydiving comes with an insatiable appetite to learn more! Every skydiving instructor has a story. For many of us at Wisconsin Skydiving Center, skydiving was a life-changing experience that connected us to our higher purpose. Luckily, pursuing a career in skydiving is totally possible – we’re living proof! 

How much skydiving instructors make is based on several factors, including which ratings they have, their location, and how often they jump. Most dropzones pay their instructors per jump, and instructors often receive tips on top of that. A good tip for a skydiving instructor is between $10 and $20, but there is no minimum or maximum; students give whatever they feel their service was worth. Smiles and reviews that shout out an instructor by name go a long way too. Being a skydiving instructor is incredibly rewarding — what can we say, we love what we do!

How Much Experience Does Wisconsin Skydiving Center Have?

At Wisconsin Skydiving Center, we engage only the most passionate and dedicated team members. Most of our instructors have at least 1,000 jumps, some more than 4,000, and another has logged over 17,000 jumps. Combined, we have over 30,000 jumps and almost 100 years of experience! The fire in our bellies and our passion for the sport is inextinguishable — there’s nothing better than sharing the gift of human flight with others.

Have more questions? Contact us. Ready to begin your path to being a skydiving instructor?? Log your very first jump, enroll in our skydiving training program, or start earning ratings at Wisconsin Skydiving Center! Blue skies.