Living The Dream: How To Become a San Jose Skydiving Instructor

Published: May 16, 2021

San Jose Skydiving Center is staffed by a team of top professional skydivers, making a living doing what they love - skydive instructing. Like anyone else, they started with a first skydive and progressed from there.

If you're thinking of taking your career to new heights and want to know what is needed to become a San Jose Skydiving instructor, read on!

Take The Leap: Your First Tandem Skydive

Step one is to get yourself in the sky. Book a tandem skydive and get your first taste of freefall. You will know as soon as you land if skydiving is for you.

Go To School: Get Your Skydiving Licence

Once you have made a tandem skydive, you can enroll in an AFF (Accelerated Freefall) course.

An AFF course involves a one-day 'ground school' that teaches you everything you need to know to begin solo skydiving and 7 'levels' (jumps) solo skydiving, accompanied by instructors.

After your levels, you continue skydiving solo to accumulate 25 jumps for your A licence.

During these jumps, you work towards your A licence proficiency card, which lists a range of skydiving safety skills. An instructor or coach teaches you these skills.

Rack Up Those Jumps

Once you hold a USPA (United States Parachute Association) A licence, you are free to start skydiving with your friends!

Enjoy these jumps, but also begin building your skills and filling out your B, C and D licence proficiency cards.

I know what you're thinking - I just did my AFF course, where am I going to find money for more jumping? The answer is packing.

You can pack parachutes for the new San Jose skydiving students and busy, experienced skydivers, and you will be paid to do so! Of course, we'll train you how!

Establish Yourself

While doing these jumps and packing, make sure you get to know everyone on the dropzone. Make yourself useful wherever you can.

There may even be other earning opportunities, such as front-office or manifest.

Establish yourself as part of the San Jose Skydiving Center team and get to know the instructors who will eventually be your mentors.

Think about what instructor ratings you want (AFF or tandem) - most full-timers have both.

Start Teaching: Become a USPA Coach

With a B licence and 100 jumps, you can attain a USPA skydiving coach rating.

You attend a Coach Certification Course, and once complete you can begin jumping with skydiving students who've completed their levels, teaching those A licence proficiency card skill.

You've taken your first big step towards being a professional skydiving instructor.

Get Artistic: Become a Freefall Photographer

Your skydiving skills have now progressed significantly. Another stream of income becomes available - tandem filming and photography.

Jump camera and get practice interacting with students and working with others in the air while making some money.

Achieve The Goal: Become a Skydiving Instructor

Whether you choose to pursue AFF or tandem instructor first, once you have 500 jumps, your C (AFF) or D (tandem) license and the appropriate proficiency card completed, you can attend USPA instructor courses to gain these ratings.

Congratulations! You have done it. You are a skydiving instructor and living the dream in just 500 jumps.

Begin Your Journey

Now that you know what's involved, does it sound like a challenge made for you?

Take the first step, book a skydive and meet the San Jose Skydiving Center team (your potential future colleagues).