What would you say if we were to tell you, you could skydive for a living? It’s alright if you pause to wonder if we are off our rockers, but it’s not as crazy of an idea as it may seem. All across the world, hundreds of people have chosen to “cut-away” from their day jobs to become professional skydivers. Now that we have your attention and your interest, allow us to explain the trajectory from everyday joe to a standout with a career as a professional skydiver.
The majority of people are introduced to the wide-open world of skydiving by a tandem skydive. This first jump will help you see if that single leap of faith is enough to last you a lifetime or if you’d like to explore the world of skydiving and body flight even more! Your foray with skydiving doesn’t have to end after your first tandem skydive. In fact, it could be step one on a long and rewarding journey to becoming a professional skydiver.
Before you learn to run, you’ve got to learn to walk. Similarly, you have to learn to skydive before you can become a professional skydiver! Your Accelerated Free Fall progression will teach you the fundamental skills you will need to master to become a licensed skydiver. Among other free fall skills, you’ll learn how to maintain a stable body position, how to exit the aircraft, how to adjust your fall rate, and how to handle emergency procedures should they arise. To progress from Accelerated Free Fall student status to a licensed skydiver, you’ll need to accrue 25 total skydives and complete a few objectives.
The Coach rating is the first instructional rating a skydiver can receive. The coach rating serves as an introductory instructional rating. To qualify for the Coach rating, a candidate must have earned a USPA B License and completed at least 100 jumps. To actually receive the rating, the jumper must satisfactorily complete a USPA Coach Rating Course. During the course, a candidate will need to complete both a written evaluation and satisfactorily complete two evaluation jumps.
An individual with a Coach rating can conduct training in the non-method-specific portions of the skydiving ground school, like equipment familiarization and basic canopy control. The skydive Coach rating enables a skydiver to provide freefall skills training and complete jumps with students cleared by a USPA instructor and clears them to train and supervise certain skills within the Integrated Student Progression. In our program, coaches are provided compensation for each jump with a student they complete.
To begin training with a camera set up a skydiver needs to accrue 200 skydives. And we promise you the effort is well worth it. Skydiving videographers can make a fair amount of money in a variety of ways. Some skydiving videographers specialize in capturing the experiences of first-time skydivers. Others enter into the national and international competition circuit to film skydiving teams. With enough training, skill, and gumption videographers may even go on to be used to capture aerial footage for media ranging from commercials to major motion pictures.
Though other steps on the journey have a concrete number attached to them, the instructional rating to teach others to skydive is slightly different. In order to receive your AFF rating, you need to have a USPA C License. The minimum requirement for this license is 200 skydives. The additional requirements established by the USPA are if you haven’t held your USPA Coach rating for at least 12 months, you’ll need to have at least 500 jumps to attain this instructional rating. As with the Coach Rating, an AFF rating candidate will need to attend a rating course, pass both a written evaluation and satisfactorily complete evaluation jumps.
Once you have your AFF rating, you can begin to train and jump with student skydivers beginning their journey developing the next generation of skydivers. Instructors are compensated by dropzones for each AFF jump they complete.
The most lucrative position at many dropzones is that of a Tandem Instructor. The cool thing about choosing to be a Tandem Instructor as your skydiving profession is that, in part, your career is built around introducing the adventure of a lifetime to first-time skydivers. Because of the growing demand for Tandem Instructors, your position can open up opportunities around the world!
The role of a Tandem Instructor carries with it some serious responsibility. This is why pre-requisites to receive the rating require candidates to have a significant amount of experience. Candidates must have earned a USPA D License, must have held any of the other USPA instructional ratings, have logged 500 skydives, and have a minimum of three years experience in skydiving.
“Professional skydiver” might not have been an option at your local career fair, but it is a career that can literally take you to new heights. Plus, it gets even better because Skydive Orange has everything you need to pursue a career as a professional skydiver! We’ve got you covered from your first jump as a tandem skydiver, through your Accelerated Freefall progression, and we even regularly offer rating courses to help you pursue your goals.
Want to know more about becoming a professional skydiver? Just give us a call today!
The largest tandem skydiving center near Northern Virginia, Washington D.C. and Maryland.