Choosing the right scuba diving school often comes down to a lack of choice in your area or pot luck if their are several to choose from. As with most things nowadays word of mouth recommendations and online reviews can play a large part in your decision making.
The first rule of thumb is that ‘ All that glitters is not gold!’ What we mean by this is that just because a dive school has a great website it does not necessarily mean they are the best choice for you. Conversely some independent dive schools can offer a great learning environment with excellent instructors, but there online presence may not look so good.
For example, when I was learning to dive I was with 2 different dive instructors/ shops before I settled with Abysub in Fuengirola. Adrian, the owner, is Argentinian and speaks excellent English but his advertising and website at the time was only in Spanish and a little amateurish (no offence Adrian). What I discovered is that he loved to dive and to teach diving. Running the business wasn’t just a job, it was what he wanted to do and trust me that is a rare thing to find.
I have seen clients who scraped through their diving exam only to be asked by Adrian to resit the exam (at no extra cost) because although they had passed, he was not happy. He wants all of his divers to really understand what is going on and how things work. The more serious divers would happily resit the exam as they recognized the professional levels which were expected. Others just got their ticket and moved on.
Some of the dive schools you will come across are basically conveyor belts for making as much money as is possible in a season. These operations may look great but can be staffed by less dedicated personnel simply looking for an easy life in a warm climate.
We certainly do not wish to tar every company with same brush, just that you understand how important it is to decide who is going to train you as ultimately you are putting your life in their hands.
The only way to find the right scuba dive school that meets your criteria is to research online, read reviews and speak to other divers.