I want to work abroad for a year. What is the total cost to become a PADI certified instructor?

Impossible to answer. From what level? And do you mean including living costs while you do the courses?

I would estimate that I spent about 5000-6000 GBP total on dive gear, travel costs, living costs, course material costs (manuals, slates, etc.), and course/exam/certification fees to get from being a BSAC Novice diver via BSAC Sport Diver and PADI Rescue/DM to PADI OWSI. It’s difficult to say exactly how much, because I did it over 6 years (1993-99) and 3 countries (UK, Egypt, Australia).

My first full set of dive gear (M/F/S, suit/boots/gloves, BCD, regulator+gauges, weights, knife, compass, reel+buoy) cost me about 800 GBP in 1993-6 (but that’s what student grants are for, right?). I bought a cylinder in 1997 for about 120 GBP, and a nitrox dive computer in 1999 for 900 AU$ (360 GBP in 1999).

I spent about 1200 US$ (about 800 GBP in 1998) on a Rescue Diver/DM package (including 5 weeks’ equipment rental at 10 US$ per day, because I was backpacking and hadn’t brought my own gear with me) plus food and rent.

Notwithstanding the 1000 GBP or so for the return flight to Aus, the IDC and IE alone cost me about 3000 AU$ in fees and materials (about 1200 GBP in 1999), and I’m not sure how much more went on living expenses (hostel accommodation in exchange for cleaning duties, plus food+beer costs).

So, a lot of cash — but I don’t regret any of it. It was money well spent, and I would be in a quite different position today if I had not spent it.