Updated: Nov 7, 2022
Are they some sort of diving Jedi with extra knowledge that is secret? Nope, they are not. Although.... realistically, most of the time, your Course Director will know quite a bit more than you do about diving, young padawan, especially if you are taking your IDC.
So let's look at what is a PADI Course Director and how do you become one (and get the fancy laser thingy).
Disclaimer: this post was written during pandemic times after a full rewatch of all Star Wars movies. Hours of my life I will never get back, just like a lot of things I did during this past year and a half. May the diving spirits be with you.
What do Course Directors do?
Simply put, PADI Course Director is the highest ranking in the PADI system, allowing you to train all levels of divers including instructors. So it makes them indeed some sort of Yoda of recreational diving. Mind you, just like Jedi knights, they come with different abilities and personnalities.
Depending on where they work, you might find them training dive instructors or divemasters, teaching other courses, managing a dive shop, answering puzzling diving physics questions or a bit of all of these things at the same time.
Most common Course Directors sayings:
"Archimede's law you must master"
"A 1 you will get before a 5"
"Touch the bottom you will not"
How do you become a Course Director?
Usually, after quite a few years at least working in the diving industry. This is simply because that the requirements to apply to the Course Director training make it so. You need to already be a PADI MSDT (Master Scuba Diver Trainer) and an EFR Instructor Trainer amongst other things.
The Course Director rating is not something you get only for your experience: 2 trainings are held each year and ran by PADI staff members. In order to apply you need to meet a certain number of criterias, but there is after that a selection process based on multiple factors. The number of spots is limited, so not all that apply will get selected for the training.
So a bit like becoming a master Jedi amongst your fellow Jedis knights (and you thought I was done with this didn't you?), you will be assessed against other people from all over the world.
What is the Course Director training like?
If you have taken all the proper steps beforehand and staffed a certain amount of IDC courses, there is nothing you will be unfamiliar with. You will demonstrate diving skills, present classroom topics, sometimes assess your fellow students. You also get a chance to meet divers from all over the world, with a wide range of experiences and backgrounds, and share a few laughs (and beers).
Once you are done and you have passed, you are awarded with your very own light saber, sorry Course Director badge, and you can go off and teach young padawans how to be PADI Instructors!