Updated: Dec 12, 2022
Once you are truly hooked on scuba diving and have done all (or many at least!) of the recreational training certifications, you might start thinking about the next step! That wsould be training up to become a PADI dive professional, whether it's because you want to make diving your job or just because you want to take it up a notch and become an even better diver and buddy.
So where do you start?
PADI Divemaster certification
This course give you the knowledge and experience to guide and supervise other certified divers and provide them with assistance if they need it. You will also learn to assist scuba instructors when they are teaching and lead a certain number of dive training activities. Depending on what type of training you choose and what you plan to do with it, this course can be done as a Divemaster internship where you will truly learn what it's like to work in a dive centre in all its aspects. Whichever you choose you will definitely prefect your rescue skills and early recognition of diver problems, get deep into dive theory, learn to guide certified divers, assist courses, orient yourself and map a dive site and generally become a proficient and capable diver. A great holistic course for anyone who loves diving, whether you plan to work or not.
PADI Assistant Instructor
The PADI Assistant Instructor rating gives you the ability to do more in assisting instructors to teach and gives you more independence to lead certain training activities. This is particularly useful if you are helping out and have you eye on becoming a PADI scuba diving instructor. Many dive masters skip this step though and go strait into the instructor development course, If you are already an AI though your will save time and already have some aspects of the preparation under your belt.
PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor (OWSI)
This is the course that makes you a teacher. In your PADI Divemaster course you learn to become a proficient diver and how to watch out for and assist others, so this is expected of you before you start the course, even if you usually get a few days preparation to brush up on your dive theory especially the physiology and physics. You will learn how to teach scuba, the standards of safe diving and many other aspects of working in the diving industry. The PADI Instructor Development Course (IDC) ends with an exam overseen by PADI examiners that will assess your skill at presenting and teaching dive skills, as well as detecting student divers' problems and solving them both in confined and open water. There are also two exams, one for standards and one for the dive theory.
PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer
This is the next step up from becoming a PADI Scuba Instructor, when you can now teach 5 speciality courses as well as all the other standard courses. You can gain your Specialty ratings by training with a Course Director (instructor trainer) or send out for a certification yourself to PADI once you have completed 25 student certifications and you can show proof of experience in the required specialty.
Once you are certified as an instructor for 5 PADI Specialties and you have certified 25 students, you can apply for the PADI MSDT rating.
PADI IDC Staff Instructor
This is the first step into instructor training and you will learn to assisst PADI Course Directors during the PADI IDC. During your IDC Staff Instructor training, you will learn how to assess PADI instructor candidates and how to help them improve their teaching skills.
PADI Master Instructor
As you might have guessed by the name, by the time you get here, you're pretty good at being an instructor: you have taught a (large) number of PADI courses at different levels, assisted a number of IDCs, been doing all this for a while, and you have quite a lot of experience under your (weight)belt. You are nearly ready to go for the graal, instructor trainer status, known as 'Course Director' with PADI.
PADI Course Director
This is pretty much the top of the pile for most common mortals (becoming a PADI Course Director requires serious dedication, there aren't that many out there). So after you have completed a great many of all PADI courses, attended many PADI seminars, and applied to get into the selective Course Director training, you might be accepted as a Course Director candidate! Then you hop on a plane to attend the training and become a true Jedi master ready to train young padawans in the sacred art of scuba. Et voila!
May the neutral buoyancy be with you.