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The 5 Best Scuba Diving Certification Programs of 2022

Jessica Macdonald lives in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province and has been TripSavvy’s Africa Expert since 2016. She also covers travel products and has written about everything from camping knives to climbing chalk.

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Best Overall: PADI

“As one of the most popular certifications, wherever you live or plan on going on vacation, you’re likely to have access to PADI dive courses.”

Runner-Up, Best Overall: SSI

“The academic portion of the course is completed online.”

Oldest Agency: NAUI

“its ethos revolves around training a few divers well rather than many divers with weaker skills, so you get hands on training.”

Best British Contingent: BSAC

“Many courses are aimed at equipping members with the skills to support club diving, while cold water specialties include Drysuit and Ice Diving.”

Best for Future Tec Divers: SDI

“Many SDI instructors are also TDI instructors, giving them the ability to teach basic skills in a way that translates well to future tec courses.”

Best Overall: PADI


In 1966, John Cronin and Ralph Erickson founded the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) with the intention of upgrading existing instruction methods and making the sport more accessible. In the years since, the U.S.-based training organization has become the largest and most recognized scuba diving agency in the world. Its motto, “The Way the World Learns to Dive” is no exaggeration, with more than 29 million certifications issued to date by over 6,600 PADI Dive Centers and Resorts and more than 128,000 PADI Professionals worldwide. This means that wherever you live or plan on going on vacation, you’re likely to have access to PADI dive courses. You can also rest assured that your certification card will always be recognized and accepted.

The entry-level course is the PADI Open Water Diver Course, which promotes performance-based learning through online or in-classroom theory sessions and practical training in confined and open water. In addition to teaching students about diver physiology and underwater safety, PADI courses promote marine conservation through a partnership with non-profit organization PADI AWARE Foundation. After gaining your initial certification, you can choose from an impressive range of further education courses and diver specialties. Learn how to take photos underwater, or train for cavern diving, deep diving, diving at altitude, or shark conservation. PADI also offers a full range of tec and professional courses leading all the way up to Course Director (the ability to train instructors).

If you plan on making a career out of scuba diving, PADI’s large market share gives you the best chance of employment after qualifying as a divemaster or instructor. The company is also well-known for its professional support, although the course and membership fees are higher than most other agencies.

Interested in getting out to the reefs? Check out our round-up of the best scuba diving destinations.

Runner-Up, Best Overall: SSI


Scuba Schools International (SSI) was founded in 1970 and is currently headquartered in Germany. It is the second-largest scuba training agency after PADI, with over 3,500 dive centers representing the brand in more than 150 countries. SSI courses are available in 40+ languages. Their primary entry-level certification courses are Scuba Diver and Open Water Diver.

The academic portion of the course is completed online, making certification more flexible (you can also learn offline through the SSI app). However, some students prefer a traditional classroom environment, especially if they have difficulties with any subjects covered.

The practical aspects of the course are completed through a series of sessions in confined and open water, under the supervision of an SSI instructor. When registering students choose a training center as their partner center to be affiliated with. This helps to ensure personalized service and welcome them into the world of diving.

After gaining your entry-level certification, you can continue your education with a range of advanced courses. Extended Range diving includes deeper dives, wreck and cave diving, and rebreather diving. Other skills courses teach you technical skills like the math behind gas blends in air tanks, dry suit diving, and decompression diving. SSI rounds out its water-based offers with lifeguard training, mermaid training courses, freediving, and snorkeling options.

SSI professionals have free access to SSI job listings, whereas PADI professionals have to pay an annual membership fee to view career opportunities. However, SSI instructors can only teach courses through an SSI Dive Center and not independently (as PADI instructors can do).

Oldest Agency: NAUI


If you’re based in the U.S. and like the idea of an agency that has stood the test of time, the National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI) could be the best fit for you. Founded in the 1950s, it is the oldest civilian diver training agency, along with similar European agency CMAS. Over the years, NAUI has pioneered many of the training concepts now accepted as global standards throughout the industry. Unlike profit-based businesses like PADI and SSI, NAUI is registered as a not-for-profit education association. Its motto is “Dive Safety Through Education”, and its ethos revolves around the concept of training a few divers well rather than many divers with marginal skills. Safety awareness is a focus of all courses, including the entry-level Scuba Diver course.

Training programs are regularly updated to reflect the latest developments in dive safety, training, and equipment, while instructors are frequently evaluated to ensure that they meet NAUI teaching standards. Nevertheless, instructors have the freedom to teach in “any reasonable manner” that meets those standards, meaning that they can adapt teaching methods or the order of skills learned to suit individual students.

If you need a little more time in the water to feel confident on your own, NAUI courses also allow instructors to exceed the number of required open water dives. Once you achieve your entry-level certification, there are several recreational, technical, and professional courses to choose from thereafter.

Specialty courses are relatively limited, with just five offered as well as the option to do custom studies with their instructors in comparison to the 50+ offered by PADI. If you plan on becoming an instructor yourself, the ability to teach independently makes up for the fact that NAUI has far fewer dive centers worldwide than either PADI or SSI.

Best British Contingent: BSAC


Another not-for-profit organization, the British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC), was founded in 1953 as a recreational diving club. It launched its first instructor training course in 1960 and is now the national governing body for scuba diving and snorkeling in the United Kingdom. Many British divers choose BSAC as a less commercial alternative to PADI. The agency has a reputation for high-quality training (reinforced by the fact that diving conditions in the U.K. can be more challenging than tropical destinations around the world). BSAC divers are taught to cope with cold water and limited visibility from their first open water dive, and as such, certifications from this agency are typically well-respected.

The entry-level certification is called Ocean Diver and includes theory sessions, in-pool training, and a minimum of four open water dives. It qualifies you to dive to up to 30 meters of depth. Further education opportunities include a full range of skill development, special interest, technical, and professional qualifications. Many courses aim to equip members with the skills to support club diving, while cold water specialties include Drysuit and Ice Diving courses. BSAC primarily operates in the United Kingdom but has affiliated centers offering various levels of training in locations that range from around Europe to the United States, Mexico, Egypt, and Australia.

Above all, BSAC stays true to its roots by promoting the dive club lifestyle. With locations around the U.K., these community centers encourage divers to make new friends and get the most out of their sport with social events, dive trips, and overseas expeditions.

Read Post  Buoyancy and Diving

Best for Future Tec Divers: SDI


If the idea of extreme underwater exploration appeals to you, you may be planning on becoming a tec diver. Tec divers use specialized equipment, gases, and advanced training to exceed recreational diving limits, often with the purpose of reaching extraordinary depths. Scuba Diving International (SDI) is a top choice for future tec divers because it is part of International Training, a group of diving organizations that includes Technical Diving International (TDI) – the world’s largest technical training agency. In fact, SDI was founded in 1998 as TDI’s recreational diving division and as such, has close connections to the advanced diving community. Many SDI instructors are also TDI instructors, giving them the ability to teach basic skills in a way that translates well to future tec courses.

The entry-level Open Water Scuba Diver course involves a combination of theoretical e-learning, pool sessions, and open water dives. SDI has a reputation for innovation, being the first to present online specialties including Wreck, Computer Nitrox, Deep Diving and Navigation. It was also the first to offer diving programs for children and the first to allow divers to learn to dive using a dive computer rather than traditional dive tables.

Most importantly for those that like to push boundaries, SDI offers the first and only insured Solo Diver qualification, which trains you to dive without relying on the traditional buddy system. Other recreational specialties that give you a good foundation for tec diving include Advanced Buoyancy Control, Nitrox, Deep, Sidemount, Full Face Mask, and Equipment Specialist.

SDI has training centers in more than 100 countries. Other sister agencies include Emergency Response Diving International (ERDI) and Performance Freediving International (PFI), giving you further avenues to explore in terms of specialist diving and careers.

What Should I Look for When Choosing a Scuba Certification Program?

Deciding which scuba certification program to train with is usually a matter of convenience, meaning whatever certification is offered at your nearest dive center. If you have a choice, things to consider include the agency’s reputation, its presence both where you live and wherever you’re most likely to go diving on vacation, the cost of the course, the contents covered, and the time it takes to complete.

How Much Does a Scuba Certification Program Cost?

The cost of getting scuba certified differs from one program to the next, but also from dive center to dive center depending on many different factors, including location, operating costs, and the owner’s discretion. Various courses have different prices, too. However, the cost of an entry-level course in the United States usually ranges from about $200 to $600, depending on the location and certification program you select.

What Qualifications or Documents Do I Need to Become Scuba Certified?

Most scuba certification programs have a list of prerequisites for those wanting to sign up for an entry-level course. For PADI—the world’s largest and most popular certification agency—these include being at least 10 years old for a Junior Open Water Diver certification and 15 years old for full certification. You must also complete a medical questionnaire and in some cases even consult with a physician. Basic water skills needed to complete the course include the ability to swim 200 yards without stopping and to tread water for 10 minutes. You will also need to purchase a personal set of learning materials.

Which Is the Best Scuba Certification Agency for Tec Divers?

SDI is widely recognized as the best training agency for those that eventually want to become a tec diver. This is because it is the recreational division of TDI, the world’s largest technical diving agency.

What is the best scuba diving certification? We compare all them here

The short answer is that there is no best diving certification, just the one that best suits your personal needs and preferences.

Scuba diving certifications

As a PADI diving center, we would like to add that this organization is the one that has certified the most divers worldwide and is active in the largest number of countries.

This is why PADI certifications have reached the highest level of popularity around the world. PADI has trained around 70% of all scuba divers on the planet.

PADI confined water dives requirements

Almost all dive organizations issue worldwide, lifelong certifications and teach much the same knowledge. In this article we will explain some of the differences between the organizations, so that you can make a more informed decision and thus be able to decide which diving certification best suits your needs.

Table of Contents

What you will find in this article?

In this article we will talk about diving certifications, as well as the the different organizations that issue them. We will explain what a diving certification is, how they originated, and what you can do with them.

We will discuss the differences and similarities between the leading organizations.

If you are thinking of becoming a certified diver and you are not sure which organization to choose, you’re in the right place! You will undoubtedly find useful information in this article that will help you make the best decision.

What is a diving certification?

A diving certification is a document or file created in the database of an accredited diving organization. In this file the instructors record the evidence of the training received by their students.

To make things easier, after completing the course, the student is given a card similar to a driver’s license with which they can easily prove that they have been educated and what their level of knowledge is.

Four divers at open water course inside the pool

With the advancement of technology, many people do not use the cards but save their certifications digitally. It is also possible for most dive centers to directly consult the database of the certifying organization.

Diving licenses or certifications are similar to driver’s licenses in some ways. Obtaining a diving license is very important if you have decided that you want to explore the underwater world.

In the same way a driver’s license is necessary to undertake a trip by driving a vehicle.

Later we will compare some of the benefits and differences of obtaining your certification and explore the 5 most recognized diving organizations worldwide.

Importance of diving certifications

The practice of diving is relatively recent since it had its beginnings during the 1940s thanks to the contribution of enthusiasts, explorers and scientists. In the beginning, diving was created for military and scientific purposes.

Diver with a turtle in Costa Rica

Thanks to the contributions from pioneers like the renowned Jacques Cousteau and Emile Gagnanse, scuba diving became a recreational activity, and for safety reasons had to be regulated.

For this reason recreational diving organizations were created and consequently the certifications.

Every day thousands of people are certified as divers.

Even though diving is a very safe activity, it requires proper training to be able to do it safely. Certifications establish a diver’s level of training and allows dive centers and other divers to know in advance the capabilities and limitations of their fellow divers.

Obtaining a license or certification also allows a diver to rent equipment and refill tanks at authorized dive centers.

Can I dive without a dive certification?

Yes and No. As we will explain later, the different diving organizations have created a test level in which a person without certification can participate in dives accompanied by a qualified instructor.

However, scuba diving on your own without a dive certification is dangerous.

What are the main diving organizations and what are the certification levels?

As we mentioned before, diving certifications are issued by diving organizations. There are several dive organizations that have developed educational programs to safely certify students. In this article we will talk about 5 of the most recognized:

Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), the World Confederation of Underwater Activities (CMAS), the International Diving School (SSI). Scuba Diving International(SDI) and the National Association of Diving Instructors (NAUI).

Scuba Diving Organizations

If you want to learn more about diving organizations you can look at our article: Top 7 diving organizations and certification programs in 2022

For a better understanding we have divided the most common diving certifications into five levels: Test level, Basic level, Advanced level, Rescue level and Divemaster level.

Comparative Table of Diving Certifications

Each organization has a structure of courses and certifications to teach diving to those who want to learn. Although there are some differences, most certifications have equivalencies between organizations.

This is positive. Let’s say for example that you have obtained an Open Water license with CMAS and later you want to get the Advanced Open Water certification in PADI, you can apply without problem.

Below is a cross table with basic diving certifications. This comparative chart shows the main Diving Organizations and their certification programs.

Types of diving certifications

When we talk about diving certifications, we can find four main levels:

  • Recreational Diving Certifications – for recreational divers
  • Professional Diving Certifications – for those working in the diving industry.
  • Technical Diving Certifications – for divers exceeding recreational limits
  • Commercial Diving Certifications – to perform work underwater, such as repair or welding.

This without considering other certifications such as free-diving, which also has various courses and levels.

In this article we will focus on recreational certifications and the first professional level.

Divers at Surface during scuba course

There are several types of diving certifications. Most of the content and activities of each certification have differences.

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However, most certifications have a similar structure. All of them require a number of hours of theoretical training, either face-to-face or virtual, and a certain number of supervised activities in the water. That are carried out partly in a swimming pool, where there is a more controlled environment, and partly in the ocean or a lake.

These activities allow an instructor to teach and test the knowledge and skills necessary to dive safely.

Recreational Diving Certifications – For Recreational Divers

Test Level – Recreational Diving Certifications

Most organizations have a trial level. These courses in fact do not issue a certification but rather an introduction to diving that allows the student to experience breathing underwater without having to invest a lot of time or money.

In this way, a space is created so that the person can decide if they want to take the next step or if diving is not what they expected.

Scuba divers testing diving

Logically, the vast majority of people after completing this experience are willing to continue the process towards certification.

This option is also ideal for those people who during their vacations do not have enough time to take a complete course and want experience scuba diving for few hours under the supervision of a certified instructor.

Normally, the student must take a brief theoretical course, followed by approximately 3 hours of training in a pool. That allows them to scuba dive in shallow waters accompanied by a qualified instructor immediately.

It is important to note that as they are not certification courses, the student does not obtain a license and in most cases must repeat the theoretical and pool part every time they want to dive.

You will also not be able to dive on your own or rent diving equipment.

Test Level Certifications Comparison and Requirements

PADI Test Level

With PADI, the name of this experience is Discover Scuba Diving.

It requires a minimum age of 10 years and participants can go up to 12 meters deep in the company of their instructor.

SSI Test Level

SSI offers the Try Scuba program which requires a minimum age of 8 years and allows reaching a maximum depth of 5 meters.

SDI Test Level

SDI has a program called Scuba Discovery which requires a minimum age of 10 years.

This course is a little more demanding since it covers topics such as equipment assembly and the use of a dive computer, which is not common at this level.

CMAS Test Level

CMAS has created the Discover Scuba program for which it has set a minimum age of 8 years and recommends doing two open water dives instead of one.

NAUI Test Level

NAUI has divided the content of this course into two parts: the Try Scuba, which includes only the pool part and for which the minimum age is 8 years, and the Passport Scuba, which includes the open water part and requires a minimum age of 10 years.

Unlike other organizations, NAUI recognizes this course for a period of 12 months and allows the student to continue doing dives under the direct supervision of a certified instructor without having to repeat the theoretical part.

First Level – Recreational Diving Certifications

This level is very important as it is the gateway to the world of recreational diving.

After completing this training, the student will be able to plan dives and conduct them safely on their own. This level will lay the foundations for training as a diver and will open up a range of possibilities for the future.

The student can happily remain at this level for the rest of his life, or he can continue his training in different directions: As an advanced, rescue, technical, scientific or even commercial diver.

Something that all divers share is the basic and essential knowledge obtained during this training. This is where the diver learns the fundamentals of physics and physiology that will accompany you throughout your journey. Assemble and disassemble the equipment, safety procedures before, during and after each dive. In short, the knowledge that will allow you to perform as a diver.

Certifications at this level are usually lifelong and will also allow the diver to rent equipment from most dive centers around the world.

Two students at First Level Dive Certification

First Level Certifications Comparison and Requirements

PADI First Level

The PADI organization has designed the Open Water Diver course in which a theoretical section is carried out. This portion of the course is available online.

In addition, five pool sessions and four open water dives are required.

The minimum age is 10 years. Although at that age the degree obtained is “Junior” Open Water Diver and when they reach 14 years of age the status of the license automatically changes to PADI Open Water Diver.

The maximum depth to which the diver can go when obtaining this certification is 18 meters. The duration of this course is 4 to 6 days.

SSI First Level

SSI offers the Open Water Diver course in which the minimum age is also 10 years old, 6 theoretical sessions, 6 pool sessions and 4 open water dives are carried out. The organization suggests a time investment of 36 hours.

SDI First Level

SDI has created the Open Water Scuba Diver which is very similar to the PADI courses. With a minimum age of 15 years you can reach a maximum depth of 18 meters.
Also, SDI has a Junion Open Water Scuba Course with the requirement of 10 – 14 years old with parental consent.

CMAS First Level

CMAS offers the One Star Diver certification with which you can reach a maximum depth of 20 meters and in some countries up to 25 meters.

The organization requires at least 5 open water dives to complete the course. This course includes some rescue and CPR skills that are not needed in other organizations at this level.

NAUI First Level

NAUI with its Scuba Diver course requires a theoretical part, a pool part and at least 5 open water sessions.

Advanced Level – Recreational Diving Certifications

This is the second of the certified diving levels.

This level is very important since it allows Open Water divers to expand their knowledge on specific topics of great importance, allowing them to enjoy other areas of diving that were previously unattainable.

PADI Open Waters Advanced

Even though some of the topics to be studied are mandatory due to their importance, others can be chosen by the students depending on their tastes and their geographical location.

This gives each person the opportunity to develop a little more on the topics of interest to them.

One of the most important achievements when obtaining this certification is the ability to dive deeper than 18 meters and up to 30 meters deep.

Wreck Diving Certification

Specialty dives Comparison and Requirements

PADI Advanced Level

For this level of certification, PADI has created adventure dives, also known as specialty dives. These are dives preceded by a small theoretical portion in which the aim is to obtain knowledge and develop a specific skill. The most common PADI adventure dives are:

  • Deep Diver (Deep Diving),
  • Peak Performance Buoyancy (Maximum Buoyancy Performance)
  • Search and Recovery
  • Digital Underwater Photography
  • Dive Against Debris (Ecological Diving)
  • Fish Identification
  • Night Dive (night dive)
  • Search and Recovery
  • Underwater Naturalist
  • Underwater Navigation
  • Wreck Diver

To become certified as a PADI Advanced Open Water Diver the student must complete 5 of these dives. Two are mandatory and three are optional.

Two are mandatory and three are optional. The required dives are Underwater Navigation and Deep Diver while the other three dives can be chosen from the list. It is possible to do these dives independently.

Another option is to obtain a specialty by completing the same adventure dive several times.

The number of dives required varies depending on the specialty that you want to obtain, but they are usually between three and five.

SSI Advanced Level

SSI has created the Advanced Adventurer program. To achieve this certification, the student must complete 5 different programs called Adventurer Programs or Specialty Programs, which are listed below:

  • Boat Diving
  • Deep Diving
  • Dry Suit Diving -Enriched Air Nitrox (EAN)
  • Navigation
  • Night & LimitedVisibility
  • Perfect Buoyancy -Photo & Video -Scooter/DPV Diving
  • Search & Recovery
  • Waves, Tides & Currents
  • Wreck Diving

SDI Advanced Level

SDI has called their course Advanced Adventure Diver and it also requires you to take five specialty dives. Some of them are:

  • Advanced Buoyancy Control
  • Altitude Diver
  • Boat Diver
  • Computer Nitrox Diver
  • Drift Diver
  • Marine Ecosystem Awareness

CMAS Advanced Level

In the case of CMAS there are no specialty dives since their rating is based on stars and skills are developed in a different way. During the CMAS two Star course the student develops comparable skills and knowledge which allow him, for example, to reach a depth of up to 30 meters.

NAUI Advanced Level

NAUI, for its part, requires 6 dives to achieve the Advanced SCUBA DIVER certification. Three of these dives are required: navigation, low visibility and deep diving. The remaining three can be chosen from the following list:

  • Search and recovery
  • Boat diving
  • Light salvage
  • Hunting and collecting
  • Exploration and underwater mapping
  • Wreck diving (non-penetration)
  • Observation and data collecting
  • Diving in surf or currents
  • Altitude diving
  • Salt Water diving (in areas where most diving is in fresh water)
  • Fresh water diving (in areas where most diving is in salt water) -Shore diving
  • Diving for photos and videos
  • Using dive computers
Read Post  Learn to Scuba Dive: What You Need to Know

Rescue Level – Recreational Diving Certifications

Despite being one of the most demanding levels, it is one of the most exciting. At this level the diver stops thinking about himself and begins to pay attention to the safety of others.

PADI Rescue diver. Scuba diving lessons in Costa Rica

One of the objectives of this level of certification is to teach divers to act in risk or emergency situations and to rescue divers in trouble. At this level, it is also taught how to apply emergency oxygen in the different situations that warrant it. This always within the legal limits of each country.

Rescue Level Certifications Comparison and Requirements

PADI Rescue Level

PADI offers the Rescue Diver course. One of the requirements to participate in this course is to have training in Primary and Secondary Care (CPR and First Aid) in the last 24 months.

This is a course also offered by PADI although under a different brand name known as Emergency First Response.

To obtain this certification, two pool sessions and 4 open water dives are required.

SSI Rescue Level

The SSI organization teaches the Stress and Rescue course for which the minimum age is 12 years.

It requires at least six theory sessions, three pool sessions and three open water sessions.

This course is estimated to last 15 hours. The theory for this course is also available online.

SDI Rescue Level

SDI has developed the Rescue Diver course which has as a particular requirement to have at least 40 dives and a minimum age of 15 years.

CMAS Rescue Level

CMAS incorporates the knowledge gained within this level into its star system so there is no one specific course that can be equated.

NAUI Rescue Level

NAUI has created the Scuba Rescue Diver course. For this course it is essential to have previous training in CPR.

Something that is interesting is that you can take this course as an Open Water Diver, so the advanced level is not a requirement.

Professional Diving Certifications – for those working in the diving industry.

Divemaster Level

This is the first level in professional diving, which implies that you will be able to develop your leadership and take charge of different activities.

On the other hand, working in the diving industry will allow you to recover some or all of the money you have invested in your education and even turn it into your main income.

Few things are as satisfying as getting paid to do something you truly love while helping others fulfill their dreams.

The knowledge obtained during this course is one of the most advanced in the world of recreational diving.

Some of the most interesting topics learned during this level are the physiology involved in diving, physics, taking care of equipment from a more technical perspective, and caring for and guiding other divers.

Due to the responsibility of being in charge of these activities, the minimum age in most organizations for this level is 18 years.

Divemaster level diving certifications comparison and Requirements

PADI Divemaster Level

PADI offers the DIVEMASTER course for which it is required to have at least 40 dives at the beginning of the course and 60 at the end.

It is also necessary to be a rescue diver and have a CPR certification issued no more than two years ago.

SSI Divemaster Level

SSI is Divemaster certified. It also requires a minimum of 40 dives although some professional training centers require 50.

SSI offers the option of obtaining a certification known as a Dive guide which is a step before the Divemaster but at the same time counts as part of your curriculum.

To obtain the Dive Guide it is only necessary to have the Stress and Rescue certification, complete five academic sessions, four confined water sessions and five open water sessions.

SDI Divemaster Level

SDI teaches the Divemaster course. This course is very similar to the one created by PADI and requires that you be a rescue diver and have completed 40 dives.

CMAS Divemaster Level

In the CMAS organization, in order to be able to guide, the Three Star Diver certification is necessary with which you can also dive up to 40 meters deep.

With this certification you can guide other divers.Of those mentioned in this article, this is the only organization that allows minors to become guides when they are only 16 years old.

Yes, with the consent of your parent or guardian. Requires a minimum of 15 dives after having obtained the CMAS Two Star certification of which at least 10 must be done at depths greater than 30 meters.

NAUI Divemaster Level

NAUI offers the Divemaster certification which requires, among other things, having completed 50 dives.

Their requirements are very similar to those described by PADI and SSI and SDI.


In summary, with the exception of CMAS, the similarities between the diving organizations that we have talked about and their certifications are many.

Their differences in terms of requirements are few. So it is up to the student to decide which organization they want to choose since they all have with the same validity.

It’s important to note that not all organizations are available in all areas. Our advice is that when choosing who will give you your diving education, look for a professional training center where the facilities, boats and equipment are in optimal conditions. That is always a good sign.

Look for a professional who makes you feel comfortable and who you feel you can trust not only because of their appearance but also because of their background and experience.

And if you are passing through the South Pacific area of Costa Rica it will be our pleasure to certify you as a PADI diver at all levels in our Costa Rica Dive and Surf training facility.

If you have any questions or comments, do not hesitate to contact us and we will reply to you shortly.

Types of Scuba Diving Certifications and What You Can Do with Them

Scuba Diving Certifications

You’ve probably heard of scuba diving certifications before, whether or not you’re aware of their purpose or not. Those certifications aren’t just for show. They’re used as a way to measure the capacity of an individual, and whether or not they can safely control themselves to certain depths as dictated on the certification.

With that said, there are many scuba diving certifications out there, each one serving a different purpose and measuring different water skills for the divers who take them. In this article, we’ll briefly cover what those scuba diving certifications entail and what you can do with them.

Open Water Diver

The Open Water Diver certification by PADI is one of the most common and popular scuba diving certifications for recreational purposes. It is an essential course that opens the path to other more advanced courses for divers. The Open Water Diver course teaches the fundamentals of how to safely manage yourself, as well as your equipment underwater. With this certification, you will be allowed to dive in open waters up to a depth of 18 meters.

Advanced Open Water Diver

Advanced Open Water Diver is a course that takes the previous certification to the next level. Participants will need to have taken the Open Water Diver first as a prerequisite to taking this course. Once completed, divers will have their depth limit increased from 18 meters as certified by the Open Water Diver to a deeper 30 meters. This course will again include theory learning as well as practical training, that will both be subject to assessment by the dive instructor.

Rescue Diver

The Rescue Diver course educates divers about essential emergency rescue protocols, safety skills and how to manage a crisis situation underwater. This is another essential certification that many divers opt to take due to the valuable, lifelong skills that are offered in this course.


Divemaster is the course where divers refine and hone in their water skills to a professional standard. In fact, for many diving associations such as PADI and SSI, the Divemaster is considered to be the first professional rating. This course also puts an emphasis on building the necessary skills, knowledge, and expertise to lead and supervise a diving team. Participants of Divemaster courses often intend to become professional divers or are on the way to become dive instructors.

These are just some of the most common scuba diving certifications out there. Some of these serve as the foundation of all scuba divers such as the Open Water Diver and are mandatory to take before advancing into more technical water skills.

Do these scuba diving certifications sound familiar to you? If you’re a frequent diver, it would be wise to invest in yourself and learn the water skills and knowledge offered in these courses. Not only will they increase your confidence as a diver, you’ll also have more opportunities to access dive sites that are deeper and more exotic in the future!




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