The 5 Scuba Diving Certification Levels Explained

How do you become scuba certified? For those around the world that feel the burning curiosity to explore the underwater universe, scuba certification offers the perfect balm.

Once divers discover the adventure that habitats under the ocean surface have to offer, a natural next step for the curious diver is to explore how else they can interact with scuba.

Scuba diving is an entire network of possibilities, from discussing dive destinations to contemplating the different arenas of training.

What are the different scuba diving certification levels?

The levels of scuba certification correspond to specific categories of training. The first level of training is all about how to keep yourself safe underwater. Once a diver has mastered themselves, the second step is learning to be aware of your surroundings, manipulate tools underwater, and handle new environments and stresses. The third level of training teaches divers how to be responsible for others, while the final level is learning to train new students (become a professional).

Let’s dive in — scuba certification levels, explained!

Level 1 – Keep Yourself Safe

diver at the surface making a ok sign

The purpose of introductory diving courses is simple — how do you stay alive underwater?! There are actually quite a few options for trying scuba diving without getting certified (like the discover scuba diving course through PADI / Scuba Discovery Course through SDI), but the safest option for your first voyage underwater is to take the full certification course through any agency.

Those interested in becoming scuba divers that have the knowledge and comfortability to dive without a professional should definitely take the first certification course and skip the “try it out” classes.

The name of the first certification course can differ depending on the agency, but should include coursework, pool work, and 4 ocean dives, resulting in an open water certification card.

While the end result of the course is the most important part, it can be confusing to understand which course to take when you don’t know the course names and what they mean. For reference, here are the course names and structures for the more common certification agencies:

Like mentioned earlier, there are also some courses available that people could take prior to the first certification course if they are nervous to try the sport or afraid they won’t like it — these courses are generally a one day experience (just a few hours), and are under close, direct supervision with an instructor or divemaster.

You generally go over two or three safety skills, and then are guided on an ocean dive to experience what the benefits of certification have to offer (the amazing underwater world)!

Level 2 – Learn to Respect the Environment and Utilize Tools

divers taking pictures of a wreck under water

Once you’ve learned the basic skills of scuba diving and are comfortable with your personal safety and buoyancy, it’s time to level up.

As beginners, divers inadvertently over-exaggerate their movements and end up kicking up sand, hitting rocks or coral reefs, and bumping into others.

This happens because of the awkwardness that comes with being underwater as a human that doesn’t belong there, the clumsiness of wearing a bunch of scuba gear, and the overwhelming feeling of trying to deal with those things while staying with your dive buddy, watching your air consumption, and staying alive.

When divers start to master their trim and buoyancy, it is because they are getting used to handling these tasks in the background of their minds instead of the forefront — essentially, getting in the habit of handling the basics.

As this happens, brainspace opens up for building skills underwater, which is where advanced training comes in!

The advanced open water course consists of 5 different specialty dives, so that students are able to try out 5 different categories of skill-building courses under the tutelage of an instructor.

Level 2 courses also include specialty certifications like nitrox, peak performance/perfect buoyancy, ice diving, underwater photography, navigation, and more…utilizing tools and becoming aware of surroundings on a dive will expand a diver’s universe in multiple ways, including opening up new dive adventure options like shipwrecks, deep caverns, and continental plates.

For the recreational diver, level 2 is where you can really start to expand on the variety of your skills, and hone in on bettering your comfortability and confidence underwater.

Level 3 – Keep Others Safe

scuba divers performing a rescue breathing exercise

As a diver gains confidence and knowledge, the natural next step is to include others in that knowledge.

At level 3, this is applied by learning how to rescue other divers in an emergency situation.

Search and rescue, first aid, and oxygen administration courses will ensure a diver is confident in their ability to assist a fellow diver in a wide range of emergency scenarios, including unsafe ascents, unconsciousness, and divers that aren’t breathing.

Instructors will take students through a variety of emergency scenarios to practice phrases, movements, and medical care administration so that divers will know how to approach these emergencies should they ever occur on a dive.

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This stage may be scary at first, but once the skills are practiced, a diver’s confidence at handling any diving incident will make them feel like a rockstar.

Level 4 – Teach Others to Dive

scuba diving student and instructor

If a diver enjoys their path through the higher education courses of scuba diving, enjoys learning how to take care of other divers, and has the skills to be a leader, becoming a professional diver is the natural next step in the education ladder.

Being trained as a divemaster is a fully holistic approach to scuba diving, delving into the practical skills, theoretical knowledge, and scientific background of the sport.

Becoming a scuba diving instructor will compound this knowledge into a method for introducing others into the amazing world of scuba diving in a safe and skill-based environment.

Level 5 – Teach Professionals

scuba diving course in a swimming pool

Finally, if divers have a passion for teaching others and want to take their training even further, they can become instructor trainers and bring up the next generation of scuba instructors.

This level requires intense dedication and hundreds of hours committed to the sport, but opens up a fulfilling and immensely varied career track.

Summary

While many define the levels of scuba by the names of the certification courses, it is useful to view the certification courses in terms of skill level tiers.

The tiers start with the diver itself and circle out from there to include more and more layers — you, then your environment, then others, then instructing others.

This article is a simple introduction to this idea, but as you move further into the scuba sport you will learn to explore the nooks and crannies of all the training possibilities.

Scuba diving offers explorers an entire new world of knowledge and experiences.

The 5 Scuba Diving Certification Levels Explained

How do you become scuba certified? For those around the world that feel the burning curiosity to explore the underwater universe, scuba certification offers the perfect balm.

Once divers discover the adventure that habitats under the ocean surface have to offer, a natural next step for the curious diver is to explore how else they can interact with scuba.

Scuba diving is an entire network of possibilities, from discussing dive destinations to contemplating the different arenas of training.

What are the different scuba diving certification levels?

The levels of scuba certification correspond to specific categories of training. The first level of training is all about how to keep yourself safe underwater. Once a diver has mastered themselves, the second step is learning to be aware of your surroundings, manipulate tools underwater, and handle new environments and stresses. The third level of training teaches divers how to be responsible for others, while the final level is learning to train new students (become a professional).

Let’s dive in — scuba certification levels, explained!

Level 1 – Keep Yourself Safe

diver at the surface making a ok sign

The purpose of introductory diving courses is simple — how do you stay alive underwater?! There are actually quite a few options for trying scuba diving without getting certified (like the discover scuba diving course through PADI / Scuba Discovery Course through SDI), but the safest option for your first voyage underwater is to take the full certification course through any agency.

Those interested in becoming scuba divers that have the knowledge and comfortability to dive without a professional should definitely take the first certification course and skip the “try it out” classes.

The name of the first certification course can differ depending on the agency, but should include coursework, pool work, and 4 ocean dives, resulting in an open water certification card.

While the end result of the course is the most important part, it can be confusing to understand which course to take when you don’t know the course names and what they mean. For reference, here are the course names and structures for the more common certification agencies:

Like mentioned earlier, there are also some courses available that people could take prior to the first certification course if they are nervous to try the sport or afraid they won’t like it — these courses are generally a one day experience (just a few hours), and are under close, direct supervision with an instructor or divemaster.

You generally go over two or three safety skills, and then are guided on an ocean dive to experience what the benefits of certification have to offer (the amazing underwater world)!

Level 2 – Learn to Respect the Environment and Utilize Tools

divers taking pictures of a wreck under water

Once you’ve learned the basic skills of scuba diving and are comfortable with your personal safety and buoyancy, it’s time to level up.

As beginners, divers inadvertently over-exaggerate their movements and end up kicking up sand, hitting rocks or coral reefs, and bumping into others.

This happens because of the awkwardness that comes with being underwater as a human that doesn’t belong there, the clumsiness of wearing a bunch of scuba gear, and the overwhelming feeling of trying to deal with those things while staying with your dive buddy, watching your air consumption, and staying alive.

When divers start to master their trim and buoyancy, it is because they are getting used to handling these tasks in the background of their minds instead of the forefront — essentially, getting in the habit of handling the basics.

As this happens, brainspace opens up for building skills underwater, which is where advanced training comes in!

The advanced open water course consists of 5 different specialty dives, so that students are able to try out 5 different categories of skill-building courses under the tutelage of an instructor.

Level 2 courses also include specialty certifications like nitrox, peak performance/perfect buoyancy, ice diving, underwater photography, navigation, and more…utilizing tools and becoming aware of surroundings on a dive will expand a diver’s universe in multiple ways, including opening up new dive adventure options like shipwrecks, deep caverns, and continental plates.

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For the recreational diver, level 2 is where you can really start to expand on the variety of your skills, and hone in on bettering your comfortability and confidence underwater.

Level 3 – Keep Others Safe

scuba divers performing a rescue breathing exercise

As a diver gains confidence and knowledge, the natural next step is to include others in that knowledge.

At level 3, this is applied by learning how to rescue other divers in an emergency situation.

Search and rescue, first aid, and oxygen administration courses will ensure a diver is confident in their ability to assist a fellow diver in a wide range of emergency scenarios, including unsafe ascents, unconsciousness, and divers that aren’t breathing.

Instructors will take students through a variety of emergency scenarios to practice phrases, movements, and medical care administration so that divers will know how to approach these emergencies should they ever occur on a dive.

This stage may be scary at first, but once the skills are practiced, a diver’s confidence at handling any diving incident will make them feel like a rockstar.

Level 4 – Teach Others to Dive

scuba diving student and instructor

If a diver enjoys their path through the higher education courses of scuba diving, enjoys learning how to take care of other divers, and has the skills to be a leader, becoming a professional diver is the natural next step in the education ladder.

Being trained as a divemaster is a fully holistic approach to scuba diving, delving into the practical skills, theoretical knowledge, and scientific background of the sport.

Becoming a scuba diving instructor will compound this knowledge into a method for introducing others into the amazing world of scuba diving in a safe and skill-based environment.

Level 5 – Teach Professionals

scuba diving course in a swimming pool

Finally, if divers have a passion for teaching others and want to take their training even further, they can become instructor trainers and bring up the next generation of scuba instructors.

This level requires intense dedication and hundreds of hours committed to the sport, but opens up a fulfilling and immensely varied career track.

Summary

While many define the levels of scuba by the names of the certification courses, it is useful to view the certification courses in terms of skill level tiers.

The tiers start with the diver itself and circle out from there to include more and more layers — you, then your environment, then others, then instructing others.

This article is a simple introduction to this idea, but as you move further into the scuba sport you will learn to explore the nooks and crannies of all the training possibilities.

Scuba diving offers explorers an entire new world of knowledge and experiences.

Scuba Diving Certification – How do you get certified to scuba dive

You want to go scuba diving but where to start? First of all, you need to get a scuba diving certification. This allows you to rent scuba equipment and with this scuba diving certification, you will be able to join scuba diving trips with certified dive shops around the world.

Scuba Diving Certification

​You need a scuba diving license to be able to go underwater and enjoy all the beautiful marine life. Scuba diving is a dream that many people have, there are however some risks involved and for this reason, we should never dive without taking lessons and earning our scuba diving certification after completion.

Can you go scuba diving without a certification?

​Technically you can go scuba diving without a certification, but that is not recommended and in most places not even allowed. Anyone can buy scuba diving equipment and just find water and dive. This is however very dangerous, you cannot be insured and no one should ever dive without a scuba diving license.

Can you go scuba diving without a certification

​So, do you need a scuba diving certification? Yes, you do. During your scuba diving license course, you learn all the skills and knowledge to safely scuba dive up to the depth that you learned in your diving course. The more scuba courses you take to more diving possibilities and locations will open up for you.

What are the scuba diving certification requirements?

​It depends on what dive training organization you choose, to know the scuba diving certification requirements. This is because every dive training organization has slightly different scuba diving certification requirements. Most requirements are the same between organizations, but there are some differences.

What are the scuba diving certification requirements

​To give you one example with PADI you need to complete all the skill performance requirements within a certain dive to be able to go onto the next dive. While SSI is more flexible and you can move some skills from one dive to another. In the end, all dive training organizations will award you with a scuba diving license that allows you to dive around the world.

Which is the best scuba diving certification?

There is no right answer to the question of what diving certification is best, as all dive training organizations are safe if you follow their dive industry set standards. Choose a dive training organization that fits your learning style. Personally, I love the PADI philosophy of learning and did most of my scuba diving certifications with them.

Is PADI or SSI better?

You can also try different dive organizations depending on the course you take to see what fits you best. With a PADI Open Water Diver license, you can still scuba dive at an SSI shop and vice versa. You can also enroll in a PADI Advanced course after completing an SSI, RAID, or NAUI Open Water Diver course.

How to get scuba diving certification?

​The first step to get your scuba diving certification is to choose a dive training organization. There are many to choose from, but the most popular organizations are PADI, SSI, RAID, NAUI, and CMAS.

After choosing the right dive organization you need to choose a dive shop where you can get your scuba diving license. Choose a location in the world where to go for your scuba diving certification and then Google some dive shops beforehand. I highly recommend you to check reviews on Tripadvisor, Facebook, or other platforms before booking as everyone can make a nice website these days.

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​You can also choose to walk around when you get there and visit the different dive shops to make your choice. This way you can talk to your instructor and get a good feeling about the person. The teaching quality of scuba diving instructors can differ, so it is best to choose carefully.

How long does it take to become a certified scuba diver?

​How long does it take to become a certified scuba diver depends a lot on the dive shop that you choose. A PADI Open Water Diver certificate in Thailand takes around 3 to 4 days, while the same course with the same scuba diving certification requirements can take 3 weeks or even longer in Europe.

This is not because of a quality difference, but more because people that get the scuba diving license in Europe usually work or go to school. They don’t have full days for the course and do it in small parts in the evenings and on days off. While people that visit Thailand are on holiday and do have full days to get the scuba diving license.

If you choose to get other scuba diving license levels the course duration changes again. For example in Thailand to become a certified scuba diver takes 3 to 4 days, the Advanced Open Water course takes 2 days, the Rescue Diver course takes 4 days, Divemaster takes 6 weeks and the PADI IDC Course takes 3 to 4 weeks.

How much does it cost to get a scuba diving certificate?

​The scuba diving certification cost also differs depending on where you do your course to get a scuba diving certificate. The scuba diving license cost can be between 250 USD and 800 USD for the beginner certificate.

How much does it cost to get a scuba diving certificate?

​The reason why there is such a big difference between the scuba diving certification cost depends on different factors like the cost of organizing a diving course in a location, dive organization fees, a scuba diving instructor salary, course duration, etc.

​The lowest scuba diving license cost can be found in Asia. I highly recommend checking out Sairee Cottage Diving on Koh Tao in Thailand as they offer some of the best quality while offering great deals.

Does a scuba diving certification expire?

​It takes a bit of effort, time, and investment to complete your course, but after that, your scuba diving certification will never expire! Yes, you heard it correctly a scuba diving license is for life.

If you scuba dive regularly you will be constantly refreshing yourself. But we do recommend that if you haven’t dived for some time you should do a scuba diving refresher course before getting back into the water. It depends on your skills and comfort level how long you have to wait to do a scuba refresher, but the recommendation is 6 months after a period of no diving.

A dive instructor certification does expire if you don’t stay in teaching status. If you want to be 100% if your scuba diving license expires, then contact your dive training organization and they can give you the best advice.

What are the different types of scuba diving certifications?

​The different types of scuba diving certifications also differ depending on the dive organization you choose. However, most have similar scuba diving certification requirements, just with a different name.

What are the different types of scuba diving certifications?

​The most common types of scuba diving certifications are Open Water Diver, Advanced Open Water Diver, Rescue Diver, Divemaster, and OWSI Diving Instructor. Other different types of scuba diving certifications are diving specialty courses like Enriched Air Diver (Nitrox), Deep, Wreck, Navigation, Night, and so many more to choose from. Contact your dive shop and ask what different types of scuba diving certifications they offer.

How to prepare for scuba diving certification?

​In most cases, you don’t have to prepare for your scuba diving license. You can just walk into a dive shop and start the course. If you do decide to prepare for scuba diving license then your course will only become easier and more comfortable.

How to prepare for scuba diving certification?

​How to prepare for scuba diving certification can be done in different ways. First of all, you can look into a scuba diving certification online. With most dive training organizations you can now book an online scuba diving course like for example the PADI eLearning courses. Now you can prepare all your dive theory online before you arrive and only have to focus on the fun part which is the in-water part of the course.

You can also prepare your scuba diving license by watching diving skills video’s on our YouTube channel and reading about the PADI Open Water Diver skills list. Please also check our link menu for the different parts of the scuba diving license you would like to get. One of the best ways to prepare for your scuba diving certification is to watch our PADI Open Water Diver Course video:

Conclusion

​Getting your scuba diving certification is not hard, but it does take some time and investment. The reward, in the end, is priceless and after getting your scuba diving certification you can finally enjoy an amazing new world underwater.

Don’t wait any longer and contact your local dive shop for more information on how to get your scuba diving license. Enjoy your diving adventures!

Source https://divingcorner.com/scuba-diving-certification-levels/

Source https://divingcorner.com/scuba-diving-certification-levels/

Source https://www.scubadivingtips.net/scuba-diving-certification.html#:~:text=The%20most%20common%20types%20of%20scuba%20diving%20certifications,Night,%20and%20so%20many%20more%20to%20choose%20from.

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