How To Get Certified For Scuba Diving (Simple Guide!)

How To Get Certified For Scuba Diving

Do you love being in the ocean and explore the beautiful marine life underneath? Or do you like to get a closer look at the coral reefs and some sunken ships? If you do, then maybe it’s time you learn how to scuba dive and get certified.

Yes, you need to be a certified scuba diver to enjoy this sport. Although there are ways to try scuba diving without getting a license, it is best to get one and enjoy all the benefits of being a certified scuba diver. So, dive in if you want to learn more about how to get a scuba diving certification.

Why Get Scuba Certified

Why Get Scuba Certified

Many are probably hesitant to get scuba certified because of all the courses and certifications that one needs to go through. Well, that may be true, but everything you need to do to become a certified scuba diver is all for your own benefits and the welfare of the underwater world that you love so much and for other divers too.

There are so many reasons why becoming a certified scuba diver would be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make in your life. If you want to know why, here are some of its perks.

You can scuba dive safely

Scuba diving is not just about reaching the bottom of the ocean and enjoying beautiful marine life. There are several types of equipment that you need to understand, sea creatures to avoid, and a lot more. Not because you think you are a strong swimmer you can just tread the water and dive right in.

The first thing you need to consider when doing this water sport is your safety. When you become a certified scuba diver, you’ll understand the ocean more and you can identify which sea creatures to avoid. You can safely explore the ocean without harming yourself, the other divers, and also the aquatic creatures.

Gain new skills and learn more about the ocean

Before you get a scuba certificate, you need some basic scuba lessons that you can learn when you enroll in some courses. You will also gain an understanding of the basic principles of scuba, knowledge development, dive theory, and a lot more. You’ll also get to know the ocean better, find out about the sunken planes and ships, and other marine creatures that you never knew existed.

Everything you’ve learned from the course, you’ll be able to put into practice including how each piece of equipment works and different safety procedures. Some of the things you’ll learn from the training you will be able to apply in real life and not only when scuba diving. Who knows, you might be a dive instructor in the future.

Experience a different kind of adventure

Each diving experience is different and as you move on to advanced courses you get to try and explore the deeper part of the ocean. As you get scuba certified for different courses, the more you get to experience new adventures. You can try cave diving, night diving, technical diving, and even ice diving if you’re up for it.

There are endless possibilities of adventure as you get certified for more courses. The more training you get the more exciting and adventurous your scuba diving experience will be.

Explore beautiful places

Once you are scuba certified, you can travel to different beautiful places without trouble. Depending on your level you can try different scuba diving like wreck diving and cave diving. You get to explore new caves in a jungle, quarries, and if you are dry suit certified you get the chance to explore the magnificent Silfra Fissure.

It’s also a great opportunity to learn more scuba skills on your next dive vacation. Apart from exploring beautiful places, you also get to meet new people who share the same interests.

Get outdoors and stay fit

Scuba diving is a great activity to get outdoors. It is also one of the best forms of exercise. You get to enjoy the beauty of the outside world and stay fit at the same time. Whether you are exploring local dive sites or on a vacation in a different country discovering new ocean adventures, there’s no better way to enjoy the outdoors than scuba diving.

A great stress reliever

Sometimes you just need to unwind and get yourself far from the busy city life. Scuba diving is a great stress reliever and a way to relax and enjoy the magnificent underwater world. You get to disconnect from your usual day-to-day activities and just relax and enjoy the beautiful marine life that has to offer.

Scuba Certification and Levels

Scuba Certification and Levels

There are different certifications and levels in scuba diving. You can get certified through different training agencies like SSI, CMAS, PADI, and NAUI. Divers get a certification card as proof of their qualifications. Training agencies may have different courses to offer but you need to pass the training and final exam to get scuba certifications.

PADI or Professional Association of Diving Instructors is the biggest diving training organization in the globe. They offer scuba lessons that are given by a certified PADI instructor. The PADI System is based on step-by-step training that teaches necessary diving skills, local environmental awareness, and information about safety. PADI offers a number of training and certifications for different levels and activity types.

Recreational Scuba Diving Certification Levels


Junior PADI Scuba Diver

This is ideal for those who do not have enough time to learn scuba diving. Certified PADI scuba divers are only allowed to dive with a professional diver. They cannot go diving alone or just be with another certified diver. Professional guidance is always needed under this certification level. They are also only allowed to dive at a maximum depth of 40 feet.

Open Water Diver

After obtaining a PADI open water certification, you do not need the guidance of a professional diver. You can choose your preferred diving buddy and enjoy scuba diving on your own. In the PADI open water diver course, you will learn how to manage your scuba gear underwater, confined water dive, and open water dive.

With confined water dives, you start in a swimming pool or in water with similar conditions as you learn and practice your scuba skills. After that, you move on to experience open water dives like in lakes and oceans. Same with junior scuba divers, there’s a limit on how deep you can dive which is 40 feet for juniors and 59 feet for adults. Becoming

Continuing Education

Advanced Open Water Diver Certification

After you received your PADI open water certification, you can immediately enroll in the advanced PADI open water diver course. The goal of this course is to improve your buoyancy skills, boost your confidence when navigating the ocean, and introduce you to other diving activities like night diving, wreck diving, and underwater imaging. Getting an advanced open water diver certification will allow you to go as deep as 100 feet.

Rescue Diver

The water condition can be very unpredictable and you need to learn how to avoid and respond to potential water problems that you may face as a diver. In this diving course, you will be more confident with your diving skills and be a better dive buddy. You will learn how to identify and manage possible problems and practice emergency protocols in diving.


Dive Master

By gaining a divemaster certificate you get the chance to share passion, knowledge, and skills as a scuba diver. Once you become a divemaster, you’ll be assisting scuba training and classes as well as oversee diving activities. You get to be a leader and a mentor at the same time. You can start your diving career by becoming a divemaster.

Open Water Scuba Instructor

This course is divided into two parts. One for Assistant Instructor and the other one for Open Water Scuba Instructor or OWSI. The main difference between the two is that an Assistant Instructor is no allowed to certify divers in training. Only an OWSI or diving instructor can certify divers once they completed the course.

You can only move forward to becoming an Open Water Scuba Instructor once you’ve completed and get certified as an Assistant Instructor. Once a dive professional completed the IDC program they get to take the final exam which is the Instructor Examination. If you pass the exam, that’s the only time you can earn the PADI instructor certificate.

Specialty Instructor

If you love teaching and sharing interesting things in scuba diving, being a Specialty Instructor will allow you to do that. The great thing about this course is you get to choose specialty courses that interest you. There are over 25 PADI specialty diver course options for you.

In this course, you get to learn tips on teaching and hands-on experiences. This is your first step if you plan to become a Master Scuba Diver Trainer. To be an MSDT you need to complete at least 5 specialty courses and be certified for each.

Master Scuba Diver Trainer

This is considered the ultimate recreational diver rating. Reaching this rating takes hard work. In order to be qualified as a Master Scuba Diver Trainer, you need to be a PADI Instructor and certify at least 25 divers, and had earned a minimum of five Specialty Instructor certifications.

If you are serious about building a career in scuba diving and would want to step up as a TecRec Instructor and IDC Staff Instructor, becoming an MSDT is the first step. It is a prerequisite in order to advance to a higher rating.

IDC Staff Instructor

If teaching is your passion enrolling in the IDC Staff Instructor course will enrich your knowledge in the development process of becoming an instructor. It will also prepare you to shape and teach future PADI professionals. IDC Staff Instructors are the right hand of Course Directors or trainers in teaching new instructors.

Master Scuba Instructor

Be recognized as one of the elite scuba diving educators when you get certified as a PADI Master Scuba Instructor. To obtain this level you need to participate in 3 PADI seminars, teach 10 Emergency First Response courses, and issue 150 PADI certifications across different levels.

Becoming a Master Scuba Instructor rating proves your hard work, dedication, and a great example to other aspiring scuba diving professionals.

Course Director

This is the most respected and the highest professional rating in the recreational scuba diving world. In order to become one, you need to earn a spot and pass the PADI Course Director Training Course. Becoming a Course Director is not easy, you need to prove yourself in order to get a spot at CDTC.

Some of the requirements you need to apply for this course are the following:

  • Must be an EFR Instructor Trainer
  • PADI Master Instructor with solid teaching experience
  • Was able to assist numerous IDCs
  • Had work experience in a resort or PADI Dive Center
  • Has a minimum of 250 logged dives.

Other Courses and Certifications Available at PADI Dive Shop

Other Courses and Certifications Available at PADI Dive Shop


  • Bubblemaker Program
  • PADI Seal Team


  • Skin Diver
  • Basic Freediver
  • Freediver

Continuing Education

  • Enriched Air Diver
  • ReActivate Suba Refresher Courses
  • Dry Suit Diver
  • Night Diver
  • Wreck Diver
  • Drift Diver
  • Equipment Specialist
  • Cavern Diver
  • Boat Diver
  • Coral Reef Conservation
  • Ice Diver
  • Adventure Diver
  • Underwater Naturalist


  • Freediver Instructor Trainer
  • Master Freediver Instructor
  • Advanced Freediver Instructor
  • Tec Instructor
  • Emergency First Response Instructor

These are just some of the available courses that you’ll find at the PADI dive shop where you can purchase eLearning courses and complete your certification in the water with the guidance of an instructor.

Getting Started With Scuba Diving Certification

Getting Started With Scuba Diving Certification

If you want to earn your diving certificate you can start by enrolling in PADI Open Water DivereLearning. You can also check with your local PADI dive shop to enroll personally about the course and set a schedule with a PADI Instructor for your in-water training.

Enrolling with PADI’s eLearning will allow you to read home-study materials about the PADI open water diver course. You can also ask your PADI Instructor for any questions that come your way. A PADI professional instructor will also ensure that you understand all the important information about scuba diving and will check on your progress.

What to Expect on the Open Water Diver Course

In this course, you will learn everything that you need to know on how to explore the world underwater with the use of scuba. PADI Open Water Diver course is divided into three parts:

Knowledge Development

This part will cover terms, concepts, and principles that you need to know to dive safely and enjoy your underwater adventure.

Confined Water Dives

This time you get to practice your scuba skills in confined waters. This can be in a swimming pool or any water that has pool-like conditions. You’ll be able to perform confined dives as you hone your scuba diving skills.

Open Water Dives

When you’re done with confined water scuba dives, you now move on to open water dives. To complete your training, you will apply, practice, and show everything that you have learned with 4 open water dives that will be conducted at your local dive site or dive center.

If you pass and meet all the course requirements, that’s the time you get to be scuba certified. Completing the PADI Open Water Course you’ll be allowed and trained to dive with a maximum depth of 60 feet.

If you try to scuba dive at any resorts or at a PADI dive center, they will look for your certification before you can rent scuba equipment, book dive excursions, or fill scuba cylinders. Completing this scuba diving course would mean you can now experience better water conditions than during your open water training dives. This will be the start of your scuba diving adventures as a certified diver.

Requirements and Prerequisites for Open Diver Certification Course

  • You need to be at least 10 years or older
  • Must be physically and medically fit for diving
  • Must be able to commit at least 8 to 15 hours of their time

Scuba Equipment Needed for the Open Diver Certification Course

In this scuba course, you will be taught how to use the basic scuba gear like snorkel, fins, mask, scuba tank, buoyancy control device, and a regulator. The scuba gear you will wear will depend on where you’ll be scuba diving as they can in cold water, mild, and tropical.

You can always check with your local scuba dive center regarding the gear you will use in this course. You can also contact and get advice from your PADI Instructor about anything that you may need to complete this certification course.

Scuba Certification Cost

The PADI Open Water Diver cost is around $220. This eLearning fee will cover self-study course materials. Dive shops will be the ones to charge you with dive training fees.

Scuba Diving Equipment and Gear

Scuba Diving Equipment and Gear

You cannot dive without the right equipment and gear. You can either bring your own equipment or rent from a dive center. During your diving certification, you will also need to have your scuba gear ready.

Diving Mask

This is used to protect your eyes while diving since our eyes are not designed to see clearly underwater. This will cover your eyes so you can open them underwater and clearly see the beautiful aquatic life underneath. Be sure your mask fits you perfectly so water won’t be able to get inside.


Not all divers might wear a snorkel. But beginners are recommended to wear one. This will help you breathe easily underwater particularly when swimming facedown on the surface level. Another advantage of wearing a snorkel when diving is it can help you conserve the air inside your tank.

Scuba Gloves

It can be cold underwater and your gloves will help you stay warm. Aside from that, they can also help you avoid potential skin injuries as you dive into deeper and more challenging underwater conditions.

Wetsuit or Drysuit

So what’s the difference between the two? Not all bodies of water have the same water temperature. Some can be warmer while others are colder. Wetsuits are used for warmer water while drysuits are worn when diving on colder water.

Wetsuits are usually made of neoprene and are skin-tight. The material used in wetsuits allows your body to stay warm by locking a layer of water on your body.

Drysuits as the name suggests will keep you dry even as you dive in the water. Compared to wetsuits they are loosely fit and they act as incubators to keep you from getting cold.


Diving can be tiring and fins can help you from getting exhausted easily. Wearing fins while scuba diving will allow you to move with less effort and help you save your energy.

Scuba divers normally use two kinds of fins, the full foot, and open heel fins. Just like wetsuits or drysuits, these two types of fins are worn depending on the water’s temperature.

Open heel fins are worn for colder water and full foot fins on warmer water. Full foot fins cover your entire foot while open heel fins are opened on the heel part.

Dive Computer

If you’re planning to take scuba diving seriously and take several courses and training might as well purchase your own dive computer as renting one can be more expensive.

A dive computer will monitor the depth you are at, your dive duration, and how long you can still stay safely at a certain depth. There are also dive computers that can track the remaining air you still have on your tank.

Scuba Tank

A tank is a must for every scuba diver as this is where you store the air that you need to let you breathe underwater. It is normally made of aluminum or steel and it comes in different sizes and styles. Just like dive computers, best to purchase your own than to rent if you plan to do a lot of underwater activities. You can obtain air fills in different dive centers or dive shops.


A regulator is attached to your tank to let you breathe. It has two parts, the one that is connected to the tank that allows you to breathe in air and the other part that you put inside your mouth to breathe from. It is vital to choose a regulator that feels comfortable to you and that works properly.

Depth Gauge

A depth gauge will help you monitor the maximum depth that you reached during your scuba dive and will also specify the current depth you are at. A depth gauge can be analog or digital. It doesn’t matter whether you choose an analog or digital depth gauge.


Even when exploring the underwater world, you need a compass to help you navigate. This will prevent you from getting lost and get back safely after your scuba dive. Like the depth gauge, this is also available in analog and digital forms.

Submersible Pressure Gauge

The submersible pressure gauge of SPG for short will let you know how much air you still have in your tank. The SPG is very important so you can monitor the air you have left and make sure you still have enough to last until you end your scuba dive.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

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

It depends on the training agency. At PADI you can complete the course within 8 to 15 hours. After you complete the confined and open water dives, you can get your scuba diving license.

How much does it cost to get a scuba certification?

Pricing depends on the location and your chosen training agency. Online learning courses which include training materials usually range from $100-$200. However, dive operators will also charge you for the training fees.

How do you get scuba certified?

You need to enroll in an Open Water Diver Course and complete the training. Once you’ve completed the training and have passed the assessment, you can now be considered scuba certified.

Is it hard to get scuba certified?

Scuba diving is basically easy to learn than other water sports. However, not everyone may easily master the necessary skills needed to scuba dive. It’s not that hard to be scuba certified, but it would still depend on the diver’s skills, commitment, and determination to learn.

What should you look for in a dive operator?

There are lots of dive operators that offer different services, however, to make sure you get one of the best, look for PADI dive centers and resorts, check online reviews, the services they offer, and also find out how many boats they have and their sizes, and check the quality of their rental gear.

What is Divers Alert Network?

Divers Alert Network or DAN is a non-profit organization that is committed to improving the safety of all divers. They offer affordable insurance plans for divers in case they get into dive accidents.


Are you ready to get your scuba diving certification? Getting certified for scuba diving can get you to places and experience a different kind of adventure. You can also make a career out of diving if you are serious about it and enjoy the activity so much. The perks of being a certified scuba diver are endless. However, you should only do this if you are truly interested in the sport and not just because you know a lot of people who love diving.

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Lisa Hayden-Matthews

An avid Skier, bike rider, triathlon enthusiast, amateurish beach volleyball player and nature lover who has never lost a dare! I manage the overall Editorial section for the magazine here and occasionally chip in with my own nature photographs, when required.
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