The Different Scuba Diving Courses and Which is Best For You

Types of PADI Scuba Diving Courses

Making Sure You Choose the Right PADI Diving Course For You


There are dozens of scuba diving courses to choose from, so this article explains the difference between the different course so you can ensure you select the best scuba diving course for you. Some of the options including getting qualified to dive, learning to take underwater photos, learning to dive deeper and even becoming a professional dive instructor.


Scuba Diver Course

This course is really designed for people who don’t have time to complete the open water course. It teaches you the very basics of diving and once completed you can dive with a PADI Divemaster or Instructor to a maximum depth of the 12m. We don’t tend to offer this course as the way our courses are structured it only takes 1 more day to complete the full open water.

Open Water Diver

This is where your underwater adventures really start. The Junior version that means that anyone above the age of 10 is eligible to dive. The only other prerequisites are that you are in general good health (you can meet the requirements of the PADI medical form), you can swim 200m and float/tread water for 10 minutes.

The course consists of 3 parts; theory, confined water dives (such as a pool) and 4 open water dives. On completion you have a life-long qualification that enables you to dive around the world.

Advanced Open Water Diver

To become an Advanced Open Water diver you simply need to have completed your open water course. The main benefits are that you are then qualified to dive to 30m (yes it is worth being able to go that deep), you receive 5 more dives under instruction meaning that you become a much more competent, confident and ultimately and safer diver.

The course consists of 5 adventures dives. The Deep and Underwater Navigator are mandatory and then there are a choice of three others which depending on your interests, the local dive site, conditions and your instructor/dive school.

Rescue Diver

Once you’ve qualified as an Advanced Open Water diver you can progress to become a Rescue Diver. This is possibly the most challenging course you will undertake but the most rewarding. You’ll learn how to minimise your chances of an emergency, prevent others having problems and if they do you’ll know how to handle it. As well as being an Advanced Open Water Diver you’ll also need to have completed a valid First Aid course within the last 2 years.

Many parents choose to do this course as it means they can be much more responsible when diving with their children.


Master Scuba Diver

This is often referred to as the ‘Black Belt of Diving’ as it is the highest non-professional rating you can get. 

To become a Master Scuba Diver you need to have completed the Rescue Diver course, 5 specialty courses and 50 open water dives. With only 2% of all qualified divers achieving this level, you will be regarded as a the pinnacle of the diving world.

You can choose all of the 5 specialties which means you can have fun on the way as well as learning new skills that interest you.

Scuba Diving Specialties

Once you’ve learned to dive, you never stop learning and improving your skills. The Specialty Courses are designed to teach you new skills that you are interested in. There are literraly dozens to choose from including:

Deep Diver

Learn to dive to 40m, the deepest you can qualify to go to as a recreational diver. Learn how to deal with Narcosis and what to do if you accidently exceed your no decompression limits.

Fish Identification

Where every you decide to go you’ll always come across interesting and local species. One of the most common questions dive guides receive is ‘what was that’. The Fish ID course teaches you about local species and how to interact with them.

Night Diver

Many species come out at night and many others go to sleep. So diving at night gives you a totally different experience. Having a decent torch can light up the dive site and many divers love night diving just as much as diving during the day. This course teaches how to dive at night safely as well as navigating around the site.

Enriched Air Nitrox

This course teaches you to breath a different blend of air to reduce the amount of Nitrogen going in to your system. This ultimately means you can stay down longer and you have more no decompression time. The course teaches you how to avoid possible complications to having too much Oxygen, how to plan your dive and how to analyse your air.

Wreck Diver

There are hundreds of historical wrecks around the world, as well as amazing museum pieces they act as manmade reef systems that can attract corals and marine life. Wreck Diving isn’t without it’s risks so you’ll learn how to navigate around a wreck and exit safely.

Professional Scuba Diving Qualifications


This is the entry level for the professional diver rating. You’ll need to be a Rescue Diver with 40 dives by the time you start the course and 60 dives by the time you finish.

For those who wish to be the best diver they can be, or for those who wish to work as a Divemaster or progress to become an instructor then this is the course to take. As a qualified Divemaster you’ll be able guide dives, teach refresher courses and if you also do the DSD leader you can teach Discover Scuba experiences.

Open Water Scuba Instructor

 To become a dive instructor you need to be a Divemaster with a minimum of 100 dives. The course is normally completed over a few weeks or several weekends. At the end of it is a 2-day open water instructor exam. Once you’ve qualified as an instructor you can work anywhere around the world – subject to local employment laws!

You’ll get paid teaching the thing you love doing most, not many professions can offer that!


You can find out more on our PADI courses at



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