I am a PADI Course Director. Whenever I speak to a manager from an SSI dive center they start explaining why they think SSI is much better than PADI. My standard reply is “ I really don’t care !! SSI or PADI, divers are divers!! “ 

But for future diving instructors, is there a difference?

It’s all diving

Both PADI and SSI are internationally recognized scuba diving training agencies. The worldwide scuba diving training standards are determined by the WRSTC – World Recreational Scuba Training Council. Both PADI and SSI are members of WRSTC and follow their standards.

Sure, there are minor differences. Truth is, whatever training agency you work with, the quality of the training is mostly dependent on YOU, the diving instructor! You can make courses fun! You can inspire your students with your fascination for marine life! you can do a course …. or you can create scuba divers for life!

Coke or Pepsi?

Most people will order a ‘Coke’ in a restaurant. You have to be a very fanatic Pepsi lover to order a Pepsi. Same with diving. People walk into a diving center asking for their ‘PADI’. They are market leader and have by far the best ‘brand awareness’. To get an idea, have look at their facebook pages. SSI has about 200.000 followers on facebook. Pretty awesome! PADI has almost 2 MILLION!

Many dive center owners don’t like that PADI is more expensive. They choose SSI and accept that it has less brand awareness, less legal support, less quality control, etc. I can understand that. Again: “I don’t care! Divers are divers”.


Who cares?

Who cares wich training organisation is bigger? It’s all the same, right?

Sure! But for you as a diving instructor it does make a difference. Ask yourself why do you want to become a diving instructor? If you are doing it as a hobby and you are working together with a dive center in Europe that happens to be SSI or CMAS or whatever, go with that! Big or small, it doesn’t matter. Maybe you have done all your courses – Open Water to Divemaster or Dive Leader – with one specific agency. Then you know their system of education. It makes becoming an instructor for this agency a lot easier!

However, if you are planning to travel the world and work in many different locations, earning a living as a diving instructor then maybe bigger is better. Have a look at the area where you would like to work. How many dive centers are there and which agency do they teach?

Why not both?

Actually many dive instructors nowadays choose to be both PADI and SSI. I think this is very smart! And I am pretty sure that teaching both ‘styles’ gives you the best chance to get a job.

If you are a PADI instructor you can do a ‘cross-over’ to SSI in one or two days. How much this will cost you is dependant of the diving center, off course.

It is important to know that it is NOT POSSIBLE to do a one or two day cross-over from SSI to PADI. There is simply no such program. So if you want to teach both, become a PADI instructor FIRST and then cross over.

Your decision

Some people like Coke, some people like Pepsi. There are many different opinions in the diving industry and not everybody is well informed. Many people have a strong preference for one specific training organisation and will try to convince you to ‘join their camp’. Truth is: diving is diving. If you love to dive and you love working with people then you will love being a dive instructor! What ‘agency’ you are working with is not going to change that.

So, make up your own mind! Think about what you would like to do as a diving instructor. Where would you like to work? Is it your hobby or profession? How many years do you think you will work in the diving business?

If you have questions about training agencies or cross-overs, let me know! I am happy to help you further.

Asia Scuba Instructors Blog is written by Course Director Marcel Jansen. Asia Scuba Instructors runs PADI Instructor Courses in multiple locations around Asia.

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