PADI Instructor is a wonderful job. You can travel the world, enjoy the underwater world and share your passion with others. But as an instructor, you also have the responsibility to ensure the fun and safety of your students.

Becoming a PADI instructor with little or no previous diving experience is possible, but it requires some investment of time and money. To teach scuba diving – or any sport – you have to be an expert yourself, and you simply don’t become an expert just in a few weeks.

The road to becoming a PADI Instructor

The path to becoming a PADI Instructor begins with the following courses:


PADI Open Water Diver

PADI Open Water Diver is the first scuba certification level. A highly-trained PADI Instructor will teach you how to scuba dive in a relaxed, supportive learning environment.

By the end of the course, you’ll have the skills and knowledge to dive at home or abroad and be an ambassador for the underwater world.

  • Requirements: at least 10 years old, able to swim, medically fit for diving
  • Duration: 3 days – 5 pool dives, 4 open water dives
  • Cost indication: 525 $US

PADI Advanced Open Water Diver

The Advanced Open Water Diver course is all about advancing your skills. You’ll practice navigation and buoyancy, try deep diving and make three specialty dives of your choosing.

Here are a few of the many options: Deep, Digital Underwater Photography, Dive Against Debris, Dry Suit, Enriched Air Nitrox, Fish Identification, Night, Peak Performance Buoyancy, Search & Recovery, Underwater Naturalist, Underwater Navigation, and Wreck Diver.

  • Prerequisites: Open Water Diver, minimum age 12 years
  • Duration: 2-3 days – 5 open water dives
  • Cost indication: 525 $US

Emergency First Response Provider

To become a PADI Rescue Diver you will need proof of First aid and CPR training, less than 24 months old.

If you don’t have this certification you can do a first aid and CPR training from Emergency First Response (EFR), before the start of your PADI Rescue course.

  • Prerequisites: none
  • Duration: 1 day
  • Cost indication: 208 $US

PADI Rescue Diver

The PADI Rescue Diver course will change the way you dive – in the best possible way. Learn to identify and fix minor issues before they become big problems, gain a lot of confidence and have serious fun along the way.

  • Prerequisites: Advanced Open Water Diver
  • Duration: 2-3 days
  • Cost indication: 525 $US

PADI Divemaster

PADI Divemaster is the first professional level in the PADI system. In you Divemaster course you will learn how to lead underwater tours, assist with scuba classes and inspire others to care about the ocean. You will finetune your diving skills and be the diver everyone admires.

PADI Divemaster is the most popular and most recognized professional scuba certification in the world. PADI Divemasters enjoy abundant career opportunities, get paid to scuba dive and share their love for the ocean.

Divemaster: The first pro level

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PADI Instructor Levels

Being a PADI DIVEMASTER enables you to begin with the following courses:


PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor (OWSI)

If you like people, have a passion for scuba diving and want an extraordinary life – become a PADI Instructor. Teaching scuba diving allows you to share your love of the aquatic world with others while doing what you enjoy – being in, around and under water. PADI Open Water Scuba Instructors and PADI Assistant Instructors are the most sought-after dive professionals around the world because they’ve completed the program that sets the standard for training dive professionals. You earn a PADI Instructor rating through hard work and commitment, but you’re rewarded with a job that lets you share incredible underwater adventures with others – transforming their lives for the better and enriching yours.

The way to become an  Open Water Scuba Instructor is to enroll in an Instructor Development Course (IDC). After completing the IDC you can attend an Instructor Examination (IE), which is the final step to earn a PADI Instructor certification.


A PADI Divemaster who has been a certified diver for six months may enroll in the PADI Instructor Development Course. You also need:

  • At least 60 logged dives and 100 dives to attend an IE.
  • Emergency First Response Primary and Secondary Care (CPR and First Aid) training within the past 24 months.
  • A medical statement signed by a physician within the last 12 months.
  • You also need to be an Emergency First Response Instructor, but you can earn this rating during your IDC.

PADI Specialty Instructor

PADI Instructors,  and instructor candidates enrolled in an IDC, are eligible to enroll in certain specialty instructor courses.

Teaching Specialty courses allow you to share what interests you. You can choose from Specialties like Deep, Navigation, Wreck, Drift diving, Photography, Search and Recovery and many more. The best way to learn how to teach specialty diver courses is to take a specialty instructor course from your PADI Course Director. Specialty instructor courses provide teaching tips and hands-on experience that you can implement right away. 

Some specialties have additional prerequisites and exit requirements – ask your PADI Course Director for details.

PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer (MSDT)

The PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer rating sets you apart as a dive instructor who takes continuing education seriously and is committed to teaching a variety of courses. (Potential employers like this.)

All PADI Instructors who have certified at least 25 PADI Divers and have earned at least five PADI Specialty Instructor certifications can be Master Scuba Diver Trainers. This rating is the next step up the professional ladder and is a prerequisite for IDC Staff Instructor as well as for many TecRec Instructor ratings.

PADI IDC Staff Instructor

As the name implies, IDC Staff Instructors assist with instructor training and share their wisdom and experience with new PADI instructors. Taking the IDC Staff Instructor course provides you with in-depth knowledge of the instructor development process and prepares you to shape the next generation of PADI Professionals. It’s also a great career move. In many dive centers IDC Staff Instructors take on a roll as senior instructors or assistant managers.

Master Scuba Diver Trainers (MSDTs) who are ready to be excellent role models and agree to use the PADI System and components in their entirety may enroll in an IDC Staff Instructor course.

PADI IDC: become an Instructor

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