Becoming a PADI Professional

Become a PADI® Pro and Start Living Your Dream

There are many reasons to become a divemaster or scuba instructor: to work and travel, to share your love of the underwater world with others, or simply for the personal challenge. Along the way, you’ll meet other adventurers like you and work with experienced instructors who will help you find the job of your dreams.








Your Scuba Career Starts Here



Open Water Scuba Instructor

The first PADI Instructor level is Open Water Scuba Instructor (OWSI). At this level, you can issue scuba certifications from Open Water to Divemaster and a few select specialty courses.

Specialty Instructor Card
Specialty Instructor

The ability to teach popular specialty courses such as Enriched Air Nitrox and Night Diver can increase the number of job opportunities available. New instructors may earn specialty instructor certifications by working with a PADI Course Director.

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Master Scuba Diver Trainer

All PADI Instructors who have certified at least 25 PADI Divers and have earned at least five PADI Specialty Instructor certifications qualify to be Master Scuba Diver Trainers (MSDTs). This level is a prerequisite to becoming a PADI IDC Staff Instructor. 

IDC Staff Instructor Card
IDC Staff Instructor

Becoming an IDC Staff Instructor allows you to work with a PADI Course Director to assist them with instructor-level training. You will also be able to teach and certify PADI Assistant Instructors. 



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PADI Divemaster - Find Out What It Takes

Interested in diving like a pro or making diving your career? Find out what it takes to earn the world's most popular professional-level diver rating with this free Introduction to Divemaster program.



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Join the Elite: Become a Course Director

Experienced Master Instructors who have issued 150+ certifications, worked at a PADI Dive Center or Resort and assisted with several IDCs may apply to be instructor trainers - known as Course Directors. These elite instructors are the dive industry’s most respected role models.



Divemaster and Dive Instructor FAQs

Your questions, answered


What’s the difference between a divemaster and Master Scuba Diver?

The PADI Master Scuba Diver rating is a recreational diving achievement. It’s the “black belt” of scuba diving. Divemaster is the first step on the professional ladder and a prerequisite to becoming a scuba instructor. Both are a major achievement, but for different reasons.

How long does it take to become a divemaster?

If you’re at least 18 years old, have 40 logged dives, hold a Rescue Diver (or equivalent certification) and proof of Emergency First Response (or equivalent CPR and first aid training) within the past 24 months, you can complete the PADI Divemaster course in as a little as two weeks.

Some divers prefer to complete their divemaster training a little at a time and may take six months or more to finish. As with all PADI courses, the timeline is up to you.

View more information about prerequisites and what’s involved in becoming a divemaster.

How long does it take to become a scuba instructor?

If you’re already a PADI Divemaster (or hold a leadership-level certification with another training agency), you can become a PADI Instructor in about 11 days. Or, you can complete your training gradually over a series of weekends. 

During your instructor course you will complete independent study using the IDC eLearning materials (it takes about 10-12 hours to complete) while spending several days (minimum 6 days) practicing teaching presentations, completing workshops and perfecting your dive skills together with your PADI Course Director. A final step is to attend and pass the PADI Instructor Examination (IE) which takes place over two consecutive days. 

You’ll need at least 100 logged dives to start the IDC and proof of Emergency First Response (or equivalent CPR and first aid training) within the past 24 months. If you don’t already have these things, your training time may be longer. View a complete list of prerequisites to become a PADI Instructor

Essential Gear

As a dive professional, you’ll want to have all your basic scuba equipment, including a dive computer, a dive tool/knife, and at least two surface signaling devices. During practical exercises, like underwater mapping and search and recovery, you’ll use a compass, floats, marker buoys, lift bags and slates. Your PADI Instructor may suggest additional gear that will be useful throughout your diving career.

Check with your local dive center to get advice about everything you’ll need as a dive pro.

How much do divemasters/scuba instructors make?

This is a challenging question to answer because PADI Pros work all over the world in a variety of jobs. 

  • You might live and work on a liveaboard boat (where meals are included and you also have a place to live). 
  • At a local dive shop, you might get paid extra for selling dive gear or repairing equipment. 
  • Experienced scuba instructors with a captain’s license can make very good money working on a superyacht and teaching private classes.

It’s also important to consider the personal benefits of completing divemaster or dive instructor training. One of the most common things we hear from PADI Pros is how their training helped them succeed in the “real world.” 

During the IDC, you’ll learn how to:

  • Break down complex information into simple concepts 
  • Help people embrace new ideas by comparing them to things they already understand
  • Give feedback in a positive and supportive way
  • Appeal to people with different learning styles
  • Establish a positive learning environment
  • Polish your public speaking skills

Learn more about how becoming a PADI Instructor benefits you in the real world. Or, read up on the many (many) career options for PADI Pros including, marine biologist, underwater crime scene investigator, stunt person and underwater archeologist.

How do I find a scuba diving job?

PADI Divemasters and Instructors have access to the PADI Pros’ Site which has an online job board. This page is updated daily with job opportunities from around the world. You can post your availability and qualifications, or simply browse for jobs that interest you. 

What tools do I get as a PADI Professional?

PADI Pros can rely on a dedicated regional customer service, training and marketing support team. 

  • Have a question about paperwork or student ratios? Just call or email. 
  • Want to level-up your marketing? Customizable marketing materials are at your fingertips. Download email and social media copy, images, videos, and more.
  • Ready to escape office life? Visit PADI’s online employment board.



Tips from the Pros

Jumpstart your scuba career 

Divemaster Internship Card
PADI Divemaster Internships

Read interviews with PADI Divemasters

IDC Card
What to Consider Before Taking Your PADI Instructor Development Course

Important considerations before you enroll in an IDC

Jobs for scuba divers card
Top 7 Jobs for Scuba Divers

Career opportunities in scientific research, public safety and more