Becoming a PADI Divemaster

I decided that I would detail my research, experiences and process of becoming a PADI Divemaster because there is little information on the Internet from the perspective of a candidate dive master.  In doing my research, I Googled various search terms that all lead me to pages of websites selling the opportunity to become a Divemaster.  I find that it is hard to actually glean much information from programs trying to sell a service.  I asked a number of my previous instructors to give me details of the program offered through my local dive center.  The responses I received were varied and different, even at the same school because much of the program is self-paced.  I learned that the training varies from school to school, which further confuses things.  I thought that there might be others out there in the same position, thus my blog series on becoming a Divemaster was decided.

North Shore, St. Croix, USVI

North Shore, St. Croix, USVI

3 basic requirements of a dive master candidate are as follows:

PADI Rescue Diver certification with a Emergency First Responder certification within the last 24 months.  This will include primary and secondary care (CPR and First Aid).

40 logged dives to begin the program 

Medical clearance from physician

9 requirements upon completion of program are as follows:

60 logged dives in various environments

Possess all diving equipment

Successfully complete Watermanship stamina exercises 

Prepare a successful Emergency Assistance Plan

Complete a successful Diver Rescue Assessment

Prepare a successful Mapping Project

Successfully complete the Practical Application Module leading, supervising and diver training in 11 dives

Underwater Equipment Exchange with buddy diver

Successful completion of Divemaster Conducted Program (Discover Snorkeling, Scuba Review, or Discover Local Diving program, or PADI Skin Diver course)

All competencies will be scored in the candidate program and all have to be mastered in order to successfully complete the certification.  Many of the above competencies have multiple components.  There is required reading and mastery of PADI materials, as always and candidates complete portions of their training online prior to application of skills with an instructor.  A candidate will receive required reading and reference from a couple dozen sources and manuals.

People who wish to become a PADI Divemaster can seek training through several sources.  I am taking the course from my local dive shop in Austin that has certified and qualified instructors.  Much of what I see on the Internet is instructor development types of camps that encapsulate the training and dive requirements into a block of training that is around 10-15 days.  I suspect that there is a lot of appeal in these programs because the locations are often exotic and beautiful.  I have been to a lot of training in my previous career such as this and the camaraderie can be fun and immersion in the materials can be learned quickly.  Other programs offer internships, which seem to amount to the ability to gain experience while also being an indentured servant for 4-8 weeks or more.  I always laugh when I see the word “internship” being tossed around as if most people don’t understand what it really means.  In my personal experience, it usually benefits the employer.

My program will take about 4-6 weeks.

The price for most of the training is $700-1500 (USD).  I have seen scholarships that are offered by private organizations and the Veteran’s Administration pays for this training for qualified Veterans.  I see a larger number of Veterans taking advantage of this opportunity because Veterans also receive a monthly stipend in addition to the course fees and equipment being paid to qualified schools.

I feel confident that I made a good choice in my training and I look forward to building my skills as a diver along the way.

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