Types of Scuba Diving Certification
Scuba diving is a recreational sport where you get to see the wonders and secrets of this marine universe up close, with its breathtakingly colourful and diverse inhabitants. But along with such a wholesome experience also comes safety regulations and guidelines, which inevitably gave birth to international organizations like PADI: Professional Association of Diving Instructors, SSI: Scuba Schools International and others, so that diving as a domain is explored further, sustainably with necessary precautions. These organizations provide scuba diving and freediving certification, teach the skills involved in diving and support dive businesses and resorts. Each diver has a certification card, which ensures his qualification and credibility in performing various types of dives. Certifications are helpful in maximizing safety during the practice of this sport and if you’ve been contemplating on which diving course to take, then you’ve to the right place amigo. There are three main types of Scuba diving certification: Recreational, Technical and Professional.
Recreational Scuba Diving Certification Levels
The PADI recreational diving certification levels are as follows (SSI and other diving organizations have similar levels in qualifications and certifications):
Discover Scuba Diver
This course is for those who do not have much time. You’ll be able to dive to a maximum depth of 12m / 40 feet. You cannot go diving on your own and will always be accompanied by a professional diver.
Open Water Diver
When you finish this course, you will be an independent certified diver, which means that you can choose your dive partner freely and just go diving by yourselves, without the presence of a professional diver. The depth limitations at this level are 18m / 59ft for adults and 12m / 40ft for juniors.
Complete three Adventure Dives (underwater photography, fish identification, etc.) and earn the Adventure Diver certification, a subgroup of the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver Course.
Advanced Open Water Diver
This recreational scuba diving certification level will help you to improve your experience as a diver and expand your knowledge in this field. The biggest difference with the previous level is that being an AOWD you can dive deeper with the new depth limit being 30 meters or 100 feet.
The Rescue Diver course focuses its content on developing your rescue skills. When you finish this course, you will be a much safer diver capable of preventing problems and dealing with emergencies in the unlikely case that they occur.
Master Scuba Diver
This is the highest recreational scuba diving certification level. In addition to being a “Rescue Diver”, if you have 5 specialty courses like deep, night or wreck diving, then you can certify yourself as “Master Scuba Diver”.
Professional Scuba Diving Certification Levels
When you are certified as a Dive Master you can start working in the diving industry and will be able to help the Dive Instructors during their classes by becoming a group guide.
Those who teach and train future divers are diving instructors. However, they often need assistants. This is the role played by this professional once certified. An Assistant Instructor is eligible to give theoretical classes to future divers during their training. In addition, he or she can also evaluate their performance in surface exercises.
Open Water Scuba Instructor (OWSI)
This is the Scuba Diving certification level that allows you to certify others. Here, you will be the teacher and can grant the different scuba diving certification levels as well.
Master Scuba Diver Trainer
Those PADI Instructors who have certified 25 divers or more along with having completed at least five PADI Specialty Instructor courses can be “Master Scuba Diver Trainers”.
IDC Staff Instructor
An IDC Staff Instructor is for a Course Director what an Assistant Instructor is for an Instructor. They are the people who help the trainers or Course Directors to teach to the new Instructors.
Master Scuba Instructor
This Scuba Diving Certification Level Recognizes you as an Elite Diving Instructor. Having issued 150 PADI certifications of different levels, taught 10 courses of “Emergency First Response” and has participated in 3 PADI seminars are the requirements to obtain this level of professional diving certification.
Course Directors are professionals who have gained enough experience to teach PADI Instructor Development Courses They are the people who are in charge of training and guiding future diving instructors. To achieve this scuba diving certification level, you’ll be required to pass a PADI “Course Director Training Course”.
Technical Diving certifications
Technical (tec) scuba diving involves going a step beyond recreational scuba diving limits and includes diving beyond 40 metres/130 feet. Technical Diving courses are done by experienced divers who want to go beyond their current limits and are willing to accept the added risks, training, investment and commitment it demands. They use extensive procedures, equipment and training to manage potential hazards. Some of the technical diver courses are:
Tec 40/ Tec 45/ Tec 50
Tec Trimix 65/ Tec Trimix Diver
Tec Gas Blender
Rebreather Diver/ Advanced Rebreather Diver
Rebreather Qualifier/ Rebreather Refresher
Tec 40 CCR/Tec 60 CCR/ Tec 100 CCR
Tec CCR Qualifier/ Tec CCR Refresher
These courses range from learning decompression dives upto 40 metres/130 feet to learning to make dives with hypoxic trimix/heliox to a maximum depth of 100 metres/330 feet while managing more than one bailout cylinders and completing multiple decompression stops.