Congratulations! You’re now officially an Open Water Diver. After enjoying a few dives, you may be wondering – what’s next? The PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course would be the natural next step, but there are a breadth of other options you can choose from. Depending on your underwater aspirations, you can either pursue an advanced recreational level all the way until you are a Master Scuba, or you can continue on as a professional scuba diver through to being an Open Water Scuba Instructor or even a Course Director.
Open Water Diver (OWD) Certification
In case you haven’t already completed this level of certification, the OWD course will teach you how to manage yourself and your scuba gear below the surface. After successful completion of this course, you will be an independent certified diver – meaning you can have free choice of any certified diving partner and go diving together, without another group, instructor, or professional diver.
Advanced Open Water Diver (AOWD) Certification
This certification level of recreational scuba diving will increase your depth limit from 18 meters (59 feet) to 30 meters (100 feet), giving you the freedom to dive deeper than the OWD certification. This course will also improve your knowledge of diving and increase your comfort in this field.
PADI Enriched Air Diver
This course is one of the most popular specialized courses, as it will give you the skills to stay underwater longer. This course will teach you how to use the extra oxygen, and the considerations to be made in relation to gear, oxygen percentages, depth limits, and setting your dive computer accurately.
TIP: This course can be completed in as little as a day!
Rescue Diver Course
This course focuses on safety and rescue skills, and increases your ability to care for yourself and others underwater. Upon completion of this course, you will have the capacity to prevent problems and deal with underwater emergencies.
In order to become a certified Master Scuba Diver, you must have five specialties within PADI, in addition to being a Rescue Diver (described above). Some of these can include Deep, night or wreck diving specializations.
Completed all of the recreational levels? There are also professional scuba diving certification levels you can aspire to.
After completing your Diver Master certification, you can begin working in the diving industry. This can often begin as a group guide, while assisting dive instructors during their classes.
After assisting as a Dive Master group guide, you can now begin as an assistant instructor. As an assistant instructor, you can give theoretical classes, evaluate performance on surface exercises, and assist diving instructors.
Open Water Scuba Instructor (OWSI)
At this level of professional certification, you are allowed to certify others. As a part of this certification, you will complete the “Instructor Development Course” (IDC) in order to become a full Dive Instructor. You must become certified by an official PADI examiner in order to achieve this level of certification, but upon being awarded the title of OWSI you can teach, trail, and certify multiple scuba diving levels as well.
Master Scuba Diver Trainer
This is the next level of professional scuba diver certification, and it comes after you have completed your MSDT course, have certified 25 or more divers, and have completed at least five PADI Specialty Instructor courses.
IDC Staff Instructor
At this level, you will be the right hand man to the Course Director As an IDC Staff Instructor, you will assist the trainers and Course Directors in teaching new instructors.
Master Scuba Instructor
After issuing 150 PADI certifications, teaching 10 or more courses in Emergency First Response, and having been a part of 3 or more PADI seminars, you will officially be a Master Scuba Instructor.
The ultimate level of certification is to be a Course Director, the professional who teaches and trains all instructors and oversees all scuba programming. To achieve this level of certification, you must pass the PADI “Course Director Training Course”.
Achieving Open Water Diver Certification is a great accomplishment, and is the key to opening doors to either a master recreational level or a professional level of certified scuba diving. After celebrating with some great dives, check out what the next level of certification might be for you!
About the Author
Aimee Laurence has worked in lifestyle journalism for the last 5 years, writing primarily at Thesis Writing Service and Assignment Writer. Her writing centers on water sports and diving excursions. She also works as a freelance HR rep at the Paper Fellows portal.