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What Is the Difference Between a PADI Divemaster and a PADI Instructor?

Are you thinking about transitioning from scuba diving being a hobby to making it a career? Are you trying to decide whether becoming a PADI Divemaster or PADI Instructor is the right role for you?



If you are feeling the calling to become a PADI Professional it’s important to understand the difference between working as a Divemaster and an Instructor. Both of these positions play an important part in the diving industry but in very different ways.


PADI Divemaster

A Divemaster is primarily a “dive leader”, who leads and is responsible for the safety of other certified divers. If you’ve ever taken an overseas trip where you’ve been allocated a dive guide, they are most likely a Divemaster. They know the dive sites like the back of their hand and they organize groups, logistics, and they manage any issues that might occur. They are responsible for the planning, dive briefings, rental gear allocation, boat coordination as well as the activities underwater.

PADI Divemasters are also able to assist PADI Instructors with courses, from the PADI Open Water Diver course through to continuing education courses. However, a Divemaster may not teach PADI core courses independently. So, if you want to lead dives and assist Instructors, (but teaching is not your calling) the PADI Divemaster is the right choice for you.


In order to become a Divemaster you must be 18 years of age or older, fit to dive, and hold the following certifications: Open Water Diver, Advanced Open Water Diver, Rescue Diver, and have your current EFR Primary and Secondary Care (CPR and first aid). You must also log 40 dives before you can start the PADI Divemaster program and 60 logged dives before the course is complete.

The PADI Divemaster course will take your dive skills to the next level as well as learning about planning and coordinating trips, reviewing your rescue skills and learning how a dive operation works from the inside.


Open Water Scuba Instructor

A PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor is able to teach all PADI core courses from Open Water Diver up to PADI Divemaster level. The primary role of an Instructor is to teach, although in some areas, Instructors will also guide certified divers on dive trips.

As a diving Instructor you have the ability to give someone the gift of becoming a scuba diver! You also help people to build confidence, overcome fears and experience an entirely new world. If you are a people-person and you like to teach, then this is the role for you.


To become a PADI Instructor you will first need to gain your PADI Divemaster certification. PADI Divemasters with at least 100 logged dives are able to enrol in a PADI IDC (Instructor Development Course). The IDC also includes the PADI Assistant Instructor course as well as the Instructor component. If you are short on time or finances, you are able to take the IDC in two steps by becoming an Assistant Instructor first and then an Instructor later.

During your PADI IDC you will learn how to conduct PADI courses in a safe and professional manner and you’ll build on the skill demonstrations you learnt in the PADI Divemaster course. You will also gain a better understanding of the diver educational and training programs offered by PADI.

Upon successful completion of the IDC you’ll take a PADI IE (Instructor Examination) to confirm that you have understood and can carry out what you learned during the IDC.

Have you decided which is the right career for you? Learn more about the PADI Divemaster and Open Water Scuba Instructor course so you can start your scuba diving career!



Credits: PADI Blog - May 2021

Author: Sarah Wormald

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