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So you're a Divemaster....what's next?

BCD, CESA, BWRAF, VENTID, DM…The acronym list goes on and on!

We've got another blog that talks about the characteristics of potential Divemaster candidates titled ‘Have you got what it takes?’ This time, I am going to discuss what the next PADI professional-level steps are and add to the list of acronyms above.

Divemaster (DM) - as we know, this is the first professional certification and the end result is an experienced diver who can assist and supervise dive training, conduct a number of programmes and generally help around the dive centre. From here, the training gets a little more intense but the opportunities afterward also greatly expand.

Assistant Instructor (AI) – this is the next step on the PADI Pro list and results in professionals who can conduct the Seal Team and Bubblemaker programmes, independently teach the Project AWARE, Coral Reef and Peak Performance Buoyancy courses, present knowledge development elaboration from any course as well as many more professional duties. The Assistant Instructor course must be taught at PADI 5 Star Dive Centres at a minimum – this reflects the professional image and reputation that would be expected of these locations.

Open Water Scuba Instructor (OWSI) - Think back to when you did your Open Water course, and if you can easily find your certification card, have a look at the ‘Instructor number’ section. Does it begin with OWSI-******? If so, the PADI professional who certified you as an Open Water diver was an Open Water Scuba Instructor – this level sets professionals apart from AI’s as they would have gone through an independent assessment of their teaching ability with PADI staff during an Instructor Examination (IE). The OWSI qualification is a fully qualified instructor – authorised to teach the full range of PADI core courses including Divemaster. They can teach all modules and elements of the Open Water, Advanced and Rescue courses, as well as teaching everything covered by previous pro levels.

Combining the AI and OWSI courses is what we call an IDC – Instructor Development Course. To be eligible to enroll on this, an individual must have at least 60 dives to start and 100 dives to attend an IE. (Don’t worry, I’ll recap all of the new abbreviations at the end!) The IDC can only be taught at PADI 5 Star Instructor Development Centres at a minimum due to the increased professionalism and requirements of this course. The IDC is taught over at least 5 days followed by the two-day impartial Instructor Examination conducted by PADI staff.

Speciality Instructor (SI) – I’m sure many of you reading this will have at least one PADI speciality; perhaps Drysuit is the most likely, or Enriched Air. Regardless as to which ones you have earned, an Open Water Scuba Instructor would have had to go through more training to be able to teach it. Each diver-level speciality requires the instructor to participate in a course to hold the corresponding Speciality Instructor rating (there are some exceptions to this but you’ll find out more when you get to this level!)

Master Scuba Diver Trainer (MSDT) – This professional rating is recognition from PADI that an instructor holds speciality ratings in 5 areas and certified at least 25 divers.

IDC Staff Instructor (IDCS) – in the same way that Divemasters assist with entry-level student divers, Staff Instructors assist with instructor candidates. The course focusses on evaluation and presentation techniques as well as assessing instructor-level dive theory and understanding.

Master Instructor (MI) – This professional rating is not a course but another recognition from PADI that an instructor, through dedication and hard work, has proven to be a dive industry leader. 150 student certifications, attendance at PADI seminars and continued use of the entire PADI system are just a few of the requirements.

If you want to find out more about them, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to explain further.

David Kendrick-White

PADI Course Director

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