Becoming a PADI Divemaster means you are officially a professional diver. If you are looking to make a career out of diving, becoming a PADI Divemaster is the best way to make this happen. Some people become a PADI Divemaster for the fun of it, whilst most are looking for a way to turn a passion into a career.
Below you will find a complete STW guide to all questions commonly asked before starting the PADI Divemaster training. Becoming a professional diver can be daunting, we know. But we have tried to create this guide to help future divemasters. Maybe you are looking to take diving a step further. Or maybe you are just curious to see if you have what it takes. Whatever the reason, we hope this article helps you. What are you waiting for? Take the plunge below!
What Is PADI Divemaster?
Firstly, we want to clear up what this course entails and what getting PADI Divemaster certified means.
The PADI Divemaster course is the first step on the professional ladder. Meaning, in short, you can be paid to dive. Sounds like the dream right? A very similarly sounding qualification exists called PADI Master Scuba Diver. This course is the highest you can reach being a non-professional diver. Meaning you cannot be paid to dive or teach diving. Furthermore, less than 2% of divers ever get his qualification. With most becoming PADI Divemasters instead, got to pay the bills somehow, am I right?
Whist both courses sound very similar, they are in fact different. Some divers have no interest in teaching divers, they just want to dive and have fun. There is nothing wrong with this, but some are looking to live the diving lifestyle full time and get paid whilst doing it. That’s not to say PADI Divemasters don’t have fun. But, they have the responsibility of looking after others and well… Being a professional diver.
PADI Divemasters learn a huge amount during the course, from things such as mapping dive sites to conducting dive briefs. We will cover all this later in the article.
What do PADI Divemaster’s do?
Being a PADI Divemaster means you will be responsible for all of the diving activities of the dive centre. This means you will be conducting dives with clients. Organising the dive locations and equipment and just generally running the show. This sounds like a lot, and it is! PADI Divemasters are always working so if your thinking this sounds easy, we have some unfortunate news.
PADI Divemasters are responsible for the day to day running of the business. They are not responsible for teaching new divers. They will not be teaching new OpenWater divers, rather helping PADI Instructors in teaching. You can also lead qualified divers and have the possibility to teach the PADI Discover Snorkelling programs. Many Divemasters also take an active role in leading Discover Scuba Diving, in which a Divemaster will supervise persons first ever dive in a confined environment.
Divemasters are effectively the workforce of a Dive Centre. Conducting all day to day operations. Most logistical elements, ‘background’ work and daily duties will be performed by the Divemasters. If all this hard work sounds like fun, read on!
What Qualifications Do I Need to Become a PADI Divemaster?
In order to become a PADI Divemaster, you need to complete a few things first. Most of these you will have already, providing you are PADI Rescue Diver certified.
To become a PADI Divemaster, you will first need to be Rescue diver certified or equivalent. You need to hold a registered first aid and CPR certification too. This need to have been completed with 24 months. You have to complete this qualification when doing Rescue Diver, so you will have this already.
Next, you need to have a minimum of 40 logged dives. So if you haven’t yet reached this, better book in some fun dives! The 40 dives minimum requirement is to ensure you feel comfortable in the water. It also shows you have the experience necessary to begin the training.
What are the Age Requirements?
Applicants have to be above the age of 18 (sorry young ones!) too. This is due to the demanding workload and experience you must have before taking this course. A 12-year-old diver in a wetsuit too big for him doe does not instil confidence in people. Especially ones who have never dived before. If you are under 18 and reading this, be patient. Your time will come!
The last thing you need is a medical statement saying you are fit to dive. If you have all this, you can apply!
Aside from the qualifications and medical notes. The last thing you need to possess is the right attitude. This sounds like a cliche and it is. But being a Divemaster is hard work. You have to contend with long hours and demanding work. There is an implied physicality to the job and you have to be strong, mentally and physically. Diving all day is demanding and after there will be cleaning to do and equipment to sort. The pay is probably not what you are used to if coming from Westernised countries, but you will not be doing this for the money. This is for the love of diving and the Oceans.
If you can hack all this work and then some, then PADI Divemaster training could be for you.
How Long Does PADI Divemaster Take?
As people have varying schedules or time allowances there is no real limit. With some wanting to complete the course as fast as possible, whilst others are on open-ended travels.
This course can be completed around the 4-week mark. Although this is hard work and you will feel rushed. That’s not too say that this is undoable, rather you will be diving every day with no days off. If you can do this, there is no reason that you can not become a PADI Divemaster in 4 weeks.
Most opt for a longer course, around the 6-8 week mark. This allows for a more relaxing atmosphere with a few days off thrown in. The information will be the same, although you will have more time to process and absorb the training.
You can also go the opposite route and take up to 6 months if you have other commitments. If you’re more of a weekend warrior and can only do a few days a week, that’s fine too.
As mentioned previously, you need 40 dives to begin the training, to ensure you are comfortable in the water. You have to have a minimum of 60 dives logged in order to pass the certification, however this will be reached during the course.
Ultimately, everyone is different and has a different criteria to learn. If you are really pushed for time and need an intensive 4-week course. This can be done with the right attitude. But if you have more time, many find a longer course to be more enjoyable. This is done to you and will vary from person to person.
Is PADI Divemaster Hard?
The PADI Divemaster course is designed to enhance all aspects of your diving. You will learn a huge amount and be expected to show your skills in various settings. There are exams to pass, new knowledge to be learnt and fitness tests to pass. If you are doing all this in a short amount of time, it will be even more challenging.
The theoretical knowledge is a big jump from Rescue Diver and can confuse people, but as long as you stick with the program. You’ll pick it up eventually.
Like everything in life, some people are better at certain things than others. Some divers have no problems with the mathematical side of things. Yet they struggle with the physical tests and dive training.
For example, here is an outline is what candidates are expected to do in regards to demonstrating fitness capabilities.
- Swim 400 meters unassisted, nonstop using any strokes or a combination of. If you are in good swimming shape, this should be okay. But 400 meters is still a long way so it may be good to hit the pool to practice. People tend to get a bit nervous before this one, as 400 meters sounds very far. If you practice beforehand, you will be fine.
- You then will be expected to tread water for 15 minutes. The last 2 minutes of this, you have to keep your hands out of the water. Again, practice this for a few weeks beforehand and you’ll be fine. Preparation is key.
- Next, you have to swim 800 meters with a mask, snorkel and fins. You will not be able to use your arms, so will be relying on your legs to power you through. This seems a long way but you have a snorkel and mask. Our advice is to put your head down and soldier on. Put in the work and before you know it, it’s done and you can move onto the next test.
- You now have to tow/push a diver for 100 meters at the surface of the water. You both will be equipped with full scuba gear so this is a challenging physical test. This one is hard to practice for. But given you have been diving every day now. You should be completely comfortable in the water and be able to do this.
These tests are designed to test your physical endurance, they are hard and you will probably be knackered afterwards. However, they are necessary if you want to be a DM. Train for them and you will get through it, but you may need a sit down after!
STW Top Tip
These tests are designed to push you physically and ensure you are strong enough to be a Divemaster. Of course, no one is expecting you to complete a Navy Seal Hell Week, but it really helps if your fitness level is high. Spend a few weeks beforehand training and you will breeze past this.
Now the physical test is done, you still need to pass the exam. The exam will cover 60 questions, with two parts. That’s 120 questions to ace.
Add 8 chapters of the manual and the knowledge reviews to this too.
On top of this, a Divemaster Trainee will also have too complete diver assessments, diver skills workshops, mapping workshops, search and recovery scenarios and dive briefing scenarios. Once this is completed, you are a PADI DiveMaster!
What Equipment Do I Need for PADI Divemaster Training?
The equipment needed for Divemaster training will usually be included in the Divemaster package you purchase when signing up for a course.
If a diver is considering become a PADI Divemaster, they should consider picking up a Dive computer. This will serve you for years to come and be used on every dive.
Your own mask/ snorkel is pretty compulsory as this will mould to your face over time. Plus, you potentially will be wearing this for a lot of the day, every day. So it’s important to get something that fits. No one likes a leaky mask that will impact you on every dive.
Another piece of equipment that will serve you well is some kind of visual marker. This will be used in some of the exercises in the course. It also has the added benefit of potentially saving you or your buddy if something goes wrong. It’s good to be safe in the water!
PADI Divemaster Study
To pass the PADI Divemaster course, you will need to pass the exams. These exams are based on the topics covered in the manuals given to you at the start of the course. In order to pass these exams, preparation is key. As long as you study hard and practice, you will pass and become a divemaster.
Read the sections in all of the manuals and keep revising all of the key topics. Take note of the weaker areas (like physics) and hit those key areas. Everyone is different and some find the physics test harder but excel at the equipment test, for example.
The physics test tends to be the one that people are nervous about, but again with the proper study, you will be fine. There are some formulas to work out as well as some questions based on theoretical equations. The physiology tests also tend to cause a few headaches. Mostly it is based around gaseous exchange and bodily functions when diving. A lot of what is covered may be familiar to you if you took higher-level science subjects when studying.
The equipment exam is where you have to know the ins and outs of the equipment you use to dive. All the information is covered in the manual but its good to start his one early as it can be challenging. The last one we will mention here is the RDP exam, as it can cause a few problems. Check the decompression models from the workbook and study, study, study.
Once you pass all the exams. You can then move onto the previously mentioned fitness test and confined dives.
After you complete the fitness tests. You will perform 20 skills to your examiner, to show the required level of understanding. Included in this are the confined dives, where you will assist new divers in a confined area.
Next, you are judged on the ‘Open’ water part of the course. Here you will assist in the Open water training dives.
Finally, there a few other things to complete. Mapping a dive site, creating an emergency assistance plan and conducting an underwater equipment exchange for example.
What Can I Do After PADI Divemaster?
The world is your oyster! Becoming a PADI Divemaster means you can now find work anywhere in the world. Although, it helps if you are near the Ocean! Once you become certified, you will also have access to PADI’s dedicated job postings board. This means you can start looking for work straight away.
Some Divemasters take their profession a step further. By becoming a PADI Instructor, you will be able to teach new divers the PADI Course.
You could also find work in a hotel that offers diving. Or onboard a Liveaboard and live a 24/7 diving lifestyle. Where it takes you, we promise it definitely will not be boring!
Thanks for reading, STW.