So you’ve finally decided to see what you need to do to get PADI Certified. The question of what if and the siren call of the ocean has finally brought you out of your seat so you can eventually figure out what needs to be done. Good for you! Fear can hold us back in a lot of different ways, and sometimes, it will even dictate what we do. Or it may even dictate what we won’t do. Fear can often affect us in a number of ways, having us question ourselves. It stops us from doing things we’ve been curious about and wanted to do for quite some time. But now you’ve gotten past that, so congratulations! You want to learn to dive. So now you’re asking: how long does it take to get PADI certified? And how do you get PADI certified? You are probably also wondering about costs.
If you have made it here, then chances are you had already decided to try diving when you were on vacation somewhere. Honestly, that’s not a bad way to first get into diving. You go on a tour, and you get to dive with an instructor. You do get a bunch of limitations since it’s your first time (or one of the first few times) diving. But that’s fine – doing this gives you a taste of scuba. It’s also possible that you have never gone on a dive trip before. If this is the case, that’s fine too! You’re about to enter the wonderful world of scuba. You’ll see all of the wonderful and beautiful creatures and sights under the sea.
Answering Your Questions
Today’s article is going to take a look at PADI certification. We’ll answer questions like “how long does it take to get PADI certified” and “how much does it cost?” We’ll also look at what happens during the certification training. Our hope is that you’ll know all you need to know about the process by the end of this article. You’ll be able to set up your lessons and your certifications so that you can finally be a licensed diver!
If you’re ready to start learning, let’s get right to it!
What is PADI?
Chances are, you’ve already heard of PADI. This is because this organization is the world’s biggest and leading scuba training org. PADI stands for the Professional Association of Diving Instructors. The organization itself was established over half a century ago, back in 1966. PADI right now has about 137,000 professionals that have issued over twenty-seven million certifications all around the globe. This organization is so big and so popular that it’ll be impossible for you to go on vacation without running into them somewhere. The truth is, PADI courses and diving services are present almost anywhere.
Before we can answer the question “how long does it take to get PADI certified?” we must first take a look at PADI and why you should choose them. There are a number of different diving organizations out there beyond PADI, but this org, in particular, is well known, well-loved, and well trusted.
The system of education that PADI has for its divers is based on some progressive training. It introduces the necessary diving skills, some safety information, and environmental knowledge of the diving locale. But because of the progressive training model, all of the information is given in stages. This way, the students are able to learn effectively, practice as much as possible, and apply their knowledge realistically. In essence, PADI aims to make fun exploration available while keeping divers’ complete safety in mind.
PADI has what’s known as the “Four Es Philosophy.” This philosophy essentially means that the lifestyle of diving requires four different Elements. Let’s take a look at them here:
4 Es Philosophy
- Education – With PADI, you are going to learn to scuba dive. However, you will continue to grow by expanding your capabilities as a certified diver through continuing education. This means you can continue on a track to learn some of the more advanced courses and get higher-level certifications. You could also choose to make a change in your career and work towards becoming a PADI pro yourself.
- Experience – Dive shops affiliated with PADI offer you a ton of variety when it comes to experiences. You can get some local dive tours. Or, you could even go for exotic dive travel trips. Truly, even though scuba diving can be somewhat “lonely” and peaceful underneath the sea, the reality is that it is actually quite a social activity. By getting affiliated with PADI resorts or dive centers, you can begin to explore some dive sites that are nearby. Or, you could even visit vacation destinations all around the globe. And you get to do all of that with people who share your interests.
- Equipment – No scuba diver can do what they want to do without the proper and safe equipment. In fact, it is the scuba gear that makes diving a possibility. And the best place for you to learn all about the equipment and how to operate them is at a PADI dive resort or center.
- Environment – Specifically, environmental conservation. PADI is all about safety, not just for the divers but also for the underwater sea life. As you go through your PADI diving course, you’ll learn the importance of environmentally protecting our fragile aquatic ecosystems. You’ll fall in love not only with diving but also with the environment – so much so that you might even make efforts to help the planet in your own way.
What’s The Process of Learning to Scuba Dive?
As we’ve mentioned, PADI does have a progressive learning experience. As a result, the process goes in stages. This will give you a bit of an idea as to the answer to the question, “how long does it take to get PADI certified?”.
Here are the steps, described in detail – so that you know what you’re getting into!
The first phase, or step, of learning to scuba dive is learning the basic principles. As in, the basic scuba principles. These are things such as:
- What you should take into consideration when you plan your dives
- Signals to use for communication underwater
- How to choose your gear, and make sure that they are all right for you
- Other diving procedures
This information is all made available to you through the PADI Manual for Open Water Divers. Alternatively, you can also use the eLearning center to learn everything. There are multiple chapters, and at the end of each of them, you have to answer questions about the material that you learned.
You don’t have to worry because this entire phase is guided. For example, if you are unsure about something, you can simply reach out to your instructor. Then, your PADI Pro will explain everything to you.
At the end of this part of the learning process, you’ll have to take one final exam. This will test everything that you’ve learned. And finally, you will have to watch some videos that will give you a preview of the type of scuba skills you’ll be practicing in the next step.
Confined Water Dives
The next step here is the confined water dive. It’s exactly what you think it is – diving in a confined space like a pool. However, pools aren’t the only places you can do these starting dives. If you’re learning at a resort, for example, you could be learning the process off of a calm beach.
During this phase of the process, you’ll learn the kind of basic scuba skills that will help you become familiar with everything. It will teach you to be familiar with the whole process of diving. On top of that, it will also teach you familiarity with operating your gear and maintaining your buoyancy under the water.
You’ll be learning things such as:
- How to set up the scuba gear you’ll be using
- Getting water out of your scuba mask when you’re in the water
- How to enter and how to exit the water
- Controlling your buoyancy
- Basic navigation underwater
- Safety procedures
These skills won’t just be taught to you – you will have to practice them with your PADI instructor until you get completely comfortable doing them. And, when you are deemed ready, you can finally begin on the next step. Indeed, learning how to scuba dive is a rather involved process. And it’s completely understandable that so many people end up asking, “how long does it take to get PADI certified?”
Open Water Dives
The next step in your learning process is actually to go to open water. You see, you have been prepared through the first two phases (learning and confined water diving) for this whole process. The open water dives will usually last two days. When you go on these dives, you will be able to explore the wonderful underwater world. You can even apply the skills you learned in your pool or beach dives while simultaneously enjoying what the environment offers. Most of the student divers complete their very first open water dives pretty close to home. However, you can choose to finish your dive training while you are on a vacation or holiday. If this is the option you choose, your current PADI pro will refer you to someone from the location you are traveling to.
After your open water dive, if everything goes well and your instructor is satisfied that you have learned all you must learn… you get your certification!
But that still doesn’t give a clear answer to the question, “how long does it take to get PADI certified?”. So now, it is time to talk about that!
How Long Does it Take to Get PADI Certified?
Yes, yes, we know. By now, you are wondering what the answer is to the question “how long does it take to get PADI certified?” After all, even though all of the above information about the whole process was enlightening in a way, it’s still not a clear and quantifiable answer.
So how long?
Well, the whole dive course by PADI is rather flexible, and on top of that, it is also performance-based. This means that your local PADI shop can offer you a schedule that will accommodate your needs. The schedule can be organized depending on how fast your progress is. In fact, it is completely possible to finish the entire course in as short as three to four days if you focus on doing all of them continuously. The course can be short if you are capable of finishing the knowledge phase (step 1) via PADI’s e-learning platform.
Quite honestly, in the end, we do believe that you should go at your own pace. If you need to be able to do it within a week because that’s all you have in terms of vacation time off work, it’s possible. As long as you are able to demonstrate what you know during your open water dive, you will be able to get your certification pretty well!
One thing that we can say is: don’t rush it. Make sure that you are able to learn everything properly because, after all, it can be dangerous to your life otherwise.
How Much Are Scuba Lessons with PADI?
If you are curious about how much going for scuba lessons will cost you, well, here are some other comparable costs.
- One whole day: surfing lessons
- One weekend: rock climbing lessons
- Kayaking lessons for a weekend
- Fly-fishing lessons for a weekend
- Three hours: private golfing lessons
- Roughly three hours: private water ski lessons
- One really amazing and indulgent night out
Yep… it’s not that expensive! Perhaps what you will have to take into consideration is the fact that you will have other associated costs. If you want to take scuba diving really seriously, you may have to spend some extra money on buying equipment. You’ll also have to account for the costs of your travelling, that is, if you plan on doing your open water diving in a vacation destination.
We hope that this article answered the question of “how long does it take to get PADI certified” for you. Furthermore, we hope that we were able to enlighten you as to the process, the costs, and the safety of PADI lessons. But you might not have the time or money to get a PADI lesson and you are not sure if you can scuba dive without certification. Well, we got you covered. Check out our latest article about “Can You Scuba Dive Without Certification?“