How much does it cost to be a certified diver?

Scuba diving is an unstructured and non-competitive sporting activity, and it is also a recreational hobby. Although Scuba diving has been a popular pastime across the world since ancient times, learning to scuba dive requires both knowledge and also development.

Although diving has been a popular hobby around the world since ancient times, learning to dive requires both the development of knowledge, learning of techniques, principles and concepts, as well as diving skills and methods.

Diving as a recreational activity and as a sport when practiced professionally requires a certification. The Diving Certification model originated at Scripps Institution of Oceanography from United States (SIO) in 1952, after two amateur divers died.

How are divers trained?

Since then diving was restricted to those who had been trained through the program at the SIO, and this is how the professional “certification” of the activity arose.

From that, underwater diving agencies have issued professional diving certification, in different modalities such as: Cave diving, commercial diving, recreational diving, technical diving and apnea.

For this reason, the most common question among frequent practitioners of diving is “I want to get certified. How much does that cost?” As with most things in life, the first answer is, “It depends”.

Let’s see why this is so and what kind of things go into determining the answer.

Diver training program

The first thing that new divers consider when deciding to practice the sport is the training course’ cost, it is one of the expenses, but not the only one. But, what goes into the cost of training?

Diving courses are generally divided into three components: theory, confined water training (pool dives) and open water training. 

How are divers trained?

The instructors may be delivered through several media and networks, with one of the most popular being eLearning.  With eLearning – generally based under the by the model training of the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI)-.

The diving students complete theory background at home on their own time and at their own pace. The quizzes and a comprehensive exam are also taken online. 

This leads to a more theoretical learning that allows the diver to better assimilate and be prepared as a diver at the beginning of practical training in confined waters.

Most instructors will go over some of the key concepts presented in online course, and any questions from the quizzes and exam to make certain that new divers have mastered that material sufficiently.

Practical confined water training is where you must learn all that you will develop in skills to become a competent diver that you feel comfortable in the water.

Often, this is done over a weekend or several days, and may be combined with classroom sessions theoretical to review technical studied by the apprentice diver in the eLearning Program.

During open water dives, dive students show their instructor that they have mastered the skills learned in the pool during a minimum of four open water dives conducted over at least two days.

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How much does a diving course cost?

The open water dives may be completed with the same dive center of the instructors and the confined water training, on a trip with to the dive center, or by with another dive center.

Obviously, the place where you decide to travel new diver takes in completing the course can greatly influence the cost of training. Dives on the local beach or in open water – if you have the sea nearby – will generally have a much lower price than a one-week vacation in the Caribbean.

Therefore, the price of determining the best dive site is usually two to three times higher than that of finishing the dive course locally.

For example: A quick survey of dive centers in the US showed training costs to run between $400 USD and $500 USD or more depending on what was included and location.

Scuba Equipment – should I buy my own diving equipment?

Another cost to consider in becoming a certified scuba diver is your personal equipment. This typically consists of a properly fitted mask, a snorkel, a pair of wetsuit boots, and a pair of scuba fins. 

The comfort of your personal equipment is crucial to have an enjoyable diving experience, and you shouldn’t skimp to inversion cost on these items.

Quality equipment will last many years with proper care, and will be a much better investment in the long run. However you don’t have to get the most expensive kit to have quality equipment.

Most divers will they usually invest between $200 USD and $300 USD on their personal equipment, and may spend quite a bit more if they are also purchasing a good wetsuit and a personal dive computer.

A diver who wants to feel comfortable and confident in open water will typically invest in a full equipment system.

With a well maintained equipment, properly fitted to your size equipment will allow divers minimize equipment issues and quickly become familiar with how everything with the practice of sport.

Another cheaper option is to rent scuba equipment, but diving experts and instructors generally recommend purchasing your own professional equipment on short notice.

Normally you can pay for this diving system with an investment cost of what you would pay on average for 20-30 days of rental of equipment.

Not only that but most diverse purchase systems that are much higher performance than the equipment typically found in the rental lockers of most destination of beach.

By purchasing your own equipment, even a little at a time, you’ll save money in the long run and likely enjoy your diving even more!

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The cheaper options to the “learn to dive”

Some dive equipment stores in their marketing strategies offer diving courses with the intention of compensating earnings with the sale of equipment or other additional sales.

This is OK, but keep in mind that such courses may typically be very demanded, taught in as short a time as possible, and may not include all the offered costs. 

A dive center that charges a fair price for the course finds that it takes more time and practice to become a good diver. A good instructor should be able to earn a living teaching these courses.

All of that add to overhead, increasing course prices, but as a consumer, you definitely get what you pay for with by certified diving training.

The cheaper diving courses usually don’t include such things as use of training equipment, course materials, air fills, pool rental fees, and certification fees.

You may have to pay for charter fees if diving off of a boat, and travel and hotels are rarely included if you are training outside of your local area. 

Be sure to ask questions and do research about exactly what you will get in exchange for a low cost diving course; may be it can be what you are looking for anyway.


Scuba Diving certification prices do vary by region or country, especially when comparing with other dive international destinations.

But, when you add up all the expenses, in the high-end, it takes somewhere in the vicinity of $700 USD (even as high as $1,000 USD in major cities where diving centers are located) to become a certified diver. 

However, though, you have your own personal equipment, quality instruction, all the course materials and certification fees, and you’ll end up truly becoming a certified and professional diver.

If you are just looking for a good course as well as the basic certification and minimum in equipment, you may find it an approximate average for as low as $199.99 USD.

On the other hand, is not unusual for that new divers to start buying additional gear of the diving as their wallets allow them to – piece by piece



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