Are you a scuba diver and a lover of the ocean, wondering whether or not to do your PADI Divemaster internship?
You have come to the perfect place.
I completed my PADI Divemaster course in 2014, then proceeded to complete the PADI IDC (Instructor Development Course), worked as a scuba instructor, then managed dive centers in the Philippines and Indonesia.
For me, becoming a dive master was one of the best decisions of my life.
I loved that diving connected me to people from all over the world with a shared love and interest for the underwater world, offered an opportunity to live on some stunning islands, and gave me a bronze tan year-round.
If you asked me, life couldn’t get much better than that!
In this post, I share with you the process of becoming a PADI Divemaster and what you should know about and expect from the Divemaster training.
If you want to get a glimpse of what it’s like to work as a dive professional, check out this post too!
How to Become a Divemaster: The Basics
Before enrolling in a PADI Divemaster Internship Program, you must already be a Rescue Diver, having obtained all the recreational diving certifications and be a comfortable and skilled diver underwater (good on air consumption, neutral buoyancy, mobility, and control).
Also, you must meet the following criteria to begin your divemaster internships.
- Be at least 18 yrs old
- Possess a minimum of Rescue certification
- Have a minimum of 40 logged dives
- Have completed EFR (Emergency First Response Primary and Secondary Care) in the last 24 months
- Have a medical statement by a physician in the previous 12 months
How long does it take to become a Divemaster?
Various PADI Dive Centers offer DM internship programs ranging from 2 weeks to 8 weeks long, but the most common program duration I have seen is 4 weeks.
Spending 4 weeks getting trained to become a PADI Divemaster is a good start. There are many dive centers, however, that offer additional internships on particular marine topics such as Coral Reef Conservation, Sharks specialty, etc. If you find a unique opportunity that matches your interest and background, it may be worth exploring further.
The cost to become a Divemaster
The cost of your training can vary, depending on what the course includes – some programs are all-inclusive-packages (inclusive of specialty programs such as Project Aware Coral Reef Conservation, accommodations, internship, etc.) which can cost a few thousand US dollars.
I paid for a basic Divemaster internship which cost USD 1000 for a month of instruction in Bali – I paid additional costs for PADI materials, accommodation, food, etc. during the program.
To give you a better idea, here is a summary of my monthly expense in 2014 when I did my PADI DM program on Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia:
- PADI DM program: the instruction $1000
- PADI DM Application fee: what you will pay to PADI to finalize your certification $150
- PADI DM Crew Pack: materials necessary for your DM program $240
- Rent – a basic room with a bed, a fan & cold shower $200
Food – mainly local food, with occasional drinks with friends and magnum ice cream $300
Where to become a Divemaster
While the cost of the PADI Divemaster program may not vary much around the world, don’t forget to take into consideration your living expenses during your DM training. The cost of living in Southeast Asia, for example, is much cheaper than other parts of the world.
In the next section we will review what actually happens during the PADI Divemaster internship, but basically, you will spend a lot of time in the water – both in the pool and the ocean! I am not sure that a day went by in my DM program where I did not get in the water for one reason or the other.
In choosing where to do your PADI Divemaster internship, it’s important that you consider the location wisely (assuming that you want to enjoy your training as I did!).
Pro Tip: Choose a program location where:
- you will love the diving
- water temperature is comfortable for you (if you are cold, believe me, you will be miserable)
- the diving conditions are varied and provide quality training opportunities (such as current, visibility, surge, etc)
PADI Divemaster Certification Requirements
Just so you know what to expect in your PADI Divemaster internship, here is a list of requirements you must fulfill successfully to get certified as a Divemaster. The main categories of the program include:
1. Dive theory (There are five chapters in a DM manual. Once you review the chapters with your instructor, you must pass a final exam)
2. In-water skills (you must demonstrate an ability to tread water, swim, snorkel, etc.)
3. Dive skills (you must demonstrate an ability to search & recover a missing item or a diver, give a comprehensive dive briefing, draw a map of dive sites, etc.)
4. DM workshops (you must lead PADI programs such as a ReActivate program, Skin Diver/Snorkeling, Discover Diving, etc.)
5. Practical assessments (you must demonstrate an ability to assist PADI program students and guide certified divers
Looks like a lot of work?
That’s why I say 4 weeks is a good amount of time to shadow your instructor(s), practice on your own, sharpen your skills and develop confidence. It is hard work, but will be some of the most memorable times of your life!
Your DM program should be mostly “hands-on” training, meaning you should be working directly with real dive guests and students, which is the best way to learn!
One of the best moments of my DM program was assisting my instructor to teach PADI programs like Open Water or Advanced Open Water Courses. I enjoyed helping students overcome their fear of removing their mask underwater or teaching kids hand signals for the marine animals.
The two months I spent on Nusa Lembongan doing my DM course was unforgettable. I loved gaining new skills and confidence underwater, discovering new marine creatures, meeting other passionate travelers, and bonding with local staff at the dive center.
What Can a Divemaster Do?
Once you complete your divemaster internship and get certified as a PADI Divemaster, your primary role will be:
- Organizing, leading and supervising diving and snorkeling activities
- Guiding certified divers under water
- Assisting PADI instructors teach courses
- Helping certified divers refresh dive skills
Depending on the dive center you work for, your added responsibilities can include:
- completing pre-dive paperwork and post-dive logbook with guests,
- preparing equipment bags or crates,
- loading and off-loading boats with equipment and tanks,
- serving guests food and beverages,
- washing equipment in fresh water after the dives, and
- socializing with guests after the trip (coffee, drinks, dinner).
The reality is, once a Divemaster, a small part of your day will be spent in the water. Your job is to serve the guests, which you will do in the water, out of the water – pretty much any time you are with your guests.
How Much Does a Divemaster Make?
As with any job, your salary will depend on your location and your employer. But one thing I can tell you from my experience in SE Asia (Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia) is that dive master roles are primarily filled with locals.
Since local living standards are much less than western standards, the local wages are understandably low. Do not expect to make a comfortable living as a dive master. In my experience in SE Asia, an average local dive master made around $300-500/month.
What Comes After the PADI Divemaster Internship?
To be honest, there are not too many job opportunities for Divemasters (that is not to say there aren’t any). Upon establishing an “active status” as a Divemaster, you will have access to PADI’s employment board where you can search for various job opportunities.
If you plan to make a living as a dive professional, I would strongly urge you to consider the next level of becoming a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor (OWSI).
Not only will you be qualified for a higher salary, but being an OWSI will allow you to pursue other professional avenues within the diving industry.
But not all Divemasters pursue this training with an intention of becoming a dive professional. There are many passionate divers who simply desire to improve their underwater skills and gain more knowledge about the diving industry.
Otherwise, if you have any questions about PADI Divemaster internship programs, feel free to leave me a comment below.