Master Scuba Diver Trainer | MSDT

PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer

What does it take to be a good instructor?  Good Attitude.   We talk about this a lot during an Instructor Development Course.  Part of that attitude is realizing you need to go a bit further than the rest.   You need to do more than the bare minimum.   You need to be more marketable, both to your clientele and prospective dive centers or resorts.   How?  By becoming a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer!

Crawdad clinging to an algae coated surface, taken during a PADI Digital Underwater Photo dive--a great specialty for your Master Scuba Diver Trainer specialties

What does it take to become a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer?

  • PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor
  • PADI Specialty Instructor in five(5) Specialties
  • Certified 25 divers


There are a few caveats.   As a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor, you can teach three specialty courses right off: Project AWARE, AWARE-Coral Reef Conservation and Peak Performance Buoyancy.   Those specialties count for a diver towards their Master Scuba Diver rating, but unfortunately they don’t count towards Master Scuba Diver Trainer.   So you need to earn five(5) PADI Specialty Instructor ratings.

Specialty Instructor Ratings

There are three ways to earn a PADI Specialty Instructor rating:

  1. Take a PADI Specialty Instructor course from a Course Director
  2. Apply Directly to PADI
  3. Author your own outline and apply directly to PADI

There is a set of tradeoffs here.   Taking a course from a Course Director will have a cost associated with it; the application fee paid to PADI, though, is lower.   You’ll greatly benefit from the expertise of your Course Director, enabling you to conduct high-quality courses for your divers.   Applying directly to PADI, while it eliminates a course cost, the application fee is higher.   Also, you’re students might suffer as you try to figure out how to teach the Specialty.   Authoring your own course is going to require a lot of work on your part: you have to write the outline and document proof of experience for teaching the outline.   For some specialties, this can work well.   For others, it might require a lot of work.

For Options 2 & 3, you need to have already certified 25 divers and you’ll have to be able to document 20 dives in the specialty area.   For Option 1, you don’t need to have certified any divers and you’ll only need to be able to document 10 dives in the specialty area.  You’ll also practice teaching parts of the Specialty, followed by feedback and suggestions from your Course Director

Knowledge Development presentation by Tim Williams

Master Scuba Diver Trainer path

To reach your goal of Master Scuba Diver Trainer quickly, training with a Course Director is key.   Also, to reach those 25 certifications, you only need a small number of divers.   For example, if you’ve earned five Specialty Instructor ratings, you could certify one person in Open Water, Advanced, Rescue, five(5) specialties and Master Scuba Diver to result in 9 certifications.   You only need three people to reach the total of 25 certifications.

Master Scuba Diver and Master Scuba Diver Trainer

Here’s the interesting bit: you don’t have to be a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer to certify PADI Master Scuba Divers.   If you want to train them from scratch, though, you do need to be able to train them in several specialties beyond the three you can teach as a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor.



To learn more about the PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer program, contact Jon.