Are you getting the training you should as a PADI Speciality Instructor?

The PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer (MSDT) rating sets you apart from other dive instructors by showing your commitment to continuing your dive training and being prepared to help others continue their training as well. You also get to teach specialty diver courses – which opens the door to lots of fun while working.

If you strive to make the most out of your dive career than you need to be able to teach the courses that your students are interested in.  Not only will you be more marketable as an instructor but you will be able to teach more of what you love.  Being confident in teaching PADI specialties is a fantastic way to start you dive career. During your IDC the Teaching PADI Specialty section shows us that the specialty courses are there to give your students a taste of what a certain type of specialized diving could offer. PADI Specialty Diver courses allow divers to choose interest areas and learn more specialized dive activities under the guidance of a PADI Instructor. Instead of having to learn on their own, divers have you to demonstrate techniques and provide valuable hints and tips. Specialty Diver courses are intended to simply advance knowledge and skills – not create experts in the particular specialty area. Divers receive key information and hands-on practice through the course which they can use to further pursue their interests.​

A good example would be wreck diving. You are shown a wreck, identify hazards, entry and exit points, practice laying lines on the specialty dive and then do a limited penetration but you are not trained at the level to go beyond the light zone. Should you want to do a more extensive penetration then you should take technical diving training or cave training.

Are you receiving the training you should be for your PADI Specialty Instructor rating to offer such an experience to your students?

According to the PADI Course Director manual as the Instructor student during the Specialty Instructor course you have to meet all the performance requirements for that particular PADI Specialty but you can combine the performance requirements from multiple dives into a single dive. So what does this mean? If the specialty has a requirement of four dives as a student diver then the Instructor candidate can meet these performance requirements on two dives. So if you did a Wreck Specialty Instructor course you should have done at least two dives on a wreck. Pretty easy? You would think so.

So what are the performance requirements you should be achieving on your Instructor Specialty course?

Performance Requirements

1. Present a knowledge development presentation from the specialty diver course outline.
2. State the purpose and goals of the specialty diver course.
3. Explain the course standards and procedures from the PADI Specialty Course Instructor Guide.​
4. List student diver and instructor equipment requirements.
5. Explain the specialty diver course open water training considerations.
6. Demonstrate mastery of all knowledge development and water skill performance requirements for the specialty diver course.
7. Conduct an open water teaching assignment and demonstrate all open water performance requirements for the specialty diver course. Skills may be combined as appropriate for open water training dives.
8. Describe how to conduct all course segments in a manner that enables divers to meet course performance requirements.
9. Describe successful marketing and promotional techniques to promote specialty diver training as part of the PADI System.
10. Determine costs involved in the pricing of specialty training.

General Considerations
1. Specialty Instructor Training includes open water dives except when the diver level course has no open water dives. As with specialty diver courses, emphasize the practical aspects of the course, specifically the open water dives (or workshops and demonstrations for specialties without dives.)
2. Cover all of the specialty diver course performance requirements in the instructor-level course. For example, the Night Diver Specialty course has three dives. You can cover all of the diver-level course dive performance requirements for those three dives in one specialty instructor course dive.
3. Conduct no more than three training dives per day.

Required Dives
Diver Level Course Required Dives     Instructor-Level Course Required Dives
2-3                                                           1
4                                                             2

There are three methods of applying to be a specialty instructor with PADI. The first is the preferred method:

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

Taking a course from a Course Director will have a cost associated with it; the application fee paid to PADI though is much cheaper. The benefits of doing the course this method is that you will gain from the Course Directors knowledge and experience.Its important that you choose a Course Director who is still doing the dives and teaching the specialties.

Applying directly to PADI, while it eliminates a course cost, has a much higher application fee. Also, your students might suffer as you try to figure out how to teach the Specialty Course. 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 course.

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.


The next PADI Specialty Instructor course will be run at Calypso from the 05th till the 08th March 2015.

The program will be as follows: 

05 March 2015 07 March 2015
  • Wreck Specialty Dive One
  • Wreck Specialty Dive Two
  • Enriched Air Theory
  • Night Dive
  • Deep Dive Two
  • Search and Recovery Dive One
  • Underwater Navigation
  • Equipment Specialist
06 March 2015 07 March 2015
  • Deep Dive One
  • Fish ID Dive
  • Digital Underwater Photography Dive in the uShaka Aquarium
  • Emergency Oxygen Provider
  • Search And Recovery Dive Two
  • Discover Rebreather Dive
  • Discover Tec Dive


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