I am often asked the question "what are the differences between a divemaster and one diving instructor ? Theinstructor is a cut above the divemaster, all the explanations below!


What is a Divemaster?


  • A divemaster is the first rung in professional diving.
  • To put it simply, a divemaster supervises and guides underwater certified divers (who have to pass their open water or equivalent). Generally, he is very familiar with diving sites in the area and will be able to guide divers safely by sharing the best features of the sites, such as topography or marine life.
  • But he do not give diving lessonsit does not open water or advanced for example. He may however be an assistant during the course of an instructor.
  • The PADI divemaster will be able to diving baptisms and upgrades. The SSI divemaster can do the same after additional training.

Prerequisites to become a Divemaster


  • 18 years old
  • At least 40 dives
  • Be a advanced diver and a rescue diver
  • Have a certification of 1e relief of less than 2 years
  • A certificate of no contraindication to diving

How to become a divemaster?

Schema dif DM-instructeur.jpg

All info on making a divemaster here


What is a diving instructor?

  • The instructor is a step above a divemaster17-instructor-pool-session-min
  • The instructor is here to teach diving. He will therefore mainly do diving lessons, baptism (try diving), the open water (one of the main courses since it involves training new divers) or the advanced (improve a certified diver) going through the rescue (teach divers how to respond to all types of emergencies) and until the formation of divemaster.
  • Depending on his level, he will also be able to teach some diving specialties: nitrox, wreck, deep, night ...
  • So there are different levels of instructors depending on their experience and what they are able to teach.

Prerequisites to become an instructor         

  • 18 years old
  • At least 100 dives
  • To be a divemaster or equivalent
  • A certificate of no contraindication to diving

How to become a diving instructor?

  • To become an instructor, you will have to follow the instructor training, who18-Faire-son-divemaster-demonstration-exercice-min is called IDC (Instructor Development Course).
  • This training lasts between 2 and 3 weeks depending on where you will do it. It will be provided by a PADI Course Director and an Instructor Trainer at SSI.
  • Average cost = about $ 3000.
  • There is no no minimum time between the end of your divemaster and the beginning of your instructor training (you must however justify at least 100 dives).
  • This is where the making of do your internship divemaster will really be a strong asset (all the details of why do your divemaster internship here).
  • You should pass the instructor exam (IE), which lasts 2 days, where the leaders of PADI or SSI will come and judge your abilities on several events.


The real difference between divemaster and daily instructor: the salary!

Everyone will tell you, we are not in the dive for money, that's for sure, but a divemaster will still be much less paid than an instructor.

The salary of a divemaster


  • A divemaster will guide dives, what is commonly called "fun dives". He may have a fixed salary, but as a rule, he will be paid for what he does.
  • The amount then varies from the center of course, but especially from the place:
    • Ex in Honduras or Mexico: $ 5 / diver.
    • Ex in the Philippines or Indonesia: $ 7 / diving trip
  • In Asia, it is rare to reason in terms of divers, but rather in terms of diving, so that you guide 1 or 3 divers, it will be the same amount. Which is totally unfair, but still commonplace ...

The salary of an instructor


  • Like the divemaster, the instructor may have a fixed salary, but as a rule, he will be paid for what he does. He will have a commission on the course per student number. They can really vary from place to place, but in practice it's around 30%.
  • Diving training costs more immediately than a fun dive (Ex: 2 open water at 300$ = 2 x 30% by 300$ = 90$ x 2 = 180$)


  • In 3 days, a divemaster in Asia can do 2 trips per day with 3 divers over 3 days. He will win: 2 (outings) x $ 7 x 3 (days) = $ 42
  • In 3 days, an instructor in Asia can do an open water with 3 students. He will win: 3 (students) x 30% on $ 300 = 3 x $ 90 = $ 270

I let you compare ...


Working as a divemaster is the best, guiding you to certified divers on super dive sites! Divemaster training is in any case super interesting to do, we learn a lot! The problem is clearly the salary, it will be very hard to live only on a divemaster's salary. Becoming an instructor is therefore the real solution if you want to “live” from diving. You will do a lot of courses for sure, but you will also have fun dives and your salary will allow you to live!

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