All you need to know about becoming a PADI Divemaster

All you need to know about becoming a PADI Divemaster

Becoming a PADI Divemaster is the first step on the PADI Professional 'ladder' and as such you might have a number of questions when considering taking the step.  This blog aims to be your one stop shop answering all the questions you might have or never thought to ask.

It will continue to grow as we continue to add to it.

Why become a PADI Dive Professional?

As a PADI Professional, you'll be part of the largest, most widely recognised scuba training organisation in the world.  With more than 5900 PADI Dive Centres and Resorts, the world is your office - and your playground!  But you must continue to progress and enjoy your diving whilst continuing to learn new skills and have new experiences.   Those experiences and skills you can then pass on to others.But that does not answer the question WHY BECOME A DIVE PROFESSIONAL

When was the last time you said "I Love My Job", I say that everyday of the week.  Dive Professionals get to meet lots of different types of people and are continue to learn from our day to day interactions and experience brought by teaching, so come and join our Dive Professional ranks and take your career anywhere.  Everyday you will be saying "I Love My Job", I can guarantee it...

​But here are a few others
  • Become a Confident and Competent Scuba Diver
  • Teach Conservation - inspire others to protect
  • Travel the World
  • Work outside in nature
  • Have an extraordinary Life
  • Be part of a global community
  • Change Lives
  • Every day a new challenge
  • Flexible working hours
  • Stay Fit and healthy
  • Make a difference

Travel the World

One of the great reasons for becoming a PADI professional be that a Divemaster, instructor or above is funding travel.  

Experiencing the world on a gap year diving and working your way around - what an experience and adventure!

As many diving jobs are seasonal you could spend maybe three months in Thailand, then take off to Bali for another two months or have a working holiday in Australia.  But hopping from one contract to another means you could get to work in some of the most beautiful places in the world - so much adventure and underwater things to see and explore also what a great thing to place on your CV?

Maybe you do not want short term work but a long-term position - well they are out there but experience is important.  

Just maybe you find another love on your travels and decide to settle down in another part of the world - what great stories you would have for your children and grandchildren.

Work outside in Nature

You get to feel the warmth of the sun on your skin and that always makes you feel better, yes, you also get the wind and rain but that’s exhilarating.
Being under the water with the fishes, the coral, the grasses, the sharks, whales, rays and dugongs is amazing and being able to share your passion with others is an amazing opportunity.

Dive Rutland Ethos

The Ethos here at Dive Rutland

Here at Dive Rutland we believe in the philosophy of "Teaching the person and not just an 'out of the box course',our professional courses are all ran under that ethos, you the individual are IMPORTANT, you will probably be nervous about taking the next step, you may even be excited but apprehensive as you know that all courses have performance requirements.  BUT everyone has some prior knowledge and that is what we build on, one step at a time.  

The whole ethos as a professional is that you should ONLY expect your students to take the next step if you KNOW they can do it, that is exactly the same for us when you take the step to being a Dive Professional

The ethos is all about building on what people know.   It is proven - You can not teach people something they do not already know, without a huge amount of frustration.  That is not a conducive learning environment, hence everything we do has the philosophy of using positive coaching and you will find all of these mantras underpin all of our Professional Courses.

It is also about positive reinforcement of what was good.

All training is undertaken truly neutral buoyant, yes you can train your students this way as they know no different, we will show you how.  Work with our team and you will get to see it in action.

If you wish to work in the Dive Industry then contact us to discuss what it is you wish to do, because it is not just about instructing, it is about being that all round employable individual.

A Divemaster that knows how to run and operate the compressor is better qualified than the individual who is just a Divemaster... A Divemaster who drysuit dives and can operate the compressor is better qualified for colder water diver than a Divemaster who can operate a compressor.  It is all about being the best for the role, if you wish to work in the industry

The question is "What do you want to do"

Here at Dive Rutland we want to work with you to realise YOUR dream and YOUR ambitions, allowing you to be the best you can be and industry ready.  Sit down with us and tell us what you want to achieve and we will help, guide and mentor you.  Maybe you want to learn about the compressor, how to gas blend all of this can be added into your training with us.

If you are already a dive professional who wishes to continue their professional development, then we will help and guide you.

In any work of life or profession you should never stop learning and developing yourself, after all we teach our students at Open water that they should continue their development be that to qualify as Advanced Open Water divers or to learn new skills such as Underwater Photography.. as professionals we should practise (and that is exactly what all the professionals at Dive Rutland do).

PADI Professional Courses

No two dive centres are the same, no two course directors are either which means that although each professional course will cover the same syllabus the courses ARE different.  Becoming a professional is about YOU and you should work with a team and mentor that works for you after all this is your career.

In each section of our professional courses we will take you through the course but most importantly we will tell you what you can expect from us and therefore hold us accountable

Are you a serving Military personnel and have ELCAS credits to use then we are an ELCAS approved training provider have a couple of accredited courses for you.

What is Stopping your Professional Journey

Nothing...  You could become one of the most sought after dive professionals by training with Dive Rutland

What is a PADI Divemaster?

A PADI Divemaster is a highly trained and experienced scuba diving professional 

Key aspects of a PADI Divemaster are:-

  1. Role and Responsibilities:

    • Divemasters are leaders who guide and supervise recreational scuba diving activities.
    • They assist diving instructors during training sessions and may lead certified divers on guided underwater tours.
    • Divemasters play a vital role in enhancing the safety and enjoyment of diving experiences for others.
  2. Skills and Knowledge:

    • Divemasters possess advanced underwater navigation skills, excellent situational awareness, and the ability to assist divers in distress.
    • They are knowledgeable about dive equipment, dive physics, physiology, and environmental considerations.
    • Effective communication and leadership skills are essential for a Divemaster to guide and support a group of divers.
  3. Passion for Diving:

    • Beyond the technical skills, a PADI Divemaster typically has a deep passion for diving and a commitment to sharing the wonders of the underwater world with others.

PADI Divemasters are crucial members of the scuba diving community, contributing to the safety, education, and enjoyment of divers around the globe.

Preparing to be a PADI Divemaster

You are looking for an adventure or experience, looking for a complete change of career or even wanting to gain huge amounts of diving knowledge and improving your diving skills and are considering joining a Divemaster course and have questions.

This article is to help you in preparation on your journey to becoming a Divemaster


To start on the Divemaster course there are a number of pre-requisites: 

  • Minimum age of 18 years old -Junior Divemaster programs are available
  • PADI Rescue Diver certification or equivalent.
  • Medical clearance signed by a physician
  • A minimum of 40 logged dives - as a general rule, you should have sufficient diving experience to be able to focus on the students and divers under your supervision.
  • Completed EFR Primary and Secondary Care training within the last 24 months
  • Mask, Snorkel and Computer as a minimum


During your Divemaster course and actually EVERY professional course afterwards you will be asked to complete a number of swim tests.  For Divemaster these are: -

  • 400 metre swim
  • 800 metre Snorkel swim
  • 15 minute tread water
  • 100m tired diver tow

Although not difficult, you do need a level of fitness to complete. These are timed and the faster you are the more points you get and remember Points make prizes.
Why are professionals asked to complete these types of tests? As a professional in the dive industry you will be responsible for the safety of students and customers, being fit is part of your ‘duty of care’ to your client.\

Skills  Preparation

In-water skills - Brush up on your skills

Remember back to your open water course and the skills that you were asked to complete in the pool?  Those are the skills that you will be asked to demonstrate as part of the skills circuit during your course.

Practise them and do not worry if they are not demonstration quality that is what your Divemaster course is for. In order to demonstrate the skills you need to be first of all confident in completing the skill.  As part of your course we will teach you how to demonstrate the skills

Tim and Ben thinking about how to demonstrate a skill as part of their Divemaster Preparation

Picture: Shows Ben and Tim thinking about how to demonstrate a skill as part of their Divemaster preparation 


We have a playlist of the skills being demonstrated by Dive Rutland's resident Course Director Tracey Roberts available on our Youtube Channel


PADI Encylopedia of Diving

Start reading through your Divemaster theory, read diving magazines and books as well.
Read printed materials written by those in the industry as well as outside of it. After all being a professional is not just about diving there are so many soft skills required to be successful such as selling, marketing, website design and communication with a customer all very important. Each of our staff members has their own specialist area and a library to suit.  

Gain knowledge about the marine animals and environments that you will be diving in, this makes your dive briefings more interesting and customers will always ask questions - be prepared.


Bridget fully kitted for UK Open Water Diving

By now, you will have started to collect equipment. The more of your own kit you have, the more comfortable you will be, making your Divemaster course easier. It is not enough to just know your kit. ​

Get up to speed with the latest dive equipment and developments going on in the industry. If the opportunity arises go diving in different types of equipment as there is no ‘one size fits all’ and your students and customers will ask questions about equipment, helping customers understand their options allows you to make their diving more enjoyable.


Pike at Stoney Cove

If you are enrolling on to the course in unfamiliar diving environments, such as cold water or low visibility / strong currents, then get diving and gain the experience in those environments. 

We have an active club, get out and go diving. 

What Equipment is needed?

​This is the question that gets asked the most by potential Divemaster students.  Ideally by now you should have a full set of dive equipment, being in your own equipment means you are comfortable and it truly fits.

As a minimum by now you should have have a mask, snorkel and computer.  
Make sure your mask is comfortable and is your friend as there is nothing worse than mask fog when you are underwater and responsible for students.  You need to be able to see at ALL TIMES.

All divers should carry safety equipment and as a minimum have 1 visual and 1 audible signalling device something like and SMB and whistle.
Compass so you can navigate – again you should have one as you completed navigation exercises as part of your Advanced open water course!
Maybe something to write on and write with – this will help you when you do your mapping exercise as part of this course.  They are also useful occasionally to be able to communicate with your buddy and / or your instructor.


​Having a great attitude is very important.  At times things will be more challenging than you anticipated.  Just because it appears difficult does not mean it is impossible.

Next Steps

We have provided you with items to think about as part of your preparation towards becoming a Divemaster, but there are other things to consider as part of that journey

  • Where to train
  • Who to train with
  • Do you do the course as a set 9 - 10 day short / intensive course or over a longer period of time

Why Choose Dive Rutland for your Divemaster course?

Like all professionals, the right mentor is key, so before your intern course starts

  • YOU choose your mentor – do not know who to choose then we will guide you based on your goals
  • Help you develop a personal plan to achieve your career goals​​​
  • YOU, work out a training schedule with your mentor, based on YOUR availability and timings
  • YOU choose whether to do your Divemaster theory via e-learning or Divemaster manual and workbook.  BUT whichever you choose we will be there to guide you ALL of the way​
  • Meet our pro team in group chats and online sessions – whichever you prefer

Work with the professionals - Your interactions with the Dive Rutland Professional Staff

  • Regular Sessions with a member of the Dive Rutland professional team to consolidate and apply the theory you are learning – validate learning
  • You get to work with every member of the Dive Rutland Professional Team from DMs up to Course Directors - not all instructors work the same way after all they are individuals​
  • Take your skills to the next level all whilst TRULY neutrally buoyant – NO kneeling here
  • You can identify any additional areas of training you want to work on – maybe achieve the DEEP and Search and Recovery Speciality
  • Assist with Students

Work as a professional - Learn how the Dive Industry Works

  • Deal with customers in the dive centre
  • Work as part of a close team
  • Be supported by your Dive Rutland Professional Mentor
  • Regular Feedback
  • Develop skills in organisation and logistics
  • Learn about the UK Diving Industry regulations and agencies we work under i.e HSE / Swim England etc.

Work with Real Students - Learn how to best work with REAL Students

  • Like all instructors are not the same, all students will not be the same
  • Your schedule will have you working with real students so that you can see real challenges and work with the instructional team to help the student overcome their hurdles
  • By working with real students at every step of your internship, you will have a better toolbox to help you when you begin your work in whatever role you choose

Follow on options - Choose YOUR adventure

  • Become a Discover Scuba Diving Leader - what a great way to introduce new divers to the world of Scuba Diving and pass on your enthusiasm
  • Become a Gas Blender
  • Become a qualified compressor operator
  • Learn how to teach specialities open to you as a Divemaster
  • Take the next step to Assistant Instructor
  • Join the Dive Rutland Professional Team and continue to expand your knowledge
  • Work within the UK Dive Industry
  • Work in research
  • Work as a safety diver
  • Go off on your travels
  • With 70% of the Earth covered in water, the options are endless

Divemaster training with Dive Rutland adds the following invaluable skills to your CV

  • Public speaking learnt via giving student briefings
  • Learn Risk Management and safety considerations
  • First Aid
  • Working efficiently as part of a team
  • Practical Problem Solving
  • You will develop a high level of professionalism and customer service

How long will the Divemaster course take?

The Divemaster course as per the PADI Instructor Manual recommended hours is 50 which means you could achieve in a little as 8 days, but remember as per all other PADI courses, performance requirements do have to be met.

Just because you can do it in 8 days, does that mean you should?

PADI Divemaster Short Option

On a condensed short course option you will become a Divemaster, but what are the drawbacks?

  • You will rarely if ever get to work with real students as a result, a lot of your training will be simulated, and parts can only be played so well.
  • Generally (and we are speaking generally) the shorter course option tends to meet the bare minimum performance requirements for certification. True mastery is not always achieved

Do not despair if undertaking a short course fits with your schedule; this can still be  is a good option.  We would urge you to see it as a 'boot-camp' you have to have completed all of the e-learning Diver Theory and pre-reading prior to attending the course.

​After the course, we do recommend you come back at times to suit and gain real application of Divemaster skills by working with real students and our professional team members.

​The short course is ideal for university students who have limited breaks to still gain a professional qualification in the small time they have.

PADI Divemaster Long Option

By completing over a longer period of time you will be working with the Dive Rutland professional team and your mentor assisting on actual courses which exposes you to students that are in training during your course and not role-playing exercises as used in the short consolidated course option.

You will become more involved in the running of the dive centre, working with qualified and unqualified divers, risk management, logistics and dive planning.

The extended course options are great for divers who have a little more time and want the benefits of working with real people in real training to gain real experience.

Dive Rutland Divemaster Course

Here at Dive Rutland, we offer both options.  Our short course is ran over an intensive two-week period, or you can choose a the long option which works on a flexible schedule but this is still a formalised training programme.  We also have a summer intern option

By taking the option to complete over a longer period of time with Dive Rutland, you will not be a lacky or ‘kit monkey’; the activities you undertake will be directly related to your Divemaster course but to an agreed schedule.  Every professional in the team has to prepare the required equipment for the course they are running, and you will be exposed to all of this activity, including fetching and preparing your own equipment just like your professional mentor does.

​You will be involved with real-world experience of working within our dive operation as this is an important element of the course and you becoming a great Divemaster.

We believe in high quality training, what we ask is you look around and find the mentor and dive centre who delivers high quality training and you and they fit together after all this is about your journey not just the dive centre, it’s a partnership.
Our Trainee Divemasters work with Tracey our onsite Course Director to ‘pick’ their mentor, someone they aspire to be or would like to work with but Tracey will always be there for guidance.  You might even choose Tracey.  Whoever you choose you will still get to work with other instructors and professional staff as no two individuals work exactly the same way, it is all part of the learning process.

If you are interested, get in touch, pop in have a coffee (other drinks are available) and have a chat.  

Version 1: 6th Feb 2022