How Do I Get a SCUBA Certification?

You might have grown up watching Jacques Cousteau, picked up snorkeling on your last island vacation, or just want to experience what life is like under water. Whatever your motivation, scuba diving is a fun, relaxing and safe hobby as long as you have the right training. Most people with reasonably good health and good swimming skills can learn to safely dive with a few days of training.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Swim fins
  • Diving mask
  • Snorkel
Step 1
Visit your doctor to ensure that you are in good enough physical condition for scuba diving. Go over your medical history in detail and understand how it might impact your ability to dive.
Step 2
Identify certified scuba instructors who fit your needs, such as your schedule, location and price you have in mind. In the United States, NAUI, PADI, and SSI are the main certification agencies whose certifications are honored worldwide. Visit, or to help find a scuba instructor.
Step 3
Call or visit the dive instructor of your choice and speak to him about certification. Learn about the programs offered and the time and equipment involved. Ask about private or semi-private classes if you feel you will require special attention or if you require a specific schedule. Find out what equipment is available for rent and what equipment you must purchase.
Step 4
Obtain your personal equipment if you do not already own it. Typically dive instruction requires the student to own a diving mask, swim fins and a snorkel. If you have trouble locating scuba equipment locally or the local dive shop has a limited selection, there are many online retailers.
Step 5
Select an instructor, set a date and start your training. Although every program is different and instructors have the option to present the material in any order they choose, you will typically have one day of classroom learning, one day of confined water (in a swimming pool) instruction, one day of open water (ocean or lake) instruction and a written test.

Tips & Warnings

If you do not live near a dive center, you can do your course work online, then travel for your practical training. It is popular to plan a tropical vacation around becoming scuba certified.
Even with proper instruction and good equipment, scuba diving can be dangerous and lead to serious injury or death. To reduce the risk, always dive conservatively within your limits and according to your training and never dive alone. Certain medical conditions can impact your ability to dive safely.

Article Written By Diane Hansen

Diane Hansen has a thirst for adventure and loves to share the world through the written word. Currently, she is the feature editor for "TRAVELHOST" magazine and is working on her first novel. She graduated from Cal State San Bernardino in 2002 with a B.A. in business administration with a concentration in marketing. She has been writing freelance since 1996.

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