This is a very popular question when investigating where to go pro and if you want to go pro. So, we decided to address it here to helpfully give you some insight before you make a decision on if and where you want to complete your divemaster training. How much does the PADI Divemaster course cost?
To correctly address this question you have to have a look at what is actually involved in a divemaster course. You have to cover the following sections:
Academics, confined water workshops and open water workshops. In addition you have to assist instructors on various courses and guide certified divers. So at an absolute minimum, for someone coming in with a lot of experience, you would want around a month to complete the program. And that would be full time. For someone completing it part time, say at weekends it would be longer.
In addition, you need to look at the fact that you need all of your professional PADI materials. This is a standard and thankfully they are almost all digital now so there is no concern on losing them. Now, we need to add in equipment. As a dive professional you should have all of your own equipment. At an absolute bare minimum, mask, fins. Snorkel, dive computer, cutting device, compass and slates. Think about this one for a moment. You want to be a professional……a professional……how can you look like a professional and act like one if you are using rental and used gear? Does a professional electrician turn up to work and ask you to borrow a tool box? No he does not, so why should a dive professional.
Now, for the training side of it, a common misconception is that you are assisting and “working” during your internship. You cannot work as a dive professional until you have a official dive professional number. Yes’m you can guide as technically anyone can dive together if they are certified and you don’t need to have a guide but it is recommended for new areas and in PADI dive centers and other centers are around the world it is common to send a “divemaster”.
You also spend a lot of time, or should do, completing workshops with instructors. These are skill demonstration work shops, search and recovery just to start with. So you are completing a class. When you are assisting you are learning to assist and will need a fair amount of direction to start with before you are comfortable with your role.
Let’s put all of these hours together and instructor time. In addition, tanks for your dives and workshops.
On average, in this part of the world, the Divemaster course has a cost between $900 and $1600. That is not the cost of courses before juts the DM course. Plus your equipment and Divemaster application at the end of the program.
Some people might be thinking, wow, that’s a lot, but you are looking at professional education, no it is not. Especially if like a lot of programs you might end up with around 60 dives or more throughout the course .
Now the fun bit, the internship. Many courses are advertised as an internship. And there are a lot of different ones out there. Be very careful with those. An internship is to gain experience. A common one, similar to what we do here in Costa Rica is you get a discount on the course cost, in exchange for extending your DM course by 2 weeks. So discounted in program, extra week or two of training. This is the reasoning, by the end of your divemaster program you are more “useful”. Sorry to put it that way but yes you are. You can actually lead and work with other certified divers, you will know your way around and hopefully have the confidence and skills to work with clients. So that discount is paid back with a week or two of helping out more.
What you have to be very careful of though is the DM internships which are often advertised as “free”. Nothing is free. They normally charge you material cost and then have you “working over a period of 3-5 months in exchange for the course. Yes you are getting the training but very often the hours are long and the days are non-stop. How much is your time worth is what you have to break it down too as dive shops will certainly be getting their labour from you. So, if you are looking at one of these options, please be very careful. Have a real look at what you will be spending over that time as it can turn out more expensive than just going ahead and paying for your course up front. You will also have more control that way as if “interning” over an extended period of time, you are stuck in that center whether you like it or not and if you walk away, you may be walking away with nothing.
So in conclusion, how much does a Divemaster course or internship cost?
So, looking at an overall cost you will probably want to set yourself aside around $2000
Divemaster course – $900-$1800
PADI DM materials – $250
Personal Dive equipment – $600-$2500 depending on if you have regulator and BCD
Accommodation – depends on length of program and if you are completing the program at home or away.