Scuba Diving Certification Costs: The Complete Guide

Scuba diving certification is a lot like the college experience. You have to take classes and do homework, but in this case, you are learning life skills rather than academic knowledge. The first step is to pick out your course materials whether it’s a textbook or an eLearning course. Make sure you spend some time researching because not all scuba diving schools are created equal. Once you’ve chosen your school then it’s time to sign up for the next available class! Don’t wait around too long because these spots fill up quickly! After that, you’ll be ready for your final exam which will consist of writing a paper and taking an oral test on what you learned in class. It may seem like a lot of work at first, but if done correctly you will thank me later for saving big bucks.

Differences in certifications and courses

There are many differences between the different certifications and courses. Course duration, number of dives required to complete the course, cost, or how much they teach you can be found by looking at the different certifications.

There are many different types of scuba diving courses and certifications. The requirements to obtain a certification vary from state to state, but the most common is the PADI Open Water Diver Certification.

There are many others such as NAUI, SSI, BSAC & a few other less popular ones. Each of the diver certification agencies has a different set of requirements to obtain their certification. What is required and how much it costs will vary a lot from state to state. The PADI Open Water Diver Certification (OWD) is the most popular by far and the one that I recommend.

The OWD is pretty much what you would expect, they take you diving in open water and then teach you how to be a competent diver. The PADI Advanced Open Water Diver Certification (AOWD) is similar to the OWD, but it does include some more advanced open water dives and skills that you will need to be comfortable diving in any environment.

How much does it cost to get certified as a Scuba Diver?

To get certified as a PADI Open Water Diver (OWD) or a PADI Advanced Open Water diver (AOWD) It will cost you somewhere between $500 and $1500.

That price varies according to the type of program you’re taking and how many dives you’re taking. Do you want a guest house or resort to host your classes? Do you want to do the class in one day, or over multiple days? It all factors into how much it costs. For example, the PADI Open Water course usually takes around 4 days and on average costs $500. Some courses may be less expensive but they would take longer to complete. Most offer the course over multiple days which saves you time and money to complete it.

What are the hidden costs of obtaining a diving certification?

The hidden cost is that you need to purchase equipment, and often the rental fees that you will be charged for the equipment. This is because, in order to get certified, you need to purchase some of the necessary equipment such as a mask, snorkel, fins, wetsuit, and a diving knife.

Some of these items may be especially expensive to purchase. For example, if you go to the store and buy a snorkel for $10, you might also have to purchase a new mask for $12, fins for $16, a wet suit for $25, and a diving knife for $15. If you’re going to do a PADI course, you may be charged a fee to get certified. This fee is currently $500 for a limited time, and it can range from $400 to $600 depending on the location.

Saving money when getting certified in scuba diving.

The thing that most scuba diving courses do not tell you is that you can actually save money by getting certified. Here’s a detailed analysis of how to get certified in scuba diving at a low cost:

  1. Get the traditional way of theory instead of eLearning. The eLearning material is generally more expensive than the physical books
  2. Choose a dive center that included scuba gear, meals & accommodations.
  3. Choose a cheaper place to conduct training like SEA: Thailand, Malaysia & Indonesia. For me: I did my open water training in Tioman Island which cost me about RM1200 (approx. $350 includes accommodation, meals & transportation.)
  4. Stick to one dive center instead of doing with multiple dive centers. They normally have discounts for existing students.
  5. Get scuba gear like the mask & fin from Decathlon, or get them secondhand.
  6. Compare a few packages that offer by different Dive Centers. You can find them on PADI official websites
  7. Do not overcomplicate your training. For example, if you are just starting out with scuba, don’t jump straight to the advanced course.
  8. Be prepared for your training, watch the training video twice, and practice in the pool, if you fail your theory or open water training, which you will have to pay more to redo the training course.

After you complete the certification course what is left?

After you complete the certification course, there are still some things that you need to do. It is important to be aware of these things because they can save you a lot of money and stress later on.

You will have to buy your own scuba gear once you finish all your courses. Remember that different dive centers have different rates when renting out gears. You will also have to buy your own diving insurance which can range from $50-$200 per year depending on the country you’re in. Check out our post on how to choose your scuba dive computer for beginners to get a good idea.

It’s important to know that there is a difference between technical diving & recreational diving. We will explain this in another article as this requires more in-depth training after you have been certified as a beginner.

Best places to dive for beginner divers

Now you are certified and very excited to go for recreational dive. You have come to the right place because we will show you some of the places that are best for beginner divers. We have listed these according to different criteria such as accessibility, cost, whether they are beaches or islands, and so on.

Where it is: South East Asia & Middle East. There is no set rate for diving here and will depend on your package, but expect to pay around $80 per day including meals and accommodation. If you are renting hotel rooms then this may be higher or lower. I mentioned getting certified in Tioman island and the Dive center is very reputable. Check out Scuba Do Dive Center and they are a certified PADI 5 star dive center.


Scuba diving is an exciting and rewarding sport that requires certification to become a certified diver. This article has provided you with the information necessary for saving money when getting your scuba certificate in order to help make this process easier on your budget. Next, never forget to consult your travel insurance before you book your scuba diving holiday. Don’t dive more than three over the limit. Respect marine lives, don’t litter, and be mindful of what you do when underwater. Remember, it’s illegal to touch living marine animals without permission. Be mindful and safe, cheers!

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