Master Diver: Role Definition, Requirements & How To Get Certified

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vector graphic showing master diver certification cards from padi, SSI, and NAUI

Master Scuba Diver, or master diver for short, is a certification offered by the top scuba diving schools that shows full mastery of scuba diving.

It allows the recipient of the certificate to participate in recreational diving practices and is the highest level of recreational scuba diving certification available to non-professionals.

You must understand the role’s requirements and how to get certified before embarking on the journey to master diver certification.

Lucky for you, we are here to help!

We will cover what a master diver is, what you can do with this certification, and where you can obtain the certification. Keep reading for more information!

Basics of the Master Diver Certification

Before we begin talking about where to get the certification, let’s look at the basics of what a master diver is and what they do.

What Is a Master Diver?

A master diver is a person who has completed all necessary qualifications laid out by the agency from which they are obtaining the certificate.

All agencies require similar skill sets, but each process has a different amount of steps or order of steps.

What Does a Master Diver Do?

A master diver is a recreational certification.

Once a person obtains this title, they can scuba dive recreationally wherever it is allowed.

For instance, you must be certified if you want to scuba dive on vacation.

If the agency you are certified through is approved by the excursion host, you can use your master diver certification to scuba dive.

Master divers are also able to navigate the open water without a supervisor and can scuba dive at night!

What Is the Difference Between a Master Diver and a Dive Master?

A master diver is the highest level of recreational scuba diving certification available.

A Dive master is someone who has completed master diver status and has reached the first level of professional scuba diving certifications.

These certifications are for people who want to help others obtain their master diving title or who want to go into a career in rescue diving.


Related: A comprehensive list of scuba diving certifications


More Details on Master Divers

Next, we get into the deeper weeds of master diver details, now that you know the basics.

What Are the Benefits of Becoming a Master Diver?

Becoming a master diver is a great choice if you want to dive often and without direct supervision.

If you live near a body of water, frequently go to bodies of water, or have a sense of adventure, getting your master diver certification is worth it.

Once you have it, there are many more activities and adventures open to you!

How Much Does a Master Diver Earn?

Master divers do not have a salary as it is a recreational certificate.

Once you complete it, you can move on to becoming a dive master, which is the first step on the professional diving ladder.

With your dive master certification, you can begin instructing others to get their master diver certifications, where you can get a job working for a company that offers certifications if you like.

Dive masters make about $40,000-$50,000 a year, depending on where you live, who you work for, and where you work geographically.

Remember, having the master diver certificate does not allow you to teach and make money.

You must get the dive master certification before you can do that.

Certification Agencies for Master Diver Certifications

There are a few top certification agencies that offer master diver certifications.

Read below for more information on the prerequisites for each agency and the requirements for each agency.

SSI Master Diver Certification

Scuba Schools International, or SSI, offers a master diver certification as part of their advanced diving courses.

After completing all five beginner-level scuba diving courses, you may go on to the advanced scuba diving courses with SSI.

To obtain your master diver certification with SSI, you need to complete:

  • Advanced Adventurer Course
  • Specialty Diver Course
  • Advanced Open Water Diver Course
  • Master Diver Course

NAUI Master Diver Certification

vector graphic showing the NAUI Worldwide logo underwater

The National Associations of Underwater Instructors offers a master diver certification created by two professional divers who also are professional diving instructors.

The certification is composed of eight open-water dives, four of which are required.

You may choose the other four from a shortlist to be able to get more practice in an area that interests you.

After completing these eight dives, you are a master diver!

To take the master diver course with NAUI, you must have at least an advanced diver certification from NAUI or its equivalent.

Required dives for NAUI Master Diver certification:

  • Emergency Procedures and Rescue Course
  • Deep/Simulated Decompression Diving Course
  • Limited Visibility or Night Diving Course
  • Underwater Navigation – Search and Recovery – Light Salvage Course

List of dives to choose from for NAUI Master Diver certification:

  • Skin Diving
  • Environmental Study or Survey
  • Air Consumption (Practical Application)
  • Boat Diving

PADI Master Diver Certification

The Professional Association of Diving Instructors offers a master diver certification to people who complete five specialty PADI certifications and have logged a minimum of 50 dives.

The following are required prerequisite certifications for PADI master diver certifications:

  • PADI Open Water Diver certification
  • PADI Advanced Open Water Diver certification
  • PADI Rescue Diver certification

Additionally, you will need to complete five specialty courses.

The list of these courses is long and can be found here, but a few notable courses are below.

  • Peak Performance Buoyancy
  • Enriched Air (Nitrox) Diver
  • Underwater Navigator
  • Wreck Diver
  • Night Diver
  • Equipment Specialist
  • Boat Diver

How To Become a Master Diver

Becoming a master diver takes time and money, but it is not that hard to do if you find the agency that works best with your budget and time constraints.

vector graphic showing master diver certification cards from padi, SSI, and NAUI

How Hard Is It To Become a Master Diver?

Besides learning the basics of scuba diving, there is not much to becoming a master diver.

Once you begin courses, you keep rising in the ranks until you reach master diver status. A good attitude and work ethic is key to becoming a master diver.

What Is Required To Become a Master Diver?

There are different prerequisites and requirements based on each agency, so check your agency’s specific requirements before you start.

However, you should be at least 12 years old and have previously completed basic scuba diving classes and obtained a certification or two.

How Much Does It Cost To Become a Master Diver?

Becoming a master diver can cost up to $1500.

The price adds up quickly due to the processing fees, application fees, multiple courses necessary to obtain the certification, and the cost of paying the person who trains you.

Ask for clarification from your program about cost.

How Long Does It Take To Become a Master Diver?

Certification length depends on the agency you go through.

Some require only a few dives to become a master diver, while others require anywhere from 5-10 on top of additional courses.

You need a basic scuba diving certification to start any master diver program.

Obtaining the basic certification might take some time in the beginning.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here is a common question regarding master divers.

vector graphic showing a diver deep diving in an ocean

How Deep Can a Master Diver Go?

PADI master divers who are 15 years old and older can go up to 30m or 100 feet deep.

If a diver also gets the deep diver specialty certification, they can go up to 40m or 130 feet.

The bottom line is that 100 feet is the standard allowable depth for master divers.

Wrapping Up

Now that you know everything there is to know about master diver certification, are you ready to get started?

There are tons of places to access master diver certification, just search for a spot nearest you.

If you have any recommendations or tips for becoming a master diver, comment below!

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