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Scuba Diving Certification Costs: Complete Guide

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Scuba diving can be a life-changing experience, but it requires training and certification.

You can’t rent the equipment and hop in the water to decide if certification is right for you.

Because scuba diving gear is specialized and requires training to correctly use, and because underwater diving can be hazardous, you must learn how to do it properly.

Is scuba diving certification costs worth it?

And what does it cost?

Are You Ready for Scuba Diving Certification?

If you are considering scuba diving on your next vacation or just wondering if scuba diving certification is right for you, here are a few things to consider:

Do you love swimming?

Not everyone is comfortable in the water or likes getting their face wet.

At the very least, most scuba schools require divers to float independently for longer periods.

While you only need limited swimming skills as a beginning diver, the better you can swim, and the more you enjoy it, the more you will enjoy scuba diving.

Are you healthy?

Scuba diving is not recommended for people with certain health conditions, like asthma, diabetes, or heart disease.

However, even for healthy people, scuba diving is stressful on the body and requires a particular health and fitness level.

People who are overweight but still otherwise healthy can still scuba dive, although they may have additional challenges with buoyancy.

Are you old enough?

Scuba diving is not suitable for children, and most people under 12 are not eligible for certification.

Can you afford it?

Scuba diving certification costs money.

You also need to budget for equipment rental, dive tour costs, canister filling, etc.

Scuba diving isn’t the most expensive hobby, but there are associated costs.

If you aren’t sure whether scuba diving is right for you, contact your local dive center.

Many places offer an introductory scuba experience in a pool, with lots of supervision and safety, so you can ‘get your feet wet’ before investing further in a scuba certification.

Is Scuba Certification Worth the Cost?

Yes. If you want to scuba dive, you need at least a beginning certification, so the cost isn’t optional.

And scuba certification unlocks a whole new world just beneath the water’s surface, providing completely unique experiences and transforming your perspective of the world you live in.

You simply can’t access these experiences without a scuba diving certification, and it’s worth every penny.

Average Costs for Scuba Diving Certification

Costs for scuba diving certification vary based on where you learn, what you learn, and when you learn.

Generally speaking, the most expensive path to certification is during the height of tourist season in a popular diving location.

However, planning ahead of time, accessing local resources, and getting certified before you travel helps reduce costs.

Here are some average prices for the different components of scuba diving certification.

Scuba Discovery Session

As mentioned above, if you aren’t sure whether you want to pursue scuba certification, a scuba discovery experience in a supervised pool environment can help you decide.

Cost estimate: $75-$100  

Scuba Knowledge and Theory

Part of learning to scuba dive is purely academic knowledge, similar to the written test you need to pass before getting a driver’s license.

Dive schools offer this portion of the instruction in a classroom, but it is also often provided online, so you can learn scuba diving theory from anywhere.

Time and cost estimate: 12-15 hours, $150-$200 

Scuba Instruction in a Pool

The next step in scuba certification is real-world instruction in a swimming pool.

This creates a safe environment where you can learn to manage scuba gear, get individual training, and become comfortable underwater.

Cost estimate: $150-200 

Open Water Instruction

The final step toward beginning scuba instruction is practicing your skills in open water.

Open water instruction usually consists of 3-5 instructional dives, where students practice the skills they learned in the pool.

Students get more comfortable with scuba gear, learn more about orientation and navigation, work on their buoyancy, and experience open water for the first time.

Cost estimate: $200-$250 


Most dive instruction facilities offer a package option where you can get a single price for all these levels of instruction and get your first scuba certification.

When opting for a package, expect the total cost to be approximately $400-$600.  


Scuba diving certification can be a life-changing experience and forever transform the way you experience and enjoy the water.

However, considering the average cost of holiday and vacation experiences, it isn’t even that expensive and requires more time commitment than a financial one.

Nevertheless, thousands of people worldwide become certified every year, and virtually none have any regrets.

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