PADI vs SSI Certification for Scuba Diving – Differences & How to Choose

PADI vs SSI Certification for Scuba Diving - Differences & How to Choose
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We will delve further into the distinctions between PADI and SSI in this article.

There are some similarities between the PADI and SSI courses. The way that lessons are taught varies the most. It is possible for SSI instructors to customize the course or include extra material.

We’ll look more closely at some of the differences between these two significant Scuba Diver Training organizations. To help you make an educated choice, we outline the key distinctions between PADI and SSI.

What is PADI?

John Cronin and Ralph Erickson established PADI, a company that offers recreational diver training, in 1966. One of the best scuba diver training organizations in the world, it offers programs and professional and entry-level diving courses to help you start a career in diving.

PADI vs SSI Certification for Scuba Diving - Differences & How to Choose

Being PADI certified indicates that a person has successfully completed a diving course taught by a PADI instructor. They can engage in diving activities up to the level of their certification safely after finishing the scuba diving theory, an exam, and practical exercises.

What is SSI Certification?‍

In addition to supporting dive shops and resorts, SSI is a group that instructs students in the skills necessary for scuba diving. Robert Clark, a pioneer in the scuba diving training industry, founded SSI in the US in 1970. A full teaching curriculum, including the first full-motion video, were both first provided by SSI, another pioneer in the field. Comparable to the PADI organization is the SSI organization.

How Are They Different?

So, the chances are that if you’re reading this blog, you know that there are two dive organizations called PADI and SSI. However, it is undeniable that PADI rules the diving world in the vast majority of places.

This isn’t to say that it is going to stay this way, as SSI has been steadily increasing in growth over the past years. Although it will be a while before it matches PADI in size, it is growing in popularity.

Modern Technology

SSI has improved its offerings for online certification and study over the last few years. It has an app where you can track your dives, request an instructor to assign course materials, and show off your credentials. A comparable one is offered by PADI, but it has drawn attention for having accessibility problems.

Course Materials

With SSI you can study for free online at no extra cost. Additionally, for the duration of your research, you can borrow materials from your dive shop. PADI typically charges for its course materials, either so you can access them online or so you can purchase physical copies.

When you obtain your qualification with either company, you are searchable in their online databases. With PADI, it will cost you more if you want a real card. SSI might be the better option for you if you’re watching your pennies, despite the apparent price similarities.

Teaching Methods

PADI and SSI courses have nearly identical curriculums. The method of instruction is one area where there are differences. To meet PADI requirements and pass the course, PADI insists that skills be finished in a specific order.

SSI offers a little bit more flexibility. We can move on and return to a skill, for instance, if a student is having trouble with it. This enables the student to master other skills before returning to the one they were having trouble with, helping them gain confidence.

Going Pro

If you have made the decision that you want to be a diving professional, you want to choose the right organisation for you.

The first step on the ladder is your divemaster training. At this point, it still doesn’t really matter which organization you join. By the time it’s all over, you’ll be at the same level, but there are other things to consider.

The more crucial factors are the shop’s atmosphere, the location, and your preferred style of instruction. Our divemaster program is one of Gili Trawangan’s busiest and most well-liked.

There is more of a difference when it comes to instructor training. To teach SSI, a PADI instructor only needs to complete a two-day cross-over course. In contrast, an SSI instructor must complete a more in-depth and more expensive crossover course to teach as a PADI instructor.

Instructors for PADI can operate independently of any dive shop. They are qualified to teach anywhere in the world if they have successfully completed the instructor development course (IDC).

Benefits and drawbacks to this both exist. Flexibility and the freedom to work from any location are advantages. The drawbacks are that they bear full responsibility for anything that goes wrong. This is true even when teaching out of a PADI dive centre.

To teach, an SSI instructor must be connected to a SSI center (dive shop). Again, this has its ups and downs. The downside is that it offers less flexibility for the instructor. The good news is that the instructor and the center both share liability in the event of an accident. This motivates the shops to demand professionalism and high standards from their instructors.

What Are the Costs of the Certifications and Training Materials?

To minimize the amount of time you must spend in a classroom during your priceless vacation, PADI and SSI both offer online training (only the theoretical portion). But the cost of these two is different.

Please make sure to calculate the total price, which includes all course materials and certification fees, when comparing prices for the open water diver course (or any course) with various dive operators. A “cheap” course at first glance can work out more expensive once all has been added up!

You should prepare to pay an additional $150 to $200 for the course materials and certification fees if they are not yet included in the published price.

Therefore, it makes a lot of sense to get in touch with the dive shop you plan to complete the underwater training with beforehand and inquire about their rates.

PADI vs SSI Certification for Scuba Diving - Differences & How to Choose

PADI Versus SSI Which One is Better?

It’s likely that you will overhear conversations about the best scuba training facility whenever you board a dive boat with divers of all sizes and shapes. Moreover, why this one is superior to that one. If not, let me tell you that every diver is totally convinced, that “his” training agency is the best.

Well, every training agency will teach you how to be a skilled diver, as there are certain skills every diver needs to have. However, each training agency has a slightly different strategy when it comes to theoretical education, requirements, and certification costs.

Let me make one thing clear up front: the World Recreational Scuba Diving Council’s general guidelines are followed by both PADI and SSI.


In conclusion, there aren’t many differences between PADI and SSI. As a recreational diver, you probably won’t notice the differences if you aren’t finishing a course because they are so slight. Both uphold strict training standards everywhere they go. Both are widely recognized as diving credentials.


Can You Dive With a PADI as SSI?

The scuba diving certifications from PADI and SSI are also fully interchangeable; you can become certified as an Open Water Diver with SSI, then complete your PADI Advanced Course, your Rescue Course with NAUI, and so on up to instructor level without having to take additional training.

What is the Difference Between SSI and PADI Diving?

What are the primary distinctions? With Padi’s central survey-based Q&A system, courses can be taught entirely by themselves and are instructor-led. Since SSI courses are dive shop led and instructors can only teach through a dive shop that monitors and surveys the quality, they are only available through dive shops.

Does SSI Diving Expire?

Divers must maintain their SSI certifications and must have the certifications and/or dive logs to prove this.

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