How to Become a Divemaster: The Complete Guide


Jason is an adventure travel writer with a passion for exploring the world's most beautiful and remote destinations.

If you’re passionate about scuba diving and already have your certification, did you know you could turn it into a seasonal career?

Becoming a divemaster isn’t easy, but it’s a fantastic challenge for skilled scuba divers. 

If you’d love to start making money from scuba diving or you just want to hone your skills as a diver, here’s your complete guide on how to become a divemaster. 

And if you are a non-swimmer, we’ve got the perfect guide for that: Scuba Diving For Non-Swimmers: How to Get Started.

What is a Divemaster?

Divemaster with training

A divemaster is a specific level of certification you can get in scuba diving. The PADI Divemaster program is the world’s most popular professional-level training course and gives experienced divers the opportunity to make money from their passion. 

Divemasters are a key part of any scuba diving school or trip. They have specific responsibilities, including organizing the logistics of dive trips, ensuring correct boat management procedures, and assisting scuba diving instructors. 

It’s common for divemasters to work in a dive center, but you’ll also find them in resorts, on cruise ships, and even on private yachts. 

Why Become a Divemaster?

Divemaster explaining basics

If you love scuba diving and you’re thinking about taking your PADI divemaster course, there are some great reasons to take the plunge. 

  • Strengthen your knowledge base and dive skills by learning from peers at dive locations around the world. 
  • Get the opportunity to work in world-class dive resorts or travel the world making money on cruise ships, boats, and even on river dives. 
  • Become a role model and mentor to trainee divers – there’s nothing like seeing the excitement on newbie divers’ faces when they’re learning the ropes. 
  • Take part in essential marine conservation projects and get an inside look at marine ecosystems. There are even opportunities for marine research that lets you get up close and personal with marine animals. 

Pros and Cons of Becoming a Divemaster

Divemaster cons

It’s not all roses, though; becoming a divemaster has pros and cons to consider. 

CON: It’s expensive to become a divemaster

It’s pricey to undergo a divemaster internship, so you’ll need the funds to get started. However, there’s no need to take refresher courses once you’re done, so it’s a one-time cost. PADI also provides free online training to get you started, so you can dip your toe in and figure out if it’s right for you without a financial commitment. 

CON: You’ll work long hours

As a divemaster, you’ll spend hours diving, teaching, and preparing for trips. As well as the hours out on the water, you’ve also got office hours to factor in. Overall, it’s a job with long hours, so you need to be passionate to stick with it. 

CON: It’s not a full-time career 

You won’t earn serious money as a divemaster, and most people do it as a seasonal gig just because they love diving so much. 

CON: You’ll have heavy responsibilities

Even during training, you’ll learn how to work as a team and get a lot of responsibilities to handle. You’ll be responsible for the health and safety of others, which can be stressful. Be prepared to take criticism and feedback – you’ll get a lot at the start. 

PRO: Travel the world

Divemasters are needed in every corner of the world, so you’ll get plenty of opportunities to travel and work in different dive shops. If you can speak more than one language, that’s a huge bonus and will help you get more gigs abroad. One season you could be diving in the Great Barrier Reef, and the next, you could be in a dive school in the Maldives. 

PRO: You’ll become a master

It’s called Divemaster for a reason – you’ll learn how to be an expert diver and have an extremely valuable skill set.

PRO: Free dives!

Working in a dive shop means going on free dives. Yes, you have to work, but you still get the chance to do some of the most incredible dives in the world and add them to your logbook as a certified diver. 

Divemaster Training: What Does It Entail?

Divemaster explaining to students

There are a few prerequisites for divemaster training. PADI and SSI are the most popular schools for scuba diving, and both offer excellent divemaster courses. 

Each training school has slightly different requirements, but here’s what you’ll need for PADI:

  • Be a PADI rescue diver or equivalent.
  • Hold a recognized first aid and CPR certification completed within the past 24 months. 
  • Logged a minimum of 40 dives. 

This is all to ensure you have a good foundational knowledge of diving and enough experience to handle the increased responsibilities of the divemaster training. 

During your divemaster course, you’ll study diving theory in-depth, including physics, physiology, and decompression theory. 

You’ll also hone your dive leadership skills to the point where you can effortlessly demonstrate skills to student divers. 

There are two exams:

  • A stamina test, including a 400-meter freestyle swim and a 15-minute water-treading exercise. 
  • A series of workshops focused on specialized diving activities, including search & recovery and deep diving. 

You’ll be evaluated on your skills and your ability to control divers in real-world and open water environments. You’ll also get full training on how to conduct dive courses. 

How Much Does a Divemaster Make?

Although divemasters are paid, it’s hard to make it a full-time career. It’s great as a seasonal job, but it does tend to go quiet during the off-season when fewer people want to go scuba diving. 

According to Ziprecruiter, on average, a divemaster in the US makes about $65,000 a year. However, salaries range from $20,000 to over $146,000, depending on skill level and location. 

What Are The Responsibilities Of a Divemaster?

Divemasters in action

So, you’ve got your training under your belt, and you’re ready to get a job as a master scuba diver – what will you actually be doing on a daily basis? Here’s a look at some of the responsibilities of a qualified divemaster:

  • Act as an instructional assistant to a PADI instructor during dive activities. 
  • Conduct divemaster programs, such as the PADI Re-Activate program.
  • Perform scuba reviews for divers who have been out of the water for extended periods of time. 
  • Actively engage with guests at hotels and offer intro diving experiences for non-swimmers in the pool with the aim of getting them prepared for open water scuba diving activities. 
  • Know your way around the equipment service center to complete stock checks. 
  • Administrative duties, such as answering the phone and checking emails.
  • Completing dive checks for certified divers who don’t have their certification cards with them.  

You can also complete additional diver training, which would allow you to perform additional duties, such as the PADI Emergency O2 Provider Instructor course or the Discover Scuba Diving Leader course. 

Who is it For?

Overall, becoming a divemaster is for anyone who is passionate about scuba diving and already has their basic training under their belt. 

If you love the idea of making some extra cash as a scuba diver, becoming a divemaster will allow you to do that. Just don’t expect to get rich from this career!

Even if you don’t plan on turning your love of diving into a career, completing the divemaster training is a great accomplishment for any seasoned scuba diver and helps you progress up the certification ladder. 

Will You Become a Divemaster?

If you’re a passionate scuba diver and you’ve already got some certifications under your belt, it might be worth looking into becoming a divemaster. It is an expensive qualification to obtain, but once you’ve got it, it’s yours for life, and you don’t need any refresher courses. 

Choose a well-known school to secure your training – PADI and SSI are the most popular, and both have fantastic divemaster training courses. 

Leave a Comment