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Have you ever wondered what the differences are between the PADI and SSI open water SCUBA diving certifications?

If you're interested in getting your scuba diving certification so that you can dive in whatever sites you want around the world and so that you can gain the experience you need to become an advanced diver someday, you've probably come across two schools that provide certifications: PADI and SSI. (There are many more but for now we will stick to these 2)

Being that there are two different schools claiming to provide you with exactly what you need, it may be a little confusing to figure out which one you should go with.

Continue reading to learn what the main differences are between PADI and SSI so that you can make the right decision for yourself.

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PADI vs SSI

Cost of the Certifications

PADI, which stands for the Professional Association of Diving Instructors, insists that all students purchase manuals to go along with their courses. According to the training standards of SSI or Scuba Schools International student who enroll in SSI certification programs, including Online Training are to own and use the specific SSI Training Materials.

Coursework Involved

In terms of actual coursework involved, both the PADI and SSI certification programs will give you all of the skills and knowledge you need to be a successful and safe diver. In fact, many people will tell you that the dive instructor, rather than the course itself, is the most important factor in terms of how much you learn and how well you learn the skills you need to be a scuba diver.

Overall, though, the courses teach the same information because they adhere to the standards set forth by the WRSTC, or World Recreational Scuba Training Council. There are only very minor differences between a PADI and SSI certification program.

Both SSI and PADI offer their students to start the practical portion of the scuba lessons via eLearning which will safe time and gives divers more time to just dive.

Just keep in mind that the actual names of the courses may be different between the two schools. For example, the PADI Advanced Open Water certification is the equivalent of the SSI Advanced Adventurer certification, not the SSI Advanced Open Water.

Just be careful when signing up for the courses, especially if you're taking certain courses from one school and other courses from the other.

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The PADI Learning path

Recognition of Certifications

Again, because both schools adhere to the guidelines set forth by the WRSTC, you can rest assured that certifications from both SSI and PADI schools will be recognized wherever you go in the world.

PADI and SSI dive centers seem to have the advantage of being able to access a database of students and certifications online, so if you ever forget your qualification card while you're on a trip, you can rest assured that your PADI and SSI dive centre coordinator will be able to access your information when he or she seeks the proof that you're qualified to dive.

As a new certified SSI scuba diver you do not have to pay for your certification card as where PADI charges a certification fee, although often the price for the cert card is taken into account in the full course price.

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Flexibility in Teaching Methods

With regards to flexibility when it comes to teaching methods, SSI seems to allow its instructors to have more leeway when it comes to how they teach their students, whereas PADI courses tend to be more rigid. Therefore, SSI instructors have the ability to add a bit more personalized information to the course.

We quote SSI

SSI realizes that customers become divers at different paces and Dive Professionals need flexibility to insure that each customer completes all exercises successfully – “Comfort through Repetition.” 80/20 does not mean you only have to do 80% of the SSI program. It means that you do 100% of the SSI program, but you have flexibility in the order of those classroom and pool sessions. Simply stated, 80% of the order of the skills is dictated by SSI and 20% is dictated by the Dive Professional and progress of the class. This equals 100% of the program. The 80/20 Rule only allows flexibility to reorganize or add sessions or SSI skill presentations to meet the needs of the students. 

Which One Should You Choose?

In the end, both schools offer people all over the world the opportunity to learn how to dive safely, so it's entirely up to you which one to go with, knowing that there's no right or wrong choice.

Let us know in the comments below which agency you picked to start your scuba lessons.

Would you like to start with your scuba lessons? Feel free to contact us. We have multiple partners that offer PADI and SSI scuba lessons.

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Blog written by: Rutger Thole who is an avid scuba diver and loves to travel, dive and write about scuba diving.

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