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PADI Specialty Diver Certifications

There are more than thirty PADI specialties to explore and you can start many of them through the digital learning facility called - eLearning™.

All the PADI Specialty Courses listed in this section will help you find your favourite diving adventure. Click through and learn how to earn the rating of Specialty Diver for that particular underwater activity.

Improve Your Scuba Skills With Specialties

We don't need to have all divers be in total agreement about which are the best PADI Specialty Courses to choose.

Why is that?

It's because they all contain training exercises and special assignments for improving your scuba skills and diving knowledge.

So, it's not only beginners who will benefit. Being at one of the PADI® Pro Levels means you can still learn new skills from the Specialty Diver training.

Most certified divers have certain types of scuba activities that interest them more than others. But, each Specialty Course prerequisite (and your age) may mean some of the specialties listed alphabetically from A to Z below might be 'off limits' for a while.

Here's a few examples:

The majority of adventure seekers (myself included) prefer to dive around large, rusty, sunken shipwrecks that are usually resting in deep dark water on the seabed.

Adventurous divers like to go diving at night after sunset. This is when you get to see unusual critters come out to feed, such as crabs, moray eels, and lobsters.

Whereas, others (especially entry level and novice divers) might enjoy using underwater photography to shoot fish or snap colourful corals.

In most cases, beginners like to dive in shallow water that has good visibility. They're still learning about buoyancy control, air consumption, and how to communicate with scuba diving hand signals underwater.

In each of these examples, there may be scuba diving age limits or maximum depth restrictions that will prevent you from signing up for your preferred adventure dives.

Special Scuba Courses for Active Divers

You can complete some of the specialised training courses in as little as one (1) day. The most popular single-day PADI Specialty Certifications include:

Whereas, others will take several days of diving to learn the skills and knowledge necessary to get certified as a Specialty Diver. For example, you need more than one day to learn how to:

PADI® Specialties are available almost anywhere there is water. Even so, some of the courses (e.g. Ice Diver) are usually conducted in the most appropriate geographical regions.

Advanced Open Water and Corresponding Specialties

Performing special dive related tasks underwater generally appeals most to divers who have already completed the Advanced Open Water Diver course.

If Advanced Diver is your current rating, you have experienced an insight into the many different types of activities that you can conduct in various open water environments.

As a result, the five (5) core adventure dives that you would have already completed create a foundation for future exciting escapades in scuba. Furthermore, almost all PADI Specialty Courses count towards the elite Master Scuba Diver Rating.

Important: The majority of the specialties are available all year round in Pattaya, Thailand. Please click on any of the specialty course links to view more information about the certification that interests you the most.

A to Z PADI Specialty Courses

The best way to broaden your horizons and expand your diving skills repertoire is to dive into a specialty training course.

5 Most Popular PADI Specialties

  1. Enriched Air (Nitrox) Diver
  2. Wreck Diver
  3. Dry Suit Diver
  4. Deep Diver
  5. Dive Against Debris®

Pro Tip: Many specialty certifications count towards PADI Master Scuba Diver. Check out the specialty courses list below and use the links for further details on over thirty specialties listed from A to Z.

Adaptive Support Diver

Some divers have limited and varied capabilities or abilities. Nonetheless, using adaptive techniques when diving or freediving means you can use special knowledge and skills to help a buddy with a disability.

You can learn the best way to help support a dive buddy with a physical or mental challenge in the PADI® Adaptive Support Diver Specialty Course. To enrrol in the course, you need to:

Despite not being a requirement, having the PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy certification means you will have better awareness about your weighting and trimming underwater.

Note: Dive into the frequently asked questions about scuba diving section for detailed answers to popular topics divers ask us about. It includes a response about diving with a disability, and how the International Association for Handicapped Divers (IAHD) can help.

Adaptive Techniques

Having reached the professional levels at PADI, all scuba educators will become more aware about giving individual considerations to dive students with physical or mental challenges.

The coaching you'll receive in the PADI® Adaptive Techniques Specialty course enhances your training and prepares you to adapt normal ways of working to help to meet diver needs.

Advanced Rebreather Diver

Are you a person who enjoys diving in silence? Do you want to dive deep - down to forty (40) metres (130 feet)?

If so, you will relish the specialised training that you get in the PADI Advanced Rebreather Diver course. It will include specific instructions about bailout requirements and configuring bailout systems.

Altitude Diver

Simply put, altitude diving means you are using scuba gear higher than three hundred (300) metres above sea level (one thousand feet).

The knowledge acquired through the PADI Altitude Diver Specialty training helps you avoid problems when diving at altitude and prepares you for handling emergency situations.

AWARE Shark Conservation

Sharks are one of the vulnerable species that get a bad rap (undeserved reputation) and conservationists are taking positive action to save and protect them.

But, after becoming an AWARE Shark Conservation Diver you will better understand why all healthy oceans need sharks.

Note: No matter whether you love sharks (like we do) or you're scared of them, you can learn more about shark species facts in our marine life animals section.

Boat Diver

The PADI Boat Diver Specialty Course is a must-have certification if you plan on scuba diving from different kinds of boats.

You will learn how to make safe exits and entries from small inflatables (e.g. RHIB), power boats, and large liveaboards. The knowledge development sessions will help you understand boating terminology and using drift lines in strong currents will become 'plain sailing'.

Note: Another section explains the proper boating etiquette for divers and snorkelers and why considerate behaviour is important for the safety of everyone on board.

Cavern Diver

You will need to have superior diving knowledge and strong scuba skills to explore underwater caverns in a correct and safe manner.

The PADI Cavern Diver Specialty training teaches you how to enter far enough inside a cavern to fulfill the adventure - but not so far that you lose the light zone (e.g. so you can make an easy exit).

Coral Reef Conservation

Most divers and snorkelers fail to understand the full complexity of coral reef habitats and the importance of protecting healthy corals that live in the aquatic realm.

There are no experience requirements to take the AWARE - Coral Reef Conservation Specialty Course and there is no need to make any in-water scuba training dives.

Note: Because there are no age restrictions, this is one of the PADI® non-diving certification courses that are suitable for children and young adults.

Deep Diver

There are several important safety concepts you need to learn about before you start diving in deep water environments. In scuba diving terms, 'deep' means dives below eighteen (18) metres (60 feet).

After earning the PADI® Deep Diver Specialty Certification you will be able to explore deeper locations and get to see bigger marine animals that live beyond the limits for entry level divers.

Delayed Surface Marker Buoy (DSMB) Diver

Being equipped to launch a delayed surface marker buoy (DSMB) before you surface is a legal requirement in many of the best diving destinations around the world.

As a result, having the Delayed Surface Marker Buoy certification means you will never dive without SMBs being part of your routine scuba safety equipment.

Digital Underwater Photographer

Knowing how to take photographs of underwater creatures and structures is a skill that the vast majority of divers discover through trial and error.

Or, you can shortcut the process by taking the Digital Underwater Photographer Specialty and get tips and tricks from the experts.

Distinctive Specialty Diver

It is not unusual for a PADI® Scuba Instructor to have a special diving interest with expertise in any given topic. In some cases, the knowledge or information will be specific to a local area.

If so, these instructors can write their own Specialty Diver Course outline and then apply for approval from PADI to make it available to other divers by publishing it.

Note: Another section contains a comprehensive list of Distinctive Specialty Courses, including Sea Turtle Awareness, Invasive Lionfish Tracker, and Whale Shark Awareness.

Dive Against Debris

Does the thought of collecting marine debris enthuse you? If so, you will get to practice weighing, sorting, and recording what you removed from the water after you finish the dives.

Take the PADI Dive Against Debris® Diver Specialty course and you'll learn more about ocean plastic and how to organise trash cleanups to keep your local diving and snorkeling sites healthier.

Diver Propulsion Vehicle

We'll admit that DPV Diving is not for everyone. Even so, the benefits of taking the PADI (DPV) Underwater Scooter Course include swimming less, seeing more, and having a lot of fun doing so.

In most cases, you'll also be using less air from the tank as you try out different manoeuvres (James Bond style) while learning how to handle various types of DPVs.

Drift Diver

The primary reasons for taking a Drift Diving Course may not be immediately obvious to a beginner. Why would you want to scuba dive in a current anyway?

The answer is simple. The PADI Drift Diver Specialty Course teaches you how to glide effortlessly (instead of having to use fin kicks). You'll also learn how to use surface signalling equipment and the importance of using clear buddy communication techniques.

Dry Suit Diver

The requirements for completing the PADI® Dry Suit Diver Specialty Course include one (1) pool session and two (2) dives in an open water environment (e.g. a freshwater lake).

As a result, controlling the air inside a waterproof suit and staying warm in cold water are some of the key differences between drysuit diving and scuba diving in a neoprene wetsuit.

Emergency Oxygen Provider

Learning how to administer a supply of emergency oxygen to an injured diver is an invaluable skill to have during a dive emergency.

Hence, the PADI Emergency Oxygen Provider Specialist Course is a practical way to learn more about using different types of equipment to treat common scuba diving injuries.

Enriched Air (Nitrox) Diver

With only a few exceptions, diving with nitrox allows for longer dives. But, you need to know how to dive safely if you want to breathe Enriched Air mixtures underwater.

After earning the PADI Enriched Air Specialty Certification you can also choose to participate in the two (2) optional scuba dives conducted with a nitrox gas mix in the tank.

Equipment Specialist

There's nothing more disappointing than missing a dive because of a torn fin strap or a broken zipper on a wetsuit.

Sign up for the PADI Scuba Equipment Specialist course and you may be able to 'save-the-dive' if you can make minor repairs to your scuba gear.

Fish Identification Specialty Course

The dives become a lot more enjoyable after taking the Fish ID Specialty Course because you'll be able to identify common characteristics about certain species and fish families.

Note: Check out two other sections that contain useful information about Sea Life Creatures as well as a comprehensive guide on Marine Invertebrates and Vertebrates (e.g. Sea Squirts and Groupers).

Full Face Mask Diver

Why would anyone want to dive with a full face mask? First, it means you can breathe from your nose and mouth. Second, you'll feel less cold in colder water.

So, complete the Full Face Mask Diving course and you'll learn how to use communication gear underwater (e.g. when completing certain tasks from this PADI Specialty Courses list).

Ice Diver

Diving under solid ice is one of the most challenging scuba specialties you can choose to try. You must be knowledgeable about the roles and responsibilities of support personnel and safety divers.

But, if you're searching for a beauty that only a select few get to see, and you're into extreme scuba diving events, the PADI Ice Diver course is going to appeal to your adventurous nature.

Multilevel Diver

Wouldn't it be great to have a method that can extend the time you spend underwater? There is... and it's called multilevel diving.

The popular PADI Multilevel Diver Specialty Course teaches divers how to calculate multilevel dives and do a two-level and a three-level dive using the electronic version of the RDP (eRDPML).

Night Diver

Diving a familiar site at nighttime can be exciting for many. Yet, darkness underwater also creates an eerie, somewhat unnatural, feeling for others.

Sign up and complete the PADI Night Diver Specialty to find out what happens when the daytime creatures sleep and the nocturnal organisms come out to feed.

Peak Performance Buoyancy

When you have perfect balance in the water table you have achieved neutral buoyancy. You will float with ease, use less air, and get up close to timid marine life.

Beginners will learn how to become neutrally buoyant in the Peak Performance Buoyancy (PPB) Specialty - and you can finish the training in only one day.

Project AWARE Specialist

Scuba divers, snorkelers, and anyone else who is enthusiastic about the 'Blue Planet' can unite to make a difference about protecting the oceans.

The Project AWARE Specialty is the ideal course for divers and non-divers to spend a day out of the water and gain some insight into issues we face above and below the surface.

Rebreather Diver

In general, using a recreational rebreather offers divers a reduction in gas consumption (because you will reuse most of the exhaled gas) and longer no stop limits.

One of the main advantages for taking the PADI Rebreather Diver course is for the unparalleled encounters you'll get with underwater wildlife - because you won't be releasing any of those 'annoying' bubbles.

Search and Recovery Diver

After completing entry level certification, people have different reasons for taking the challenging course to become a Search and Recovery Diver.

In general, earning the PADI Search and Recovery Specialty will help you make underwater search patterns to find lost or valuable items and bring them to the surface.

Self-Reliant Diver

We include the topic of 'solo diving' in our A-Z list of PADI Specialties. But, we also want to emphasise that diving with a buddy is considered as being a safer way to dive.

Even so, if you have specific reasons for developing self-reliance skills, the PADI Self Reliant Diver course is what you need for the proper training and equipment before you go diving without a buddy.

Sidemount Rec Diver

In most cases, you will find diving with sidemount tanks to be more comfortable than having one strapped to your back. It usually improves your balance and they are easier to wear once you get in the water.

You can complete PADI eLearning™ Programs for scuba coursework online (2 to 4 hours). Then, you can go diving with a highly-trained instructor to finish the practical sessions for Sidemount Rec Diver certification.

Underwater Naturalist

Most divers lack a meaningful understanding about the local ecosystems. For example, do you know what differentiates terrestrial and aquatic worlds?

If you are interested in learning more about underwater ecology, symbioses, and aquatic plant and animal habitats, the PADI Underwater Naturalist Specialty course is a good choice for you.

Underwater Navigator

It's a complete mystery to many divers during the training, but knowing where you are, and how to make it to the preferred exit point, is an enviable skill to have.

Take the PADI Underwater Navigation Specialty Course and you will have fine-tuned your natural navigation and underwater observation skills to an advanced level.

Underwater Videographer

If you really want to capture the unique sights and sounds of the underwater world you should think about taking the PADI Underwater Videographer Specialty Course.

An instructor will teach you how to select and maintain underwater video equipment. You'll also learn about different devices with external lights or use an underwater camera that can shoot video footage.

Wreck Diver

Every wreck has a unique history and a story to tell. That's why diving around sunken shipwrecks is one of the most popular scuba activities that divers want to experience.

Sign up for the PADI Wreck Diver Specialty and start investigating whether wrecks were 'intentionally' sunk to create artificial reefs... or something more sinister!

Note: All course prices for diving are subject to change and assume that all prerequisites have been met to start the training. Click here to contact the team at Private Scuba in Thailand to make a booking or send an enquiry.

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