What’s the difference?

If you’ve found your way to this page, you probably want to know what the difference is between SDI versus PADI scuba diving certifications. The truth is, for an entry-level diver, there are some minor differences, but really there’s nothing to worry about.

PADI and SDI are members of the World Recreational Scuba Training Council (WRSTC). One of the WRSTC’s primary goals is the development of worldwide minimum training standards. As members, both agencies agree to abide by those minimum standards.

There are three primary differences between PADI and SDI.

The first difference is price. PADI is the “big kahuna” of scuba marketing, and as instructors, we pay more for almost everything PADI. SDI is less costly for us, and we pass those cost savings on to you.

The second difference is in discretion. PADI uses a prescriptive learning model, which says that certain things must be done during training in a certain order, whereas SDI allows instructors more latitude in how training is conducted.

photo of person scuba diving
Photo by Eriks Abzinovs on Pexels.com

For example, in Open Water training, PADI requires a partial flood of an open water dive student’s mask during their first dive. SDI gives instructors the discretion to conduct skills whenever they feel it is appropriate, so an SDI Open Water class might swim around, or they might get a bunch of skills done on the first dive.

The third big difference is related to the first. PADI prescribes what we will teach in a particular course, and those standards govern graduation. A PADI instructor can add to the course, but they can’t require you to pass what they’ve added to graduate. SDI, in contrast, expects their instructors to add to every course they teach, and give instructors much greater latitude in determining when a student is ready to dive on their own. Instructors are encouraged to make courses more challenging and interesting. Our SDI courses cover everything in the PADI curriculum, but we teach other skills on top of those.

Other differences:

  • All of our SDI courses are online, while some PADI classes will require you to work through a book and handwrite answers.
  • PADI Courses have been evaluated by ACE and you may earn college credit.
  • SDI supplies you with digital certification cards at no charge and PADI charges for digital cards.

Which certification you choose is up to you, SDI and PADI certifications are recognized worldwide.

If you are ready to learn to dive, click on the link to get started today.

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