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PADI specialties: how to choose

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba' started by Sbiriguda, Nov 15, 2020.

  1. Ben_3

    Ben_3 Contributor

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Canada
    Self-reliant was interesting in my opinion even if I dont really dive solo. Wreck and learning how to set up and use spools and lines, and if you have a good repair tech the equipment specialist class. If you do want to do specialties go for the ones you think will fit into the diving you do or plan on diving. If you are not sure, just dive and when something sparks interest then sign up for that class. Cheers!
    Bob DBF likes this.
  2. ICatchBadGuys

    ICatchBadGuys Contributor

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: USA
    IMHO it depends on what you want to "do" with your training. If you are simply planning on being a recreational diver, take what you want and are comfortable paying for. Some people like the training. But I know people that have been OW certified for decades (my wife for instance) and don't have AOW because they didn't take the required courses, and they are great divers.

    I was the same but decided I wanted to "go pro" so in the last year I have taken courses that will get me there, and have earned "recognition" with SSI simply because of that. I had already taken Nitrox (of course) because you need show that to dive on Nitrox, so then I did Stress and Rescue, React Right (First Aid/CPR), Altitude (I live in the mountains), and Science Of Diving. Because I had the required amount of dives, I was quickly recognized as a "Master Diver" since I had the Rescue Course. The reason I took the specialties I did is because I needed some of them to move into the pro track (DM and beyond). The thing I like about SSI is they allow you to "demonstrate experience" in Night/Limited Vis, Deep, Navigation, etc. that some agencies require you to take classes to move on to DM and Instructor. IMO the experience often outweighs the value of the class, so that's nice.

    Maximize your value if you have an end goal. If not, take what you want and enjoy it. :)
    Sbiriguda likes this.
  3. stretchthepenn

    stretchthepenn Contributor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Atlanta, GA
    I'll echo most respondents in saying that you should focus on the courses that interest you and fit with your diving goals. Skip the rest.

    That being said, I see five tiers of courses in the list:
    • useless money-grabs (DSMB Diver, I'm looking at you)
    • could be fun/possibly useful (e.g., U/W Naturalist; Fish ID)
    • highly location-dependent (Coral Reef; Wreck; Ice)
    • not vital, but useful (e.g., Search and Recovery; Drysuit; Cavern; Sidemount)
    • highly worthwhile (Nitrox; Emergency Oxygen Provider; Self-Reliant Diver)
    Nitrox is a big ol' "Well, duh. OF COURSE that's a good choice."

    The O2-provider class is one I've not taken, but it's a genuinely useful topic, and I can see it being one I'll someday take.

    The self-reliant course can open up a whole new world for you. The formal training course is much safer than just setting out to dive solo, and the class is also a great peek into the technical-diving realm. It's one of the few really useful specialty courses I've taken.
    Sbiriguda likes this.
  4. Seaweed Doc

    Seaweed Doc MSDT ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Seattle, Washington State, USA
    Have you had a rescue course? If not, I'd make that a priority.
    ICatchBadGuys and Sbiriguda like this.
  5. Searcaigh

    Searcaigh Chromodoris gordonii ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Dubai, UAE

    I did a couple of courses back when I lived in Jeddah in Saudi Arabia by a marine biologist, who was also a PADI instructor at the time;

    Marine Awareness and Research Diver, both these courses gave me a better understanding in how to deal with photographing fish as well as improve my buoyancy.

    Nitrox is a no brainier and essential if you're good on breathing your gas. Choose wisely and don't waste your money.
    Sbiriguda likes this.
  6. Sbiriguda

    Sbiriguda Contributor

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Italy
    Guys I am sorry to let you down. I must confess eventually I decided to: keep my AOW Deep and Nitrox which I already had. And then cancel my subscriptions to specialty courses and pay the difference to enroll instead to rescue diver which is actually not a specialty. I will save some money and put it in a better dry suit and more dives to get experience and learn by doing
  7. delacrue96

    delacrue96 Scuba Chixs Member

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: McLean, VA
    +1 on AOW and Nitrox for deep dives then Underwater Navigator.
  8. Capt. T. Goetz

    Capt. T. Goetz Contributor

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Fort Lauderdale Florida
    Thats a really great choice, learning the mechanics and medical side of diving is a MAJOR priority... and a better dry suit will make you feel "better" too:poke: <TG>
    Sbiriguda likes this.
  9. boulderjohn

    boulderjohn Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boulder, CO
    Good Choice. Here comes some advice for what to do next.

    As you dive, you will get a sense of where you would like to go with your diving. You can learn some of that on your own, but you might want to take some classes for some of that learning. As you progress from that, your goals may change, and you will want to make different choices. It is precisely like taking a trip in a car. The first thing you want to do is decide where you want to go. Then you look at where you are now and plot your path.

    When I got certified many years ago, I was going to do recreational dives on a vacation to a tropical location every other year. That was my total plan. Things changed. Before long I became a PADI DM because as a career educator, I thought I would enjoy assisting classes. I did, and that led to becoming an instructor. I have since gone down many different paths, and I have taken many different classes from many different instructors, and every class I took was to enable me to reach a specific goal.
    Bob DBF, Sbiriguda and Esprise Me like this.
  10. wetb4igetinthewater

    wetb4igetinthewater Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Seattle
    I'm surprised no one has said GUE fundies (GUE Fundamentals). Will save you time and money, but you will work for it. No box ticking there. Or find an instructor that teaches at that kind of level (some are on this thread).
    MightyDuck likes this.

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