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12 SDI Courses from Starters to Professionals

In 1998, the SDI courses (Scuba Diving International) were born, stemming from the success and experience of its parent organization, TDI (Technical Diving International).

SDI courses owe their existence to technical diving.

As recreational divers, we have a peculiar relationship with technical diving. Despite breaking records and gaining more followers, we regard it with respect and disdain.

We see them as ‘that group of daredevils who venture into caves at 200 meters,’ like beings from an aquatic planet visiting Earth to astonish us, humans. As if, sooner or later, they would relinquish their superpowers and retreat to the warm and comfortable realm of ‘shallow diving.’

Well, that’s not going to happen. SDI diving courses are the offspring of those technical divers who have decided to share all their knowledge so that we, recreational divers, can be safer. SDI courses are the result of highly specialized and rigorous training focused on safety. They took all those technical procedures they had iterated over and over, adapted them to recreational diving under the SDI curriculum, and developed training courses for professionals. Here is the list of SDI courses.

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1. SDI Scuba Courses for Autonomous Recreational Divers

Are you ready to dive into the fascinating world of scuba diving with SDI courses? Here you’ll find all the information you need to become a certified diver and make the most out of your aquatic vacations in the Caribbean.

However, it’s important to clarify that, although SDI offers the thrilling “Scuba Discover Course,” which is perfect for those who want to give diving a try for the first time, this program is not part of the official SDI course list. Why? Because SDI diving courses are specifically designed to ensure you can explore the ocean depths with confidence!

In other words, with a “Scuba Discover” experience, you won’t be able to dive independently.

Allow me to introduce you to the SDI courses for autonomous divers.


1.1. SDI Open Water Course

I will start with the Open Water Scuba Diver SDI course. This SDI course aims to equip you with the skills to safely conduct independent dives in open water. Here’s a little tip: being autonomous doesn’t mean being alone; it means knowing what you’re doing.

Think of this course as a toolbox filled with essential foundational knowledge about dive facilities, physiology, and the fascinating marine environment.

If you choose an SDI course, say goodbye to endless theories and outdated manuals. Their approach is different. In this SDI diving course, you’ll learn a bunch of skills that will be incredibly useful during your dives. We’re talking about important things like buoyancy control, perfect weight adjustment (to make you feel like you’re floating in the air), marine conservation (because we love our oceans and want to protect them), equipment setup and maintenance (so you function like a well-oiled machine), proper dive planning, and much more.

By the end of this course, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge and abilities to confidently explore the underwater world. Say hello to unforgettable diving adventures in the Caribbean and beyond!


1.2. Advanced Adventure Diver SDI Course

Are you ready to take your diving skills to the next level with SDI courses? We’ve got something special for you. Introducing the SDI course equivalent to PADI’s Advanced Diver.

This SDI course is designed for certified open water divers eager to expand their knowledge and diving abilities. It’s designed to give you a taste of five different SDI specialties through five related dives.

Of course, there are a couple of essential specialties that will lay the foundation for your ongoing diving education. We’re talking about the deep diving specialty (so you can explore the depths without exceeding recreational diving limits) and the navigation specialty (so you always know how to find your way back home). Plus, you have the freedom to choose three more dives from the array of SDI specialty courses. There are plenty to choose from! For example:

SDI Nitrox Course

SDI Solo Diver Course

SDI Advanced Buoyancy Control Course

SDI Boat Diver Course

SDI Drift Diver Course

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1.3. SDI Advanced Diver Course

It’s a giant leap forward. No jokes here, this course is specifically designed for truly advanced divers. In fact, it encompasses four complete specialty courses. Which ones? The choice is yours. Believe it or not, you’ll finish this SDI course with at least 25 more logged dives under your belt.

Get ready to level up your diving skills, explore new horizons, and dive into unforgettable adventures. The SDI courses are here to unlock a world of possibilities for passionate divers like you. Let’s dive in!


1.4. SDI Rescue Diver Course

By taking this SDI course, you’ll acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to become a true aquatic hero. You’ll learn essential skills for conducting effective rescues and assists, as well as administering necessary first aid.

You’ll be trained to calm panicked divers, provide first aid, conduct efficient searches, and manage accident scenes. All of this knowledge serves as a gateway to further training opportunities for you.

You can enroll in the SDI Master Scuba Diver course to hone your skills and become an elite diver. Alternatively, if you’re up for it, you can take a leap into the professional levels and join the exciting SDI Divemaster course.

By completing these courses, you’ll unlock new horizons in your diving journey and gain the expertise to take on greater responsibilities underwater. Get ready to embark on an adventure that will elevate your diving skills to new heights!


1.5. Master Scuba Diver SDI Course

Imagine becoming a true master of the ocean, even as an amateur. Well, that’s exactly what this SDI course offers you.

The Master Scuba Diver SDI development program combines the content of the SDI Rescue Diver Course with that of the SDI Advanced Diver Course.

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2. SDI Courses to Become a Professional


2.1. SDI divemaster course

If your goal is to fully immerse yourself in the water industry and become a true professional, you’ve come to the perfect SDI diving course for you! During this course, you will not only expand your advanced knowledge of physics and physiology, but you will also develop skills to become an exceptional diving guide.

You will be able to show other passionate divers the incredible homes of marine life that lie beneath the waters, share your knowledge, and lead diving enthusiasts. This SDI diving course will provide you with the tools and skills necessary to turn your passion for diving into a rewarding career.


2.2. SDI Assistant Instructor Course

This course is perfect for those who have already completed the SDI Divemaster course and are eager to gain practical teaching experience. Working closely with an active SDI instructor, you will learn the intricacies of lesson preparation and the best way to deliver them. Best of all, you will gain valuable teaching experience before moving on to the prestigious SDI Open Water Scuba Diver Instructor course.


2.3. SDI Instructor Course

If you dream of turning the ocean into your office, the SDI Open Water Scuba Diver Instructor (OWSDI) course is exactly what you need. This course is designed to train Divemasters or Assistant Instructors to become diving instructors.

The course is divided into two parts: the Instructor Development Course (IDC) and the Instructor Evaluation Course (IEC). In the IDC, you will learn the techniques to become a skilled instructor and the ins and outs of teaching open water diving, from classroom sessions to practical skills in the water.

In the IEC, you will have to showcase your newly acquired skills and demonstrate that you know how to be a diving instructor. In other words, they teach you how to pass the exam.

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2.4. SDI Scubility Instructor Course

This SDI course is designed for outstanding divers. Outstanding because they help those who face challenges, outstanding because they advocate for the accessibility of diving for everyone, and outstanding because they level the playing field for those who face difficulties due to disabilities.

To participate in this course, you must have successfully completed the SDI Scubility Dive Buddy course and currently be an active instructor with a recognized dive training organization. Get ready to make a difference in the lives of divers with disabilities and let them experience the incredible underwater world in a safe and exciting way!


2.5. SDI Course Director Course

We’ve arrived at the SDI Scuba Course Director Course, the course for those who want to teach the teachers. I call them the squared teachers. The SDI Course Director Course is the first module of the Instructor Trainer Program. Upon completion, course directors will be able to conduct an IDC (that is, teach future dive instructors) as well as specialty IDC courses for instructors.


2.6. SDI Non-Diving Specialty Instructor Course

This is the SDI Non-Diving Specialty Course. Yeah, yeah, I know it sounds like a tongue twister. It’s designed for members of the diving industry, like store owners and service technicians, who want to expand their skills and knowledge. This SDI course turns you into an instructor for specialties that don’t require getting wet. With it, you’ll be able to teach your staff how to fill dive tanks or perform tank inspections, among other things.

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2.7. SDI Instructor Trainer Course

What began in the SDI Course Director Course is concluded with the Instructor Trainer Workshop (ITW). It’s an intense eight-day experience filled with learning, both in the classroom and in the water.

By completing this SDI course, you’ll have the ability to train new instructors, be part of the team at the Instructor Trainer Workshop, and lead crossover programs for professional levels in diving.

Furthermore, as you accumulate teaching experience at recreational levels, you can progress to technical and public safety courses.

You’re already familiar with SDI courses. How far do you want to go?