“PADI vs SSI: Similarities, Differences and How to Choose the Right Diving Agency?”

What diving certification is best? Is it PADI or SSI? Can you switch from SSI to PADI?

These are the common questions asked by diving enthusiasts, and we will be answering all of these for you.

Getting a diving certification means you get to have the freedom to explore waters anywhere around, especially when that certification is internationally recognized. There are many diving agencies such as PADI, SSI, NAUI, SDI, BSAC and CIMAS offering different courses, diving certification, including open water, advanced, rescue, specialties and tech diving as well as courses leading to professional careers such as dive master and instructor.

In this article we are going to look at two of the largest agencies, PADI and SSI. When it comes to deciding the right dive agency for you, here is what you need to know;


Professional Association of Diving Instructors or PADI provides an open water training course for all diving enthusiasts. Found in 1966, the agency is quite popular as it spends a handsome share of its revenue on marketing campaigns and sponsoring events.  PADI open water course is a well-developed course that includes both theoretical and practical knowledge to learn scuba diving.

Both the theory and practical parts are designed to hone your knowledge and skills towards learning diving. Hence, a considerably high number of people who aspire to become trained scuba divers enroll themselves for the PADI certification.

Let’s talk about SSI Diving certification.

Scuba Schools International or SSI is an internationally recognized scuba training body that also provides people worldwide with a diving certification. Founded in 1970 SSI has been quick to monopolies the online world of diving. Creating a very user-friendly dive platform which can be accessed for course material, logbook, dive site locations and ratings and up to date information and blogs. One can learn a range of diving techniques through open water, advanced, specialties, rescue, and into tech diving.

The SSI training course offers a more flexible learning style in its practical confined water lessons and, through the app, students can study from home at their own pace.

Similarities between PADI & SSI

Both PADI and SSI certifications for diving are recognized worldwide, and in both, you will get to experience highly qualified and experienced trainers. Thus, it doesn’t matter which center for training you will choose; you get the best training at each level.

The governing body called the World Recreational Scuba Training Council or WRSTC has a standard set of rules that apply to diving training, and both bodies follow these rules. In that sense, the skill and knowledge requirements are almost equal with minor differences.

Whether you have gained your certification with SSI or PADI, your Scuba Diving license will be valid in most destinations regardless of the dive shop’s affiliation. SSI diving centers will welcome PADI divers to join their trips and vice versa. The only limitations on your choice of dive destination will come from your own experience as a diver and will in no way be limited by the dive agency you chose to qualify with.

If you start your dive adventure with an SSI scuba course such as open water diver, you will be able to choose to do your next level, advanced, with PADI. In the same way if you were to do your Advanced PADI diving course you could then go on to do you rescue with SSI.

Both PADI and SSI use a combination of theory and practical sessions. The theory for both can be done online (this is an additional AUD210.00 fee for PADI) allowing for flexible learning.

The only difference between the two is the way the course is delivered to the students.

Online Learning

Difference between SSI and PADI

The theory is a mix of reading and watching videos in both, while practical includes confined water sessions and in-depth on land briefings followed by open water education dives. On completion of certification, E-card is provided to the individual.

Let’s see some of the main differences between the two;

In SSI training, theory sessions are completely online e-learning modules that you complete before you arrive at the diving center. This gives you the freedom to decide how much time you require to complete a course and study in your own style from the comfort of your home. With PADI, theory can also be done online however PADI do charge more for this luxury. Due to this most PADI students enroll in classroom sessions where they are given a book to study at the dive center and have a one-day intensive theory day before starting their practical lessons.

With the SSI diving course, students gain all of the same skills as with PADI but the program is laid out in a more flexible teaching style. With the self-paced e-learning combined with practical sessions focused on confidence building through skill development, SSI have put together a very student friendly program. As mentioned PADI certification sessions can also be learnt online though most choose to go to the classroom theory sessions. The structure of the PADI course has not changed much since its inception and is very thorough but also very structured (having to complete one skill before going onto another even when students are struggling) This structured style of teaching provides consistency but offers no student-based flexibility to the process.

SSI course tends to be a little cheaper and shorter, thanks to the online e-learning facility. Students also get dive insurance included during their open water course. PADI has physical course material in the form of a book. Thus, it tends to be longer (due to an extra day being needed for intensive classroom theory session) and more expensive (due to having to buy a physical book or pay extra for the online e-learning).

Juara Scuba Academy

Juara Scuba Academy gives the learner a chance to engage with some of the most experienced and skilled scuba trainers on the Island who will teach you everything you need to know about diving.

Time to chilled @ JSA

Be it SSI or PADI certification, and be it beginner level or advanced training, our professionals will make sure you get all the hands-on expertise that makes sure your diving experience is fun and safe.

Want to get diving certification?

Juara Scuba Academy specializes in teaching both PADI and SSI scuba courses.

In the practical part, the SSI certification will cover 3 full days. SSI course material is available to students once the course has been registered and assigned, thanks to its e-Learning facility and SSI app; this means you can complete your theory in the comfort of your own home before you arrive on the Island.

Our professionals are on hand to answer any questions and go over any area you may be unsure about once you arrive on the Island.

In the PADI certification, you will be given thorough training on the Island by joining one of our instructors for a day of academic theory session. PADI packages require an extra day than the regular SSI diving certificate program, making the course 4 full days. The course itself is also more expensive, an additional MYR100 for the book course or AUD210 for the e-learning (which can be purchased directly from PADI)

Feel free to contact our professionals for more details.

Final Thoughts

As it is evident by now, both SSI and PADI are similar in their ways, and there is no striking benchmark that makes one more advantageous than the other. It is more important to focus on choosing the right instructor for your training, you should look for someone you can trust, that you feel confident with and that you get on with both as a person and in their teaching style.

You can look for good instructors by reading their reviews, talking to other divers who have learnt at the center or just by having a chat with the dive center staff yourself.

If you feel happy with your teacher your courses become more relaxed and fun, so take your time and choose the person who’s right for you.


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“PADI vs SSI: Similarities, Differences and How to Choose the Right Diving Agency?”

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