PADI Specialty Instructors are PADI instructors who meet the requirements to offer courses that address various specialty areas of diving activities.
These instructors have the knowledge and skills necessary to offer this type of training by continuing their own training and / or gaining experience in a particular specialist area of diving. PADI Instructors must apply for each individual PADI Specialty Instructor level separately.
There are several PADI standardized specialty courses that PADI Specialty Instructors can conduct and that are supported by specialty course drafts for the instructor and various materials for the student divers. In addition, instructors can develop their own specialty courses ('distinctive specialty courses'), which they can offer as PADI courses after approval by PADI.
PADI Instructors qualify as PADI Specialty Instructors either by attending a Specialty Instructor Training Course with a PADI Course Director or by submitting a direct application to PADI.
Participation in a Specialty Instructor training course is strongly recommended, but not required. This is the best way to qualify as a Specialty Instructor. Such courses offer valuable, hands-on training, demonstration of techniques, information on marketing the respective specialty course, up-to-date information on PADI standards and, if necessary, open water training at the instructor level.
To attend a Specialty Instructor training course, you must:
- Be a PADI Assistant Instructor, with the current renewal of your PADI membership (PADI Assistant Instructors can take part in any Specialty Instructor Training, but they can only apply for a PADI Specialty Instructor certification in the special areas (i.e. only for those special areas that do not include diving skills)
- Or be a PADI Underwater Instructor (or a PADI Instructor of a higher level), with a current renewal of your PADI membership
- Or have completed a full IDC / IOC within the last 12 months (PADI Instructor candidates can only apply for Specialty Instructor Brevets after they have been certified as a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor by PADI)
PADI Course Directors in teaching status who are also PADI Specialty Instructor Trainers can conduct Specialty Instructor training courses. After completing a PADI Specialty Instructor training course, the instructor submits an application form, completed and signed by the Course Director who directed the training, along with the required passport photo, application fee and proof of 10 dives in the relevant specialty area to his PADI branch (for the Rebreather special courses, proof of 20 dives in this special area must be provided). These 10 dives can be done before or after attending a Specialty Instructor training course, but they must be done prior to submitting the Specialty Instructor application to PADI.