Although the two titles are similar, there are distinct differences between a SCUBA dive master and a master SCUBA diver. While both require specific SCUBA certifications, those certifications mean very different things. Therefore, understanding the differences before attempting to pursue one or the other will be crucial to setting your goals.
To begin with, becoming a master SCUBA diver is done on a recreational basis. There are a variety of agencies in the United States that offer different versions of this particular certification. Some require a variety of skills to be demonstrated, with a lower number of total dives, while others have a tighter focus of skills, but require a large number of dives before earning this particular SCUBA certification. There is often a minimum age requirement of at least fifteen years of age.
Becoming a dive master is a bit different; it is an entry-level professional certification. To qualify, you must exhibit specific diving skills, as well as first aid and rescue skills proficiency. This certification will allow you to lead dives for a dive shop and assist dive instructors, but not conduct your own educational classes. Once you are a dive master, you can pursue a career in the dive industry as far as you wish, all the way to Course Director.
Which should someone choose when considering whether to pursue a certification? It really depends on what your long term goals are. A master SCUBA diver can dive in nearly any situation once he or she demonstrates proficiency, but a dive master certification may lead to a part or full-time career in diving instruction and comes with more responsibility for the health and well being of the divers in his or her charge. Whichever route you choose, the skills and knowledge you obtain along the way will be invaluable in your diving future!
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