How much does it cost to become Scuba Certified

I hear this question a lot: “How much does it cost to get certified as a Scuba Diver?” or “How much does it cost to learn to Scuba Dive?”. This question is pretty open-ended and depends on a lot of factors however I try to answer it as simply as possible.

I work for Sports Chalet (a PADI shop) in Southern California and to become a diver that doesn’t require supervision you need to become Open Water certified.

The Open Water cost breaks down like this.:

  1. Tuition & PADI Certification is about $185. This covers the instructor’s time and the PIC card which the instructor needs to submit so you can get a certification card.
  2. Training Materials are about $86. This includes the Open Water manual, a DVD, log book, an electronic Recreational Dive Planner or eRDP and student record folder.
  3. Equipment
    1. You need to own your Mask, Snorkel, Fins and booties. This can run you between $200 or more depending on the equipment. This is the basic / required gear you’ll always need.
    2. Scuba Rental. Runs about $45 and lasts for the entire session of the class. Includes tanks, BCD, weights, wet suit, hood, regulator and computer.
  4. Travel and Scuba Charters. This is dependent on the instructor and where they want to do the 4 open water / open ocean dives. Usually runs about $130 because the instructor will want to do a boat dive.

The total I’ve outlined so far is a little under $500 but I usually tell people it ranges from $500 – $700 depending on the equipment you purchase. Most people will also purchase a dive bag for easy transportation, defog for the mask, octopus holder, additional mask strap, etc. Things add up quickly and traveling to dive sites, except to some beaches, costs a some money as well. You can also arrange private classes so you get one-on-one attention.

Costs will vary based on where you become certified. In Southern California we have a higher cost of living than say in Denver, Colorado but we also have more diving options. If you intend to get certified it will almost always be cheaper to do it locally before you get to your exoctic destination.