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How to Become a PADI Divemaster in Thailand


Our Guide to the PADI Divemaster course on Koh Tao

Do you dream of trading your business suit for a wetsuit and turning your hobby into a new and exciting career? Do you want to commute to work on a boat across a clear, blue ocean and have meetings at fish-filled dive sites?

If that sounds like yourself, it is time to take our PADI scuba diver training that will change your life. It is time to become a PADI Divemaster in tropical Koh Tao, Thailand.

Learning New Skills as a PADI Divemaster in Koh Tao
Learning New Skills as a PADI Divemaster in Koh Tao

What is a PADI Divemaster?

A certified PADI Divemaster can plan, direct, and supervise dive trips and act as a dive guide for certified divers who want to go fun diving.

A PADI Divemaster is a highly skilled professional, who can safely manage a variety of dive profiles while still making sure their divers have the best time of their lives.

PADI Divemaster’s are knowledgeable about the local marine environment and the marine animals that live there. They are also ambassadors for the marine environment, advocates for conservation initiatives and play an important role in educating their divers on the importance of embracing change.

A Divemaster is also a mentor and source of inspiration for other hobbyist scuba divers and other divemaster’s who are in training.

We all know the old adage – ‘choose a job you love, and you’ll never work another day in your life.’

Stop working 9-5 and start living. Leave the traditional office work space behind for good. Do your PADI Divemaster in Thailand and experience life as a divemaster on Koh Tao.

PADI Divemaster courses in Thailand
PADI Divemaster courses in Thailand

Scuba Diving as a PADI Divemaster in Thailand

Taking the PADI Divemaster Course is not just reserved for those who want to work in the scuba diving industry.

Through skills circuits, rescue exercises, diving course assists, and lots of practice under the supervision of our experienced team of PADI instructors, you will sharpen your scuba diving skills and raise them to a very high level.

Completing your PADI Divemaster in Thailand will make you an extremely strong and confident scuba diver, even if you only plan on diving as a hobby.

Since you will be certified to guide yourself (and your friends), you will often be able to join dive trips quite easily and spend your dive time doing what YOU want to do.

And completing the PADI Divemaster course on beautiful Koh Tao, is an excellent personal development exercise for anyone considering taking a break from their career focused lives.

You will get to meet people from all over the world, pursue a professional level qualification in a discipline you have a passion for, and you get to experience another culture.

Learn to become a PADI Divemaster on Koh Tao
Learn to become a PADI Divemaster on Koh Tao

Learn to Become a PADI Divemaster on Koh Tao

Previous generations all seemed to work long hours at their jobs while anxiously awaiting the few days a year they were given as holidays.

This standard way of living is changing rapidly as technology advances and the desires and goals of younger generations change.

Working remotely is growing in popularity, especially now that we are at the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. People are generally no longer willing to spend their time sitting at an office desk and planning a single vacation every year. However, not everyone has the right skills to work entirely online.

Becoming a PADI Divemaster could be your key to leaving your old job behind and starting a new chapter in your life, potentially travelling the world and working at the same time.

There are opportunities for certified Divemaster’s all over the world, and not just in the tourism industry.

PADI Divemaster’s can also find work on marine conservation projects in critical marine areas like the Great Barrier Reef, Galapagos Islands and our own Marine Conservation Projects here on Koh Tao, Thailand.

Enjoy the PADI Divemaster Lifestyle on Koh Tao
Enjoy the PADI Divemaster Lifestyle on Koh Tao

Entry Visas – Get the Right One for Visiting Koh Tao

The PADI Divemaster Course can be completed in as little as three weeks or as long as twelve months.

The length of the course is actually completely up to the candidate – YOU.

We provide a flexible scheduling system with two orientations (student intakes) conducted on the 1st and 16th of each month.

If you are a beginner to scuba diving, you can complete all the prerequisites and courses leading up to our Divemaster course over a period of time that suits your itinerary and plans.

This also includes ensuring you have at least the minimum 40 logged dives required to start the PADI Divemaster course.

The longer you spend becoming a PADI Divemaster in Thailand, the more prepared you will be to start working as a divemaster in the scuba diving industry. Ideally, our divemaster candidates should have at least a full month to spend on their divemaster course training.

Focusing on your PADI Divemaster Training
Focusing on your PADI Divemaster Training

How to Stay in Thailand for your Course Training

One of the most confusing parts about travelling can be figuring out if you need an entry visa for the country you want to visit.

Somehow, no matter which country of origin visa requirements you are researching, all the online material can be very hard to understand and confusing to interpret. And often it changes!

Thailand offers the citizens of many countries around the world visa-exempt entry into Thailand for short visits. This means that you can (if you are from a visa-exempt country), enter Thailand without a pre-approved visa and be granted a 30-day stay in the Kingdom on arrival.

Should you get to the end of your 30-day period and decide that you want to stay a little longer (and take some more PADI courses), you can apply for a 30-day extension at the local Immigration Office on Koh Tao.

If you want to stay in Thailand longer than the 60 days that you get on a visa-exempt arrival, you should apply for a long-term visa in your home country before you depart for Thailand.

Thailand offers a couple of different visa options for tourists that can get you up to a year in the country, including Education Visa’s.

An educational visa is easy to obtain on Koh Tao if you sign up for a 12-month Thai language course, a great supplement to divers wishing to live and work in Thailand after their training.

If you are looking for a long term visa, and are interested in learning Thai alongside your Divemaster training you can contact our friends at Mee Fah Language School on Koh Tao, and let them know of your intent to conduct training with us.

For all visa requirements please check with your local Thai Embassy for updated information on visa types, lengths, and application processes.

Practising Divemaster Skills in a Pool
Practising Divemaster Skills in a Pool

PADI Divemaster Course – Practice Before You Leave Home

Divemaster training is very popular with our new and returning students because it offers an intensive learning environment that will supercharge anyone’s diving skills while letting you spend time diving (and practicing) with your friends.

The PADI Divemaster course in Thailand offers lots of fun, however, it still holds a few challenges that you will have to overcome.

The ability to swim is necessary for any scuba diver, but as a Divemaster, you need to be a fairly good swimmer. An important part of becoming a professional Divemaster is making sure that you have the physical capability to rescue one of your divers, if necessary.

To become a certified PADI Divemaster, you must demonstrate that you can complete four stamina exercises. While none are particularly difficult, some Divemaster candidates do struggle simply because swimming is not an activity that they undertake every day.

Before you arrive to start your PADI Divemaster in Thailand, consider visiting your local community swimming pool to practice and improve on the four core swimming skills you need to perform; a 400m swim, a 15-minute water tread, an 800m snorkel (without removing your face from the water), and a 100m tired diver tow.

Competent Water Skills

Do not underestimate the difficulty of the 15-minute tread and the 100m tired diver tow. Often, your experienced Black Turtle Dive dive instructor will use the 15-minute tread to test what knowledge you have retained from the academic portions of the PADI Divemaster Course.

If you get a question wrong, you may find yourself trying to tread water while holding dive weights!

The tired diver tow is conducted in Open Water, usually during a surface interval between training dives. If it is a beautiful day, you might find the task to be a little easy.

But if ocean conditions are less than ideal, the difficulty of the challenge increases greatly. Cardiovascular endurance and pure leg strength are key components of successfully completing this PADI stamina exercise.

If swimming is not your strongest point do not worry. You will be pleased to know, our swim training partner on Koh Tao is an accomplished and experienced swim coach, who specializes in helping divers master the art of swimming so they can pass their dive courses.

If you can let us know prior to your arrival that you are concerned about your swimming ability, we can organize for you to have swimming lessons. This will help you improve your swimming ability to a point where you will have no problem with the PADI Divemaster swim tests.

Enjoy your Fun Diving on Koh Tao as a PADI Divemaster
Enjoy your Fun Diving on Koh Tao as a PADI Divemaster

You can go Scuba Diving as Much as You Can

They say that practice makes perfect, and in this case, they are definitely right.

Before you begin your Divemaster on Koh Tao, try to do as much scuba diving as you can. Really work at getting as many logged dives and diving experience as you can.

We do not expect you to be a perfect scuba diver when you start your Divemaster course, however, having an understanding of the scuba diving basics, (like equipment setup and buoyancy control), will give you a better foundation for your PADI Divemaster Course.

Our all-inclusive Divemaster packages include all diving during the program. This means you can get the minimum 40 logged dives to start the Divemaster course, but if you are enthusiastic and keen to gain more diving experience you can get even more!

If you are already a good diver when you start your professional training, then you can be confident that you will be a great diver by the time you are certified.

Mastering Neutral Buoyancy Skills in Open Water
Mastering Neutral Buoyancy Skills in Open Water

Hover like a Boss – Neutral Bouyancy Divemaster Skill circuits

Our PADI Divemaster training skill circuits are unique in the fact we teach you to conduct all the underwater skills Neutrally Buoyant.

PADI stipulate we must conduct two of the skills neutrally buoyant – Regulator Recovery and Mask Removal – but we believe, with the approach we take in our unique training, that all of our Divemaster Trainees can easily take the next step and perform every skill from the Divemaster skills circuit neutrally buoyant. So, lets go practice!

What this means is there will be no resting on the bottom of a pool or the seabed while conducting skills and by embracing neutral buoyancy from the very start, you will not know any other way!

You can have a look at demonstration quality Divemaster skills by visiting our pro level web page and watching our Divemaster Skill Videos.

If you already know the skills you are expected to demonstrate, then you can spend the majority of your time honing and perfecting those skills instead of learning them from scratch.

Our YouTube channel at IDC Koh Tao provides a number of training videos that show our Trainee Divemaster and PADI Diving Instructors, how to conduct skills neutrally buoyant, and shows other training modules from both the Divemaster and Dive Instructor courses.

We can assure you, after completing our Divemaster program, you will stand out to potential employers and your customers as a very competent, confident and highly skilled PADI Divemaster.

Practicing Neutral Buoyancy Skills in a Swimming Pool
Practicing Neutral Buoyancy Skills in a Swimming Pool

PADI Dive Map – Your Path to a New Life

Taking the plunge into a new career and a new life can be a bit daunting, especially if the way forward seems unclear. It is easy to ask questions and do research online but for most people, it is easier to understand something if you can see it with your own eyes.

The PADI Continuing Education Flowchart visually lays out how the PADI training system works and the different pathways you can choose for your underwater education.

It shows you the different courses and PADI specialty courses you can experience on the recreational side of scuba diving and also lays out the path towards becoming a professional PADI scuba diver.

During your Divemaster course consider expanding your horizons with some PADI Specialty course training.

We offer great value Specialty packages for our Divemaster Trainees in a wide range of areas including our Deep, Wreck & Nitrox package. For those with a little more experience we offer a Sidemount Diver & Self Reliant Diver package.

Did you also know that there are more training levels available after you become a PADI Divemaster in Thailand?

On the professional side of the PADI Dive Map, there are actually an additional six levels of instruction starting with PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor and culminating in the highest certification possible, PADI Course Director.

It is easy to see why people come to Koh Tao for a few weeks and end up staying a lifetime!

Learning how to become a Dive Leader
Learning how to become a Dive Leader

Start Your PADI Divemaster in Thailand for Free

Getting your PADI Divemaster in Thailand is a significant commitment. It requires time and personal effort on your part not to mention a notable financial undertaking.

PADI offers a great way to see beforehand what is required to earn a PADI Divemaster certification – you can actually explore the divemaster program completely for FREE.

This free taste of the PADI Divemaster Course will introduce you to the key concepts, skills, and knowledge you will be expected to master to become a PADI Professional.

We hope this will motivate you to begin your own journey on your way to divemaster status and you will continue your training with us on beautiful Koh Tao, Thailand.

Perfecting your Water Skills at IDC Koh Tao
Perfecting your Water Skills at IDC Koh Tao

Go from Dive Zero to PADI Scuba Diving Hero

Want to leave your 9 to 5 job behind but do not have any experience scuba diving? No problem.

We have a scuba diving internship program that will set you up with all the courses and training you will need, to go from your current certification level (or complete beginner level) up to a PADI Divemaster or PADI Dive Instructor level.

As a non-diver, it may seem overwhelming to think of yourself as a PADI Divemaster, however, the Divemaster rating is a realistic goal and can be achieved with the proper training, mentorship and guidance.

If you have never dived before, it may be a great place to start with the PADI Discover Scuba Diving experience and there are many accomplished diving professionals who started their scuba journey in this way.

Open Water Workshops for PADI Divemasters
Open Water Workshops for PADI Divemasters

Learning to be a PADI Divemaster on Koh Tao

If your interest becomes a passion after the Discover Scuba Diving experience, your next step is to sign up for the PADI Open Water Diver course.

Our Open Water Diver course will start your training the right way and at your own pace, and you will start to learn the importance of Neutral Buoyancy and why it is so important to you as a scuba diver.

Once you become an entry level diver with the Open Water Diver rating, your next step is to sign up for ‘Adventure Diving’ and our Advanced Open Water course.

PADI Divemaster Training on Koh Tao
PADI Divemaster Training on Koh Tao

Become an Advanced Diver in Thailand

The PADI Advanced Diver course includes two dives that are mandatory. There is the Deep dive, where we take you below 18 meters for the first time. This dive has a maximum depth limit of 30 meters and we introduce you to nitrogen narcosis and color absorption at depth.

The second mandatory dive is the Underwater Navigation dive. Here we build on what you learned during the Open Water course, and introduce you to natural navigation techniques. By the end of this dive, you will be able to navigate a square pattern.

You can then choose the three remaining training dives from areas of diving that may interest you. These dives include Peak Performance Buoyancy, Underwater Naturalist, Wreck Diving, Fish Identification, Night diving, diving on Enriched Air (Nitrox) and other specialty areas.

As an Advanced diver, we recommend taking some time away from training courses and finding your fins as a diver!  Go out and explore some of Koh Tao’s fantastic dive sites and practice what you have learned during your Open Water and Advanced courses.

This will increase your dive experience, improve your skills and comfort level, and enable you to log additional dives before signing up for the PADI Rescue Diver and EFR course.

Remember it is important to be able to Rescue yourself before you focus on rescuing other divers!

Our Rescue Diver course is challenging and rewarding and will make you a more confident and competent diver, as we introduce you to valuable new skills and you learn how to help other divers in an emergency situation.

Prior to enrolling on the Rescue course, you will complete the Emergency First Responder First Aid & CPR course. During this 1-day program you will learn and practice 12 basic first aid skills including how to set up and administer Emergency Oxygen.

Divemaster Training in Thailand
Divemaster Training in Thailand

Divemaster Prerequisites in Thailand

Once you are a Rescue Diver with a valid EFR certificate, at least 40 logged dives and you are a minimum of 18 years of age, you meet the prerequisites to sign up for the PADI Divemaster course.

If you have taken all your dive training with Black Turtle Dive, at this point you will be a very confident diver – ready to take on our unique Divemaster training modules.

Remember, we offer all-inclusive Divemaster packages, which include all the PADI fees and pro level dive insurance for the first year.

Our lifestyle packages also include complimentary dives to help you go fun diving on our spacious dive boats, so you can practice and gain logged dives at a range of diverse dive sites around Koh Tao.

Learning how to demonstrate Confined Water Skills as a PADI Divemaster
Learning how to demonstrate Confined Water Skills as a PADI Divemaster

Pro level Dive Training in Koh Tao, Thailand

Black Turtle Dive has some of the most experienced Staff Instructors, PADI Master Instructors and PADI Course Directors in Thailand. All IDC Koh Tao and Black Turtle Dive Instructor training is conducted in-house to the highest industry standards and directly supervised by our Course Director and we only employ our best trainees to work in our team.

Our highly experienced staff will help you figure out where to set your goal and will tailor a schedule of courses and internships that fit your timeline and help you progress in areas of your personal interest.

Practicing Neutral Buoyancy in Open Water
Practicing Neutral Buoyancy in Open Water

Why Black Turtle Dive Is the Best Choice for a Divemaster Internship

At Black Turtle Dive, we live and breathe scuba and teach to the highest levels in Thailand, above PADI standards. Our core team of PADI Master Instructors and Course Directors is the most experienced Pro Level diving team in the industry.

We are a passionate team of diving professionals who all adore being underwater dive educators, role model scuba divers and passionate marine conservationists.

We will create a scuba diving internship schedule that is perfectly tailored to your abilities, interests, and your available timeframe.

Divemaster Coordinator and Dive Mentor

For the entire length of the internship, you will be assigned a dedicated Diving Internship Coordinator and Mentor who will be there to support you during your learning journey, teach you valuable lessons and tricks, and address any questions or concerns you may have.

All of our diving internship programs contain our unique Buoyancy workshops that will fine-tune your underwater buoyancy.

This Buoyancy workshop will contribute to your development as you become a very competent and confident Divemaster (or scuba diving instructor), who is extremely comfortable with in-water skills.

Buoyancy is by far the most important set of skills in scuba diving and they make the difference between being just a good scuba diver and being a great scuba diver.

Divemaster Open Water Workshops on Koh Tao
Divemaster Open Water Workshops on Koh Tao

Neutral Buoyancy as a Dive Professional

Our diving internships will teach you how to demonstrate a full scuba skills circuit in a neutrally buoyant position.

Our IDC Koh Tao pro level training team at Black Turtle Dive, offers the only PADI Dive Center program, that encourages all our Divemaster candidates to complete the skills circuit in a neutrally buoyant position.

Although this may appear to be more difficult than completing the skills on your knees, it is not that difficult, especially when this is all you will know and learn from day 1!

You are in great hands!

Our Divemaster Co-ordinators are employed by us because they are the best in the business, and experts in teaching neutral buoyancy skill circuits.

We believe having excellent buoyancy is an essential skill for any dive professional.

Scuba diving would not be such a popular sport if there were no colourful coral reefs and diverse marine life to discover and explore.

Having great buoyancy skills means as scuba divers, we do not damage the fragile ecosystem, something we hope all our Professional level trainees will embrace and educate others on, in the future.

Marine Conservation Education for PADI Divemasters
Marine Conservation Education for PADI Divemasters

Marine Conservation Education for PADI Divemaster

As well as our unique buoyancy workshops we also focus a portion of our scuba diving internships on the marine ecosystem and reef ecology through our pioneering marine ecology lessons.

As a dive leader, you play a central role when it comes to promoting conservation and ocean health and well-being.

It is very important that you understand how a coral reef functions and how it supports an entire ecosystem.

As a Divemaster you are in a unique position of being able to positively influence the divers you come in contact with. This gives you a great opportunity to promote marine conservation and the preservation of our oceans and waterways.

To do this, it is important you have a solid understanding of how coral reefs function and how this affects the ecosystem.

marine conservation internship in koh tao thailand
A Coral Reef Ecosystem on Koh Tao

Reef Ecology And Conservation Training Program (REACT)

During your Divemaster course you will spend two days with one of our Conservation Diver Instructors and complete our 2-day Reef Ecology And Conservation Training Program (REACT).

You will learn about the coral reef ecosystem, the threats it faces and how we can make a difference through education.

You will gain a greater knowledge of the marine life that lives in the ocean around Koh Tao, and how each organism has an important role to play to keep our fragile marine ecosystem balanced.

The REACT program consists of the following modules:

  • Reef Ecology & Coral Reef Presentation
  • Coral Watch Presentation
  • Introduction to Fish and Invertebrates species presentation
  • Beach clean-up & Dive Against Debris
  • Fish and Invertebrate Identification dives
  • Coral Health monitoring survey dive

If all of these reasons are still not enough to convince you that Black Turtle Dive is the place for you to complete your PADI Divemaster training, then do some research on what a great location we are based in.

Aerial view of Beautiful Koh Tao island in Surat Thani, Thailand.
Koh Tao Island, Thailand

Koh Tao – A Scuba Divers Paradise

Koh Tao is a stunning tropical island surrounded by crystal clear turquoise waters that boast incredible biodiversity and beauty, both below the surface and on land, with fantastic accessible beaches, bays and viewpoints.

The island community is relaxed, welcoming, and multicultural, consisting of people from every corner of the planet.

Koh Tao has a vibrant social scene, with beachside bars, fantastic restaurants and besides scuba diving, the island has yoga and pilates, several well-equipped gyms, mini golf and a leisure park, an escape room, a shooting range and even a treasure hunt!

That’s it, it is time! Time to leave the real world behind to finally become a certified PADI divemaster in Thailand.

Goodbye, boring office desk. Hello, underwater wonderland! Message us for more information

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does the Divemaster course cost in Thailand?

The basic Divemaster course in Thailand is priced at 30,000 baht. This DOES NOT include the PADI membership fee or PADI educational materials.

IDC Koh Tao offer great value all-inclusive PADI Divemaster packages available with no hidden extras. The price of these packages depends on existing certification level and diving experience.

How long does a divemaster course take in Thailand?

The Divemaster course in Thailand takes between 3-4 weeks to complete if a candidate is already a Rescue Diver with 40 logged dives, although this can be extended should candidates wish to take a longer period of time to gain more dive leadership experience or enjoy a more relaxed experience.

What are the swim tests for the PADI Divemaster course?

There are 3 swim tests to complete as part of the Water Skills exercises of the PADI Divemaster course.

They are:

  • 400 metres freestyle using any stroke or combination of strokes but without swimming aids
  • 800 metres swimming face down, using a mask, snorkel and fins nonstop but without flotation aids and without using arms to swim.
  • A 15-minute tread water or float using no swimming aids with hands (not arms) out of the water during the last two minutes.

There is 1 more Water Skills exercise which is:

A tired diver tow, or push for 100 metres nonstop, at the surface, without any assistance. Both divers must be equipped in full scuba equipment.