PADI vs SSI - what is the different?
What are the differences, benefits and drawbacks between PADI and SSI? A question which is asked many many times. Read the article from Sarah B about PADI vs SSI below.
If you’re interested in getting your scuba diving certification, you’ve probably come across with two of the most recognized SCUBA certification agencies around the world today: PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) and SSI (Scuba Schools International). There are tons of diver certification organizations in the world but for now we will stick to these two.
As a diver, care for your environment should be very close to heart so consider whether you really do need a paper version no matter which you choose.
ONLINE LEARNINGBoth SSI and PADI offer their students to start the practical portion of the scuba lessons via online learning which will save time and gives divers more time to just dive. The difference here is both cash and longevity: SSI’s online learning is free, whereas with PADI you will pay US$189 (as of 2016). PADI offer you access to their system for one year from when you sign up, whereas with SSI it’s there for you all the time, even after the course. If you choose not to buy the book, you can simply log in and use the site as a review when you want a refresher later on.
COURSE WORKIn terms of actual coursework involved, both the PADI and SSI certification programs will give you all of the skills and knowledge you need to be a successful and safe diver. In fact, many people will tell you that the dive instructor, rather than the course itself, is the most important factor in terms of how much you learn and how well you learn the skills you need to be a scuba diver.
TEACHING METHODOLOGYThe science, skills and techniques don’t change with whatever agency you choose but the methodology can be a little different. As an example, a PADI course runs in a set order, meaning the student must complete skill A before moving to skill B. Skills performed in rigid sequence. If you do change, you break standards. Whereas, an SSI course flow can be altered to suit the student. If you were having trouble mastering a skill with SSI, then your instructor is allowed to move on, get you comfortable and build your confidence with something else, and then return to that challenging technique. SSI teaches with an 80/20 approach. The instructor can adapt 20% of the course to fit the pace of learning, ensuring a student focused training program.
CERTIFICATION CARDSWith PADI, centers have to either send off certification details or process them online to submit them to PADI. You can still dive straight away though and you do get a temporary card that is valid for 90 days. Your real card will be sent to the address you choose. If you are travelling then it’s best to send it home. If you are traveling for longer than 90 days, you can still have you certification checked on the PADI website.
SSI processes certification cards locally, so in most instances, you will receive your original certification card right at the end of your course. This means you will be registered straight away and you don’t need to wait for your original card to be sent home. No waiting months for your certification cards. With your card you may now dive anywhere else your travels take you. Although, printing your c-card is optional, I recommend to have it printed in case you go somewhere with unreliable internet connection just like when we went to Raja Ampat.