Our 5 Favorite PADI Specialty Courses for New Divers

Looking to improve your dive skills and knowledge but not ready to become an Advanced Open Water Diver yet? PADI Specialty Courses are a great way to expand your knowledge and learn new techniques to improve your diving experience. The first training dive for most of PADI’s specialties can even count towards your Adventure Diver or Advanced Open Water Diver Certifications when you’re ready.
Check out the list below of our favorite PADI Specialty Courses for new divers:
Peak Performance Buoyancy

It’s no coincidence that the Peak Performance Buoyancy Specialty is listed first. Buoyancy is probably the most important and most useful skill any diver can have. Improving your buoyancy will help you use less air, change depth, and hover almost effortlessly. Buoyancy also is one of the easiest ways to ensure that you are not harming the wildlife around and beneath you. As a new diver, you probably learned some buoyancy skills in your Open Water course; this specialty helps you take those skills to the next level.

 

This Peak Performance Buoyancy specialty course consists of a home study portion, a classroom session (e-Learning is available), and two open water dives where you will continue to practice your underwater buoyancy with what you’ve learned. Divers need to be at least 10 years old and hold a Junior Open Water Diver Certification or higher to enroll. This specialty can count as credit towards 1 of your 5 required dives for your Advanced Open Water Diver Certification.

Underwater Navigator

Navigation is another important skill to have for all divers. With the Underwater Navigator Specialty, you’ll hone your navigation skills using a compass and kick-cycles, visual landmarks, and time. The course teaches you to be more observant of your past and present surroundings in the water and use that to understand where you are and where you’re going. This class is challenging but is also one of the most fun specialties that PADI has to offer.

 

This Underwater Navigator course consists of a home study portion, a classroom session (e-Learning is available), and three open water dives where you will put your new navigation skills to the test. Divers need to be at least 10 years old and hold a Junior Open Water Diver Certification or higher to enroll. This specialty can count as credit towards 1 of your 5 required dives for your Advanced Open Water Diver Certification.

Night Diver

Diving at night may seem mysterious but we’ll assure you it’s one of the most rewarding times to dive. Nighttime is when a lot of fun, nocturnal creatures are more active. It’s also when a lot of the rare sights and sensations occur - ever heard of the Squid Run that happens just off the shores of La Jolla, California every winter? The Night Diver Specialty gives you more confidence diving at night, teaching you how to pay closer attention to details, learn proper techniques for diving with a light, communicating with your buddies at night, and more.

 

This Night Diver Specialty includes a home study portion, a classroom session (e-Learning is available), and three open water night dives. Divers need to be at least 12 years old and hold a Junior Open Water Diver Certification or higher to enroll. This specialty can count as credit towards 1 of your 5 required dives for your Advanced Open Water Diver Certification.

Enriched Air Diver

The Enriched Air Diver Specialty is the most popular specialty course that PADI offers. Enriched air, also known as Nitrox, teaches divers how to dive with air that has a higher oxygen and lower nitrogen content. Nitrox diving allows divers to extend their bottom time without the need for long decompression stops. The open water dives are optional in this specialty, but we would definitely recommend doing them.

 

The Enriched Air Diver Specialty consists of a home study session, a classroom session (e-Learning available), and two optional open water dives. To enroll in this specialty, you’ll need to be at least 12 years old and hold an Open Water Diver Certification. This specialty can count as credit towards your PADI Master Scuba Diver rating.

Altitude Diver

Did you know that altitude affects your dive plan? Because atmospheric pressure is less at higher altitudes, it affects your ability to off-gas during your ascent. That is exactly why what you learn in the Altitude Diver Specialty course is so important if you plan to dive at altitude. What dive locations are at altitude you ask? Yellowstone National Park in the United States, Mountain Lakes in Austria, and Lake Titicaca in Peru, just to name a few.

 

This specialty course includes a home study session, a classroom session, and two open water dives. To enroll in this specialty, you’ll need to be at least 10 years old and hold a Junior Open Water Diver Certification. This specialty can count as credit towards your Advanced Open Water Certification.

We hope that one of these continuing education scuba courses sounds interesting to you! We encourage divers to learn as much as possible about this amazing sport because the more you know, the more comfortable and safer you will be in the water.

 

Which one will you take first?