PADI Open Water Diver Course

The following information is designed to answer the most commonly asked questions about scuba diving and scuba classes.

PADI is the world's largest scuba training agency--they have the best system of diver education on the market, have the most options to become certified, and are the most recognized throughout the diving world.


  • Student divers must be a minimum of 10 years of age to begin training. There are some restrictions for divers aged 10-15 (click here for information specific to Junior Divers).
  • A medical statement is required prior to training. If there are any "YES" answers to any medical conditions, a physician must sign the form--download the PADI Medical Statement form here


  • The PADI Open Water Diver Course has 3 sections
    • Academic
    • Confined Water (pool)
    • Open Water (ocean)

  • The Academic portion can be conducted via:
    • Traditional "book" version--students read the manual, fill out the "knowledge reviews" at the end of each chapter, then meet with an instructor to take 4 quizzes and a final exam. Typically students will need to allow 2 sessions of 2-3 hours each to take the quizzes and final exam. Currently offered only via CUSTOM class format--email for details.

    • eLearning version--the most flexible version, students log onto the internet to read the "online manual", watch the accompanying videos, and take all of the quizzes and final exam in the comfort of their own home. Students will learn the same material as either of the other formats. Due to internet safety laws, eLearners must be at least 13 years old.

        • With any of the above formats, figure on approximately 4-6 hours of reading the "online manual" and another 2-3 hours to watch the accompanying videos

        • The instructor is available to answer any questions along the way via email or cell phone and there will be one final "in-person" academic session to cover any topics necessary. During this "in-person" academic session students will learn how to assemble and disassemble the scuba equipment, as well as proper care and maintenance.

  • The Confined Water, or pool sessions cover the practical in water skills learned by reading the manual and watching the videos. The skills are "performance based" where the student progresses through the various skills when the student has demonstrated "mastery level" of the skill.

        • Most students will need a minimum of 2-3 pool sessions each lasting approximately 3 hours in duration.

  • The Open Water sessions are typically held in the ocean, although they can be conducted in lakes as well. Four (4) Open Water dives are required for the Open Water Diver certification and can be conducted from the beach or from the luxury and ease of a boat. The Open Water dives are typically held in Monterey, CA. A referral to a warm water destination is another option to finish the Open Water dives.

Upon completion of all the requirements, you will be a certified PADI Open Water Diver. This certification does not "expire", but it is strongly recommended that you enroll in a PADI Scuba Tune Up refresher course if you have not been diving for several months or longer.


COST: $600 for full course, $500 for referral course

Course cost includes:

  • PADI certification and fees
  • Instructor fees
  • Pool and rental fees of BCD, Regulators, Wetsuit/hood, weights
  • PADI materials (student manual OR eLearning versions)
  • With the eLearning version, you click either at the top or bottom of this page to get started--you will pay $169.00 directly to PADI with the balance due to Phillips' School of Diving--USE THIS LINK to register for e-Learning

Course does NOT include:

  • Purchase or rental of Mask, Snorkel, Fins, Boots, Gloves
  • Lodging in, or transportation to and from Monterey, CA
  • Optional diving from the extreme ease and luxury of a dive boat
  • Make up sessions for missed classes
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