10 Awesome Scuba Diving Specialty Certifications | Scuba Diving

10 Awesome Scuba Diving Specialty Certifications

You took the plunge, the scuba courses and all of the other steps to become a certified diver — you go, Glen Coco! But now what? An open-water certification can undoubtedly help you have some of the world’s coolest experiences, but it has its limits. And for divers who aren’t planning any travel in the near future, you may find yourself feeling like you’ve done all there is to do. I mean, how many times can you dive that local spot without seeing all there is to see, right?


The beauty of scuba diving is that no matter how many times you hit the same location, each underwater experience is a completely new dive. You just need the tools to see it from a different perspective. And for those of you lucky dogs with dive travel in your future, preparing with additional training and certifications is going to make your bottom time that much better. (In some cases, like Enriched Air courses, it will make your bottom time longer too.)

So here’s a look at some of the best specialty courses and training programs to help you take your diving up a notch, no matter where you are!


underwater photography

Take your diving to the next level with an underwater photography course.


Why It’s Awesome:

• #InstaFamous

• You’ll have a mission on every dive, and every dive is a new opportunity to get the perfect shot

• You’ll spot critters you didn’t know existed

• You can snorkel or freedive and still get epic photos using the techniques you learn

Contact PADI for Certification


night diving

Become a night diver.


Are you afraid of the dark? Well, don’t be. Because nightlife underwater is substantially cooler than anything you’ll experience at the local dive bar. There is an entirely new set of critters waiting for you — even if you’ve dived the site 1,000 times during the daylight hours — and you’ll learn how to communicate using dive lights as well as how to navigate in the dark.

Why It’s Awesome:

• Bioluminescent critters come out at night

• Coral spawning? Also a nighttime activity

• Any dive site becomes a whole new world at night

Contact PADI for Certification


wreck diving

Wreck diving specialty.


Explore the inside — as well as the outside — of shipwrecks around the world. Some of the world’s best dives are wrecks, many of which were sunk intentionally for scuba divers. Divers nearby the Great Lakes are in for a real treat with this specialty, as the Great Lakes has an enormous amount of historic shipwrecks waiting to be explored. And iconic dives like the Kittiwake, Ray of Hope, Spiegel Grove and more tropic and sub-tropic wrecks are perfect for divers who prefer more temperate water.

Why It’s Awesome:

• Learn how to save your safe if you’re entangled

• Explore maritime history in the most epic way possible

• Search for sunken treasure (but, you know, don’t steal it)

Contact PADI for Certification



Ecology specialty.


Sure, it’s exciting to see beautiful fish and reefscapes during your dives — but how do you know what you’re looking at? That’s where ecology and conservation courses come in. By choosing this specialty, you’ll learn to identify the flora and fauna you spot on each dive, as well as conservation needs and how you can protect these environments.

Why It’s Awesome:

• Knowledge is power, so you can be an expert resource for other divers in your group.

• By identifying critters and coral that are endangered, you can help encourage your peers and community to protect them.

• Fish ID makes every dive a scavenger hunt!

Contact PADI for Certification


cavern diver

Explore caverns with a specialty certification.


To set the record straight: CAVERN diving is not the same as CAVE diving, so don’t freak out. When diving in a cavern, you are never too far from the surface. Good examples of beautiful and easy to dive caverns can be seen in Mexico’s Cenotes, the Exumas in the Bahamas and in Florida. Take one look at the crystal-clear water and incredible photo opportunities and you’ll understand why people love exploring caverns!

Why It’s Awesome:

• During the course, you’ll become an expert at neutral buoyancy

• See a whole new ecosystem of critters

• Get amazing underwater photos

Contact PADI for Certification


ice diver

Are cooler temperatures more your thing?


Yes, ice diving. It may sound crazy or dangerous, but when equipped with the proper gear and training, submerging into these chilly conditions can reveal some of the world’s most beautiful and unique creatures. You’ll more than likely need to be drysuit certified before taking this course, but it’s worth it.

Why It’s Awesome:

• Beluga whales. Need we say more?

• Learn about drysuits, overhead environments and staying safe in the cold.

• Freshwater divers can see a whole new world when lakes and ponds freeze over.

Contact PADI for Certification


shark ecology

Learn to love sharks with the Shark Ecology specialty.


Welcome to the real life Shark Week, where the sharks are not sensationalized and the adventure is all the more exciting. The unfortunate plight of sharks is that they are being killed en masse by fishing and shark finning industries, and they have an unfairly negative reputation in the media. Sharks are crucial to marine ecosystems, and they are absolutely breathtaking — and not scary — underwater. This course will educate you on how to save these amazing creatures, as well as introduce you to an addiction to shark diving.

Why It’s Awesome:


• Sharks are among the most beautiful animals you can encounter underwater, and you can see them first hand

• Join the Shark Conservation team and use the skills and information to help protect sharks around the world

Contact PADI for Certification

Sharks not your thing? There are specialty courses for sea turtle conservation, invasive lionfish hunting and more.


deep diver

Take your diving to new depths as a deep diver.


How low can you go? (Safely, that is…) With the Deep Diver specialty course, you’ll learn the secrets of the deep: from decompression principles and procedures and nitrogen narcosis to the hazards, equipment, planning, techniques and everything in between to avoid DCS while you dive down to 130 feet.

Why It’s Awesome:

Most of the best diving in the world exceeds the open-water depth restriction of 60 feet. (Think shipwrecks.)

This is the first step if you’re interested in technical diving, which opens up even more opportunities! (Think caves.)

Contact PADI for Certification



Stay down longer and dive deeper with Nitrox.


By getting a nitrox certification you are simply learning how to dive with an air mix that’s enriched with oxygen. The enriched air differs slightly from the standard [scuba air](Link to scuba diving lingo] in your tank and allows you in some cases to stay underwater longer during your dives.

Why It’s Awesome:

• Longer or deeper dives, depending on your preference

• Increases no-decompression time, especially during repetitive dives

Contact PADI for Certification



See twice as much on your next dive with a DPV!


Welcome to life in the fast lane, where you’ll scoot alongside reefs, wrecks and marine life without overexerting yourself. DPVs are not only a blast, but they are extremely useful for exploring expansive dive sites while making the most of your air.

Why It’s Awesome:

• See twice as much during your dive, in half the time

• Have you ever seen a sad person on a jetski? Same idea.

Contact PADI for Certification

Looking for a place to try out your shiny new specialty? Check out these 15 world-class dive destinations.