SSI vs PADI
How to choose between the two ?
The most important thing to be aware of is that both certifications are internationally recognized, meaning you can dive any where in the world with either certification, in fact there are many other certifying agencies around the world such as BSAC, NAUI, CMAS etc, and all these agencies adhere to rules and the established ‘Minimum Training Standards’ set by the Recreational Scuba Training Council for all levels of recreational scuba diving.
The science, the skills and the techniques are the same across the agencies, the differences come in the methods used to teach. For example, a PADI Instructor teaching a course has to follow a set order skill A, must be completed before moving to skill B, whereas an SSI Instructor can adjust the order to suit the student, meaning you can move on to skills B,C and D and come back to A when you are felling little more confident.
Pricing should not be the main factor in choosing who to take your dive course with, or even who to dive with once you are qualified, however SSI do tend to be a little cheaper than PADI, and this is mainly due to the fact that with PADI you must purchase the training materials, whilst the SSI dive Center will lend you the materials (you can of course purchase them if you wish). PADI does offer the study book as an E-book if you prefer to purchase this in place of the paper copy.
SSI and PADI both offer learning online. This allows you to get started on your studying before you arrive on your holiday, any ideas that you have not fully understood will be covered during you time with your instructor. The difference here between SSI and PADI is that PADI offers its online training for US$ 130, and access is valid for one year. SSI offers its online training for free and access is for life. If you chose not to buy the book you can simply log in and use the site as a review when you want a refresher later on.
Go Diving !
The final thing that should be explained to you is about your certification card. The SSI office in Bali, can print your certification card straight away, so you will get your hard earned card at the end of your course. 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 traveling then it’s best to send it home. Don’t worry though, if you are traveling for longer than 90 days, you can still have you certification checked on the PADI website.
At the end of the day it is more important that you have chosen the right dive centre, and are happy with your instructor no matter which certification agency you go with. Don’t over think it just dive in there and blow some bubbles!