If you aren't a scuba diver already, then some of your questions might be: How to Scuba Dive? or What is PADI? Other questions might be: Is scuba diving expensive or difficult?

Some of the answers to these questions might surprise you, because: No, scuba diving is not difficult or more expensive than many other sport activities. An even greater surprise (for most of us) is that scuba diving training can be credited to a college education. It is also a surprise to most people that the scuba diving training and education has been organized in a world wide system of training centers and shops that uses the exact same educational material and a uniform scuba diving certification. The educational material can be books and DVDs, or even online eLearning courses giving the needed theoretical background for safe scuba diving.
The world wide educational system about scuba diving is organized by PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors).

The first step on your way to become an experienced Scuba diver is the PADI Scuba Certification as an Open Water Diver.
You can participate in scuba diving courses several different ways, at a scuba diving school at a diving resort while you are enjoying an active vacation, or maybe you decide to take the first scuba diving lessons close to your home during a week-end before you vacation.
The first level of scuba diving training consists of five dives in a pool where you learn the basics of scuba diving. During this scuba diving training you will also learn all you need to know about the scuba gear needed for your diving.
After the five dives in a swimming pool you are ready for the open water. In order to get your PADI scuba diving certification as an Open Water Diver you will have to make four dives in the open water under a close supervision of your PADI diving instructor. You can make these dives at the same scuba diving school where you had your pool dives, but you can also make them later at any PADI diving resort (All PADI training centers follow the exact same program, and your progress is registered and documented so you will never have to repeat a scuba diving lesson which you have already passed).

But to become a certified PADI Open Water Diver demands more than making five dives in a pool and four dives in open water. In order to dive safely you must know some theory about scuba diving. This theory can be learned the same place as where you have your pool dives, or you can have the theory lessons about scuba diving at most certified PADI scuba diving shops.
But you can even study at home, reading manuals and watch DVDs, or follow PADI eLearning on the Internet. These courses can be ordered on the Internet, so your first scuba diving class can actually begin 5 minutes from now.

What scuba diving gear do you need for your initial scuba training? Well, you do not have to buy anything before you are convinced that scuba diving is really something for you. Most beginners scuba diving courses will have the rental of the gear included in the fee for the classes. However, you might prefer to invest a relative small amount in buying your own snorkel, fins, and a scuba mask.

If you take a fast track to get your PADI Open Water Diver Certificate, then you can do it in less than four days. And it will cost you less than a week-end course in most other adventure sports, or golf.
After you have become a certified PADI Open Water Diver, then you will most likely enjoy many dives, and it is entirely up to you which special interests that you will explore: Is your interest within nature and underwater photography, or are you attracted to more adventurous deep diving, night diving, and exploring of ship wrecks. Many of these dives will even count as dives needed for the next levels of PADI certification: The PADI Adventure Diver Course, and The PADI Advanced Open Water Diver.

The PADI Adventure Diver Course
To get the certification as a PADI Adventure Scuba Diver you must have completed three different adventure dives of your own choice.

PADI Advanced Open Water Diver Course
The Advanced Open Water Diver Course consists of five different advanced dives. These five dives could be: Underwater navigation, Deep water diving, Digital underwater photography, Wreck diving, and Night diving.
There are more than 15 different types of advanced dives to choose from, but two of them must be: 1 underwater navigation, and 1 deep water diving i.e. diving to underwater levels more than 18 meters (60feet).

PADI Speciality Diver Courses
The PADI course system consists of many different dives, and with different types of scuba gear. To become a PADI Speciality Diver, then several dives within the particular area must have been logged. The number of dives are different for each PADI speciality, but typically it is 3 to 5 scuba dives.

PADI Rescue Diver
The PADI Rescue Diver Course is a combination of dives and theoretical issues. But in order to be enrolled in the PADI Rescue Diver Course then the diver must be 12 years or older, be a certified PADI Adventure Diver, and have received training in first aid and CPR.
The PADI Rescue Diver Course is very popular and it serves as a security factor in the event that something goes wrong. But it is even preventing accidents to happen because the knowledge also prevents panic situations that could otherwise develop to serious accidents.

PADI Master Scuba Diver
For many divers who have scuba diving as a hobby then the goal is to become a PADI Master Scuba Diver. In order to receive this certificate the minimum requirements are: Be minimum 12 years old (although it is very unlikely to reach it at this age), be a PADI Rescue Diver, have minimum five PADI Speciality Diver courses, and have made minimum 50 logged dives.

Professional PADI courses
Some scuba divers will eventually combine their interest in scuba diving with a career. In order to be enrolled in courses leading to the certification as Dive Master and Scuba Diving Instructor, then the prerequisite is being a PADI Rescue Diver.

Learn to Scuba Dive all over the World
PADI scuba diving certification follows the same system in all countries. The basic scuba training can be in one country and all of the following steps could be in any other country. Maybe at some of the exotic scuba diving resorts in Hawaii, Thailand, The Philippines, The read Sea, in Europe, or maybe on board a boat cruising to different famous diving resorts with ship wrecks from the World War II.
Scuba diving is fun, and an exiting sport. But it is a sport where one can never get too much information about how to scuba dive safely. Remember always to carefully plan your scuba diving activities.