Distinctive Specialties

PADI’s Most Distinct Distinctive Specialties

The other day Barry and I were talking about which specialty courses are the most popular. By the numbers, we process more Enriched Air certifications than any other (which is a little strange), but what about the dozens of other specialties?

As it turns out, unusual specialties are a hot ticket. When Barry owned his store, his Intro. to Historic Diving, Intro. to Underwater Archeology and Intro. to Commercial Diving were all very popular.

  • In Introduction to Historic Diving Barry’s students tried on vintage dive gear. He’d have them jump in the pool with double house regs, old farmer john wetsuits, etc.
  • For Intro to Commercial Diving, Barry worked with one of the local commercial diving schools. Students had the opportunity to dive a Mark 5 and a superlight. They were also able to take a chamber rider to 160’.

ice diving in Alaska with Test the Waters Dive CenterIn the northwest we have the opportunity to teach both distinctive specialties AND the more unusual standardized specialties such as ice diving and altitude diving. In 2007, A-2-Z Scuba was able to fill two Altitude Diver classes back to back.

PADI Instructors have offered some very creative specialties over the years. I dug through the distinctive specialty archives and here are a few of my favorites:

Underwater model
Underwater Pilot
Helicopter Diver
Lava Tube Diver
Loch Diver
Submarine Diver
Available Light Underwater Photo
Zen Diver
Backpack propulsion
Golf Ball Diver
Spacesuit Diver
Sinkhole Diver
Future Perfect Diver
Magnetometer Diver
Millennium Diver
Railroad Yard Diver
Sand Pit Diving
Underwater Game Player
Underwater Hockey
Underwater Wedding
Y2K Scuba Historian

. . . and the inevitable
Underwater Basket Weaving

Here are a few that I’m not sure Project AWARE Foundation knows about:
Delicacies of the Sea
Edible Marine Life Diver
Gourmet Diver
Seafood Gourmet Cook

And finally, to answer last week’s poll question, the distinctive specialty that ISN’T real is:

Underwater Rock Identification

Yes, I made that one up. Sounds pretty good though, eh?

2 Replies to “Distinctive Specialties”

  1. Is there a place on the PADI site that gives you the current list of all Distinctive Specialties and where they are offered?

    More importantly, where on the PADI Pro site does it have the guidelines for creating a Distinctive Specialty Course?

    Can these courses only be taught by the person that created them?
    If so, can that person also serve as the instructor trainer for a Distinctive Specialty and certify other instructors to teach it?

    1. Hi Matt,
      We do not have hold an updated list of distinctive specialties or who teaches them. A distinctive specialty requires an instructor to write an outline for the course. If you send us your email, one of our training consultants will get back to you with the forms required to submit a distinctive specialty, as well as answer any other questions you may have.
      The Team at PADI

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