Mastering scuba diving isn’t just for adults – the PADI Junior Divemaster course offers an exciting opportunity for young divers aged 15 to 17 to become leaders in the underwater world. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore what sets the Junior Divemaster certification apart from its adult counterpart, detailing the unique training experiences and responsibilities these young enthusiasts undertake. From honing leadership skills to mastering dive theory, discover how Junior Divemasters are shaping the future of scuba diving while gaining invaluable experience for their journey beneath the waves.

The PADI Junior Divemaster program is an opportunity for divers 15 to 17 years old to:

  • Become role-model divers
  • Develop leadership skills
  • Learn about physics and physiology
  • Add valuable experience to their CV
  • Share their love of the underwater world

How Is the Junior Divemaster Course Different From the Divemaster Course?

The Junior Divemaster course is a subset of the PADI Divemaster course. Candidates between the ages of 15 and 17 complete a significant portion of the PADI Divemaster course – with some modifications to performance requirements. Additional training is required once the diver turns 18, but Junior Divemasters will find themselves well-prepared to lead dives, assist with classes and quickly master other Divemaster roles and responsibilities

teenage scuba divers in drysuits
Photo credit: Annie Crawley

What Junior Divemasters Can and Can’t Do:

Certified Junior Divemasters are not PADI Members and may not supervise diving activities or act as certified assistants. They can, however, assist PADI Professionals by:

  • Acting as a role model in skill demonstrations that require a buddy
  • Participating in dive site setup and management
  • Delivering dive site briefings (under the supervision of a PADI Professional)
  • Giving presentations about the benefits of learning to dive

How Old Do You Have To Be To Become a Junior Divemaster?

Divers who are at least 15 may enroll in the PADI Junior Divemaster program. Other pre-requisites include:

two scuba divers explore a coral reef filled with schools of fish in St. Lucia

What’s Involved in Becoming a Junior Divemaster?

During the PADI Junior Divemaster program, candidates learn:

  • Dive site setup and management
  • Dive theory 
  • How to give a dive briefing

Junior Divemaster candidates also complete:

  • A dive site mapping project
  • An emergency assistance plan for a designated dive site
  • Search and recovery and diver rescue scenarios
  • PADI Divemaster eLearning
  • The Junior Divemaster exam

PADI AmbassaDiver™ Julia Aveline Rabenjoro shares her experience becoming a Junior Divemaster in the video below. Follow her adventures @julia_into_the_blue.

What Happens When a Junior Divemaster Turns 18?

At age 18, certified Junior Divemasters may become PADI Divemaster candidates and finish their training. Junior Divemasters must complete the remainder of the Divemaster course and meet the following prerequisites to begin training:

Our article How to Become a Divemaster has more detailed information about:

  • What’s involved in becoming a Divemaster
  • How long it takes to become a Divemaster
  • And, other FAQs.

For more information on the Junior Divemaster course – or to enroll – please contact your PADI Dive Center, Resort or Instructor. You can also purchase the PADI Divemaster eLearning or Dive Theory eLearning online to get started with the theoretical portion of the program at home now. You’ll then need to get in contact with a PADI Dive Center or Instructor to complete the in-person portion of the program.

PADI AmbassaDiver and Junior Divemaster Julia prepares to go scuba diving from a boat.

Not ready to take the plunge? Try Intro to Divemaster online. It’s totally free, no credit card required. In a few short lessons, you’ll learn about the concepts, skills, and knowledge necessary to become a Divemaster, so you (and your parents or guardians) can make an informed decision. 

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