As a new diver I once heard about interesting survey results that indicated that many new divers believed that in the hierarchy of diving a Divemaster was senior to an Instructor. That a Divemaster was the diver that was running the show while the instructor was doing his bidding so to speak. It seemed perfectly understandable at the time, Divemaster is a very powerful title; Master of all the Diving! It is very understandable then that divers, new and old, can get confused about Master Divers vs. Divemasters. Here is a very brief overview and description of the two ratings and some of the basic requirements.
Throughout your diving career you will like come across more Divemasters (DM) than Master Divers, at least that you are aware of. Most recreational dive operators will employ a Divemaster in the water with the divers or a Divemaster on the boat to assist customers on the topside, or both. The PADI Divemaster is the entry level professional certification. As a DM there is a great emphasis on both dive skills and leadership qualities. You may be called upon to help junior divers with their gear and dive planning, or maybe even leading the dive. Many DMs find themselves in pools assisting instructors with dive classes. DMs can also teach some entry level class like Discover Scuba Diving and conducting Scuba Reviews. Because of this it’s critically important to have excellent problem solving skills in addition to your exceptional dive skill demonstration skills. The path to becoming a Divemaster usually means a long internship working one on one with an instructor. Throughout this process the DM candidate will hone his or her dive skills, and develop exceptional rescue skills.
As a PADI Master Diver you have reached the pinnacle of recreation diving! Being a Master diver means you have not only learned advanced dive and rescue skills, but also that you have significant experience in a variety of additional dive activities or environments. This is not a professional rating and unless you ask you many never even know that the diver next to you with fantastic buoyancy skills is a Master Diver. There are two similar paths to earning your Master Diver rating. If you already have your advanced open water, rescue, and five specialty certifications it’s really just a matter of applying for the rating. However, if you don’t already have all of that training, you have the opportunity to work one on one with an instructor and develop a training plan customized around what you want to learn whether you want to focus on search and recovery skills or the wonders of night diving.