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Before enrolling in diving school, it's not a bad idea to ask the instructor for a list of newly certified students who can act as references.
The quality of your scuba certification course depends on the skill and experience of the diving instructor. The better instructors generally are the more experienced ones. Look for an instructor who has certified at least a couple dozen students, and has been teaching at least for a year. Often teachers are young adults, since diving operations do no pay a lot. But the better instructors are likely to be older divers who have dedicated their careers to commercial diving.
It's not a bad idea to look for a course in which the instructors use similar dive equipment as the students. It makes the process more streamlined and easier to understand. Don't expect to buy a complete scuba outfit as a student, but the diving operation may ask you to bring your own mask, flippers and snorkel.
The easiest way to find a PADI-sanctioned dive operation near you is to go to the organization's web site, which has a database of instructors throughout the world.