The Aquarius Advanced Training Program is the adult instruction enterprise designed for postsecondary students, recent graduates, seasoned professionals and lifelong learners who desire to continue to build their learning experiences. The Program includes discrete, but complementary courses that vary in subject matter, student content engagement mode, course duration length and credit.

All courses are led by Reef Base staff and most place a special emphasis on activities directly associated with the Aquarius undersea laboratory. For non-divers and remote learners, many courses can be completed online. For others, in-class instruction and hands-on experiential skills development at the Reef Base facility in Islamorada, Florida is required for certification or credit.

FIU Micro-Credential & Continuing Education Courses

Working with FIU’s Office of Micro-Credentials, housed within the Division of Academic & Student Affairs, students successfully completing the following courses earn micro-credentials. Micro-credentials are a competency-based form of skills validation and are based in assessment best practices, aligned to industry or postgraduate needs, and culminate in a reflective experience. Micro-Credentials are digital representations of learning achievement, designed so that students can share the skills they’ve gained. While not a replacement for certificates, minors, or degree programs, micro-credentials are a supplemental designation to provide evidence that students are working towards mastering critical competencies. The option to earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs) from FIU Academic Planning and Accountability – Continuing Education (APA-CE) is also available.

These courses are open to all learners.

  • Fundamentals of Scientific Diving

    To become a certified scientific diver, persons must meet training standards higher than for entry level recreational diving and demonstrate acceptable levels of competence. The Fundamentals of Scientific Diving micro-credential course is designed for everyone – divers and non-divers alike - wishing to immerse themselves in the content one needs to master to succeed as a scientific diver. This course includes online-only and online+experiential options.

    Online-Only Option includes the online components of the class that covers 13 topics, including diving physics and physiology, management of diving-related accidents, procedures for scientific diving and more.

    Who Should Enroll: Teachers and lifelong learners looking to gain fundamental knowledge of scuba diving and underwater data gathering techniques.

    Online+Experiential Option includes the online components of the class and onsite skill development – including a swim test, check out dive and a week of scientific dive training at the FIU Medina Aquarius Program facility in Islamorada. Passing both the online and experiential components of the class is required to become qualified as an FIU scientific diver.

    Who Should Enroll: Certified divers desiring to increase their in-water competence and obtain scientific diver certification.

    See Fundamentals of Scientific Diving for more information.

  • Introduction to Saturation Diving: Aquarius Operations and Benefits to Science

    The Aquarius undersea laboratory remains the world’s last operational saturation diving facility specifically designed and dedicated to scientific research and education in the sea. Aquarius not only represents an extensive history of humans living underwater, but also continues to evolve to capitalize on opportunities.

    This course starts by taking students through the illustrative journey of undersea habitats and the development of saturation diving theory and practice. Students then learn the basics of saturation diving operations, equipment and procedures. Finally, an in-depth examination of relevant research missions conducted aboard Aquarius highlight Aquarius’ value to marine science and space exploration. 



    This course includes both online-only and online+experiential options.

    Online-Only Option includes online components of the class that coversaturation diving and theory, emergency procedures, recompression chamber use, life support considerations, an introduction to surface-supplied diving and practical applications

    Who Should Enroll: Teachers and lifelong learners looking to gain a fundamental knowledge of saturation diving history, operations and its value to the research community.

    Online+Experiential Option includes the online components of the class and onsite, hands-on introductory training in saturation diving operations, equipment and procedures. Participants in this introductory course gain a basic understanding of what it takes to run a mission as a habitat technician inside Aquarius and as critical support personnel operating from the shore base command center. 

    Who Should Enroll: Certified divers looking for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to board Aquarius and work side-by-side with habitat technicians.

    See Introduction to Saturation Diving: Aquarius Operations and Benefits to Science for more information.

Courses for Medical Professionals

The Medina Aquarius program offers unique opportunities for professional training in diving medicine. These courses are designed to train a range of students including physicians, emergency medical personnel, and commercial and military divers in the identification and treatment of diving-related injuries. By incorporating a range of facilities including the Aquarius undersea lab, a shore-based recompression chamber and a vessel-based transportable recompression chamber, these courses offer a robust training experience that cannot be replicated anywhere else.

This course is restricted to certified medical personnel only.

  • Diving Medical Technician Course

    Students enrolled in this 48-hour NBDHMT-approved Diving Medical Technician course engage in didactic and practical training that addresses recognition, stabilization and treatment of decompression and other diving-related injuries. This course prepares students to pass the NBDHMT board certification exam. 

    Specific course topics include: 

    • Diving physiology
    • Recognition of marine life hazards
    • Clinical assessment of diving injuries such as barotrauma and decompression sickness 
    • Neurological examinations 
    • Hyperbaric chamber operations 


    Students drill using an on-site 72" multi-place chamber and gain an understanding of operation of a vessel-based Transportable Recompression Chamber System (TRCS). Upon successful completion of the course, students may apply to NBDHMT for certification as a Diver Medic.

    For more information about this course, please visit the Diving Medical Technician Course page.


  • World Extreme Medicine: Dive Medicine

    Aquarius Reef Base, in collaboration with World Extreme Medicine, hosts the WEM Dive Medicine course at the Aquarius Reef Base facility in Islamorada, Florida to train physicians in recognizing, evaluating and treating diving medical and hyperbaric emergencies. Course educational methodology includes lectures, case presentations, printed support materials and practical exercises using an on-site 72” multi-place chamber and vessel-based Transportable Recompression Chamber System (TRCS). In addition, students receive introductory training in hard hat and saturation diving.

    At the conclusion of the course, participants will have a working knowledge to evaluate and manage diving medicine injuries in an operational environment. In addition to Dive Medicine course CME, after successful completion of the course exam, participants will also be awarded the Diver Medic Technician qualification issued by the National Board of Diving & Hyperbaric Medical Technology.  Dive Medicine forms a 30-credit module of the world renown Diploma/ MSc in Extreme Medicine delivered in partnership with University of Exeter Medical School.

    Prerequisites: Physician/doctor, nurse or paramedic; open water scuba certification from a nationally recognized training agency or military with a minimum of 40 dives, diving fitness evaluation form signed by physician, completed diver resume and completed liability waiver.

    Enrollment Cap: 8 students

    Content Delivery: Online, in-class instruction and hands-on experiential skills at the Aquarius Reef Base facility in Islamorada, Florida.

    Course Dates: Coming soon

    Who Should Enroll: Medical professionals who are experienced scuba divers interested diving medicine.

    Enroll:  Enroll on the WEM site



Intra-University Courses & Specialized Training

Medina Aquarius Program offers specialized courses designed to support and enhance field research activities conducted by FIU science teams. Courses include training in emergency medical care for those working in terrestrial and aquatic environments and in the use of specialized diving equipment to support advanced marine field research activities.

  • Scientific Diving

    This course is restricted to FIU faculty, staff & students.

    The Dive Safety Program at FIU trains and certifies FIU faculty, staff and students as scientific divers following the standards of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences. FIU-trained scientific divers can conduct scientific dives as part of university activities and in association with other AAUS member institutions through a reciprocity agreement.

    Note: All students in this class must be either employees or students at FIU.

    The undergraduate course number for this class is BSC4473C (3 credits) and the graduate course number is OCB6827 (2 credits).

    For more information about this course, please see the course webpage.

  • Introduction to Surface-Supplied Diving

    This three-day course includes classroom and hands-on training both in confined and open water to introduce divers to basics of surface-supplied diving using Kirby Morgan SS-37 or SL-17 diving helmets.

    Specific course topics include:

    • The advantages and disadvantages of Surface Supplied Diving techniques compared to traditional SCUBA
    • Diver umbilical tending procedures
    • Introduction to the types of surfaced supplied air systems, air station and air station components
    • Dive planning when using Surface Supplied Diving techniques
    • Emergency procedures and safety requirements


    All divers who successfully complete the course will receive a TDI/SDI specialty card.

    Visit the Introduction to Surface-Supplied Diving page for more information about this course.