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Diving Program

Physicians Training in Diving Medicine

Objective: To train physicians in the practice of diving medicine, including diving physics, physiology and the recognition and treatment of diving medical emergencies.

Physicians operate a hyperbaric chamber while instructors observe them.

A group of students in the Physicians Training in Diving Medicine course learn to operate the 80-inch hyperbaric chamber at the NOAA Diving Center (NDC) while NDC instructors Bill Gordon (farthest back) and Nick Jeremiah (left) observe. 

The NOAA Diving Program and the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) team-teach this two-week course at the NOAA Diving Center every year in the fall. This course is taught by a select group of diving experts, including experienced technical divers, current professionals practicing hyperbaric medicine and physicians conducting research and teaching at top universities and hospitals around the world. It is typically attended by university Fellows, physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and nurses from the U.S. and other countries who desire advanced training in diving medicine. Students participate in theoretical and practical sessions that include work in a pressurized environment.

Topics covered

  • Diving and hyperbaric physics
  • Physiology and pathophysiology of Immersion
  • Inert gas narcosis and oxygen toxicity
  • Thermal considerations
  • Chronic dysbaric disorders
  • Neurological exam
  • Surface oxygen administration
  • Pressure Vessels for Human Occupancy (PVHO)
  • High pressure nervous syndrome
  • Treatment tables and procedures
  • Medications under pressure
  • Non-pulmonary barotrauma
  • Decompression illness
  • Acute dysbaric disorders
  • Case histories of diving incidents and accidents
  • Hyperbaric oxygen therapy


Two weeks, including one Saturday.  


The Diving Medical Advisory committee and the European Diving Technical Committee (DMAC/EDTC) have approved this course at Level IIA – Diving Medicine Physician.


  • Recommended for licensed medical professionals
  • Before admission to the course students must:
    • Submit and pass a diving physical examination
    • Applicants that are not U.S. citizens must fill out a Foreign National Visitor / Guest Information form and submit it at least 30 days prior to the beginning of the course
  • Forms and additional information on the 2017 session can be found at the UHMS web page for this course.

It is not required that one be a diver to attend this course, however the participant will be required to complete a brief medical history to be cleared for work under pressure as this class includes several hours of practical chamber work as well as an optional hard hat surface supplied dive.


Two divers inside the NOAA diving training tank

A student in the Physicians Training in Diving Medicine course (left) gets an opportunity to experience surface supplied diving inside the NOAA Diving Center (NDC) training tank. Former NDC Manager Mark Pickett (right) ensures students are safe at the bottom. 

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Reviewed: May 28, 2019. Contact us with page issues.

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