It can be extremely satisfying and rewarding to teach a unique specialty

It can be extremely satisfying and rewarding to teach a unique specialty
So you have this GREAT IDEA for a →course and you know it will be a huge success. Now what do you do? Here are some simple steps to follow to get you started.

If an SDI, TDI or ERDI Instructor member wishes to apply for approval of a unique specialty, an outline may be submitted to the HQ Training Department for review. Guidelines for creating and submitting a unique specialty outline are available in the member’s area of, including an electronic ‘fill in the blanks’ template which may be used to ensure the same format as other specialties. Utilizing the supplied template is a bonus that ensures a faster response from Training.

Members considering creating a unique specialty are advised to contact the HQ Training Department initially. Standards for numerous unique specialties are already held on file and, as many submissions are similar, one may already exist which meets the requirements of the potential applicant. In such instances, verification of experience – in the same way as a regular SDI specialty, for example – may be all that is required for allocation of an existing unique rating. Other specialties on file may require certain pre‐requisites.

Approval of a unique specialty outline is not guaranteed and members should note that additional supporting information may be required. If approved, the initial approval fee is currently $100.

Guidelines for Approval of a Unique Specialty/Ops Component.
Instructors may apply for approval of their own unique specialty or ops component by submitting a draft outline to the SDI/TDI/ERDI Headquarters Training Department. The following criteria applies:

Instructors must:
• Be in active teaching status with the agency the specialty is being created for – i.e. SDI, TDI or ERDI
• Provide a detailed resume of experience and proof of a minimum 25 dives in the unique specialty activity being applied for
• Submit a draft outline, using the format in the attached guideline, for approval by headquarters
• Provide reasons why the unique outline should be accepted – i.e. geographical, cultural, market opportunity, etc
• Submit a completed SDI Specialty Instructor Upgrade, TDI Instructor Registration or ERDI Ops Component Upgrade form, as applicable
• Pay a $100 application fee

Draft outlines should be submitted in ‘electronic’ version, using Microsoft Word®. E-mail to: or mail to International Training (attn Training Dept), 18 Elm St, Topsham, ME 04086, USA.

Draft outlines are subject to a review process as follows:

1. Receipt, review and edit by Training Department staff
2. Return to originator for correction, extra information, etc
3. Final review and approval or rejection by Training Department as applicable

The approval process for a unique outline may take several weeks, depending on Training
Department commitments and/or the amount of reviews/edits required for the particular
submission. Approval is not guaranteed at any point during the review process. Any outline
approved for use becomes property of, and copyrighted by International Training and may be used by other instructors on the authority of the Training Department.

For More Info: Contact the Training Department at SDI/TDI/ERDI or your area Representative TODAY!
Log In to your Pro Members site for the online application at

The following guide should be used to create the draft outline. Grey boxes denote required elements, all of which must be included. Text shown in italics is included as a guide and may be deleted from the draft by the author. (An ‘electronic’ version of the guide is available in the members area of, in which grey boxes denoting required elements may be completed.)


Include an overview of the specialty and it’s purpose

Who May Teach
An active Instructor that has been certified to teach this specialty (insert SDI, TDI or ERDI as applicable)

Student to Instructor Ratio
Unlimited, so long as adequate facility, supplies, and time are provided to ensure comprehensive and complete training of the subject matter

Confined Water (swimming pool-like conditions)

A maximum of  students per instructor

Instructors have the option of adding  more students with the assistance of an active assistant instructor or divemaster*
The total number of students an instructor may have in the water is with the assistance of active assistant instructors or divemasters*

Open Water (ocean, lake, quarry, spring, river, or estuary)

A maximum of students per instructor; it is the instructor’s discretion to reduce this number as conditions dictate.
The instructor has the option of adding  more students with the assistance of an active assistant *
The total number of students an instructor may have in the water is with the assistance of active assistants *
An active assistant is defined as: *
*Delete if not applicable

Student Prerequisites
Detail the minimum certification required to enroll
Detail the minimum age required to enroll (including age with parental consent if applicable)
Detail the minimum number of logged dives required to enroll

Course Structure and Duration
Confined or open water execution
dives are required with complete brief and debrief by the instructor
Detail the minimum number of classroom hours if applicable
Detail any restrictions on the dives, ie max depth, etc if applicable


Administrative Requirements
Administrative Tasks:
Collect the course fees from all the students
Ensure that the students have the required equipment
Communicate the schedule to the students
Have the students complete the applicable:
Liability Release and Express Assumption of Risk Form
Medical Statement Form

Upon successful completion of this specialty the instructor must:
Issue the appropriate certification by submitting the Diver Registration Form to International Training Headquarters or registering the students online through member’s area of (insert SDI, TDI or ERDI as applicable)

Required Equipment and Materials
Detail the minimum equipment requirements and materials for the course

Approved Outline
Instructors may use any additional text or materials that they feel help present these topics. The following topics must be covered:

Detail all main subject areas to be covered, including sub-topicss as applicable

Required Skill Performance and Graduation Requirements

Students are required to successfully complete the following:
Detail each required dive, by Number – ie Dive 1, Dive 2, etc and list all required skills. FOR EXAMPLE: Open Water Dive 1
a. Test and check all equipment, i.e. depth gauges, bottom timers/watches and computers
b. Familiarization with area
c. Descend to planed depth and do not exceed any pre-planned limits
d. Dive according to plan at a depth limited to 30 metres / 100 feet for first dive.
e. Ascend to safety stop

Detail any academic requirements for graduation


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