Scuba Schools International
HeadquartersFort Collins, Colorado, United States
Region served
Parent organization

Scuba Schools International (SSI) is a for-profit organization that teaches the skills involved in scuba diving and freediving, and supports dive businesses and resorts. SSI has over 2,500 authorized dealers, 35 regional centers, and offices all over the world.[citation needed]


SSI was founded by Robert Clark in 1970.[1] SSI headquarters are in Fort Collins, Colorado, and it is owned by Concept Systems International, Inc. In 2008, it was acquired by Doug McNeese, owner of the National Association of Scuba Diving Schools (USA) until its merger with SSI in 1999, and Robert Stoss, manager of Scubapro and Seemann Sub. On January 1, 2014, SSI was acquired by HEAD, which also includes the Mares brand of diving equipment, HEAD NV, for €4.9m.[2][3]


SSI offers internationally recognized recreational diver training programs - starting with snorkeling and entry level scuba diving courses up to instructor certifications. The most common programs are: SSI Open Water Diver (OWD) and Advanced Open Water Diver (AOWD). There are more than 30 different specialty courses. Dive leader training programs start with the Dive Control Specialist (who is qualified like Assistant Instructor) followed by Open Water Instructor and above.[citation needed] SSI's training program for children aged 8–12 years is called Scuba Rangers.[4] The training program for technical divers is called TechXR (Technical Extended Range) and includes decompression diving, trimix and other courses that exceed the limit for recreational divers.[citation needed]

SSI scuba certifications are recognized throughout the world (such as RSTC - Recreational Scuba Training Council, EUF - European Underwater Federation, CUA - China Underwater Association and others).[citation needed]

The main difference to other dive training organizations is that SSI instructors are only allowed to teach at SSI Dive Centers or SSI accredited dive clubs that adopt a franchise-like concept.[5]

SSI is a member of the following councils of the World Recreational Scuba Training Council - the United States RSTC, the RSTC Europe and C-Card Council (Japan).[6][7][8] It is also a member of the European Underwater Federation.[9] SSI obtained CEN certification from the EUF certification body in 2005.[10] It received ISO certification on June 1, 2010.

Programs, certification and progression

SSI education system

The SSI Training Standards outline the offered programs, their prerequisites and certification progression.[11]

Non-certification programs

Entry-level scuba diving certification

In addition to the industry standard Open Water Diver (including Junior Open Water Diver for under 15s) qualification, SSI offers the following (which can be upgraded to Open Water certification with some additional training).

The Open Water Diver complies with Autonomous diver, ISO 24801-2.[11] The Autonomous diver level is variously described as the best,[12] and most popular,[13] introductory scuba qualification.

Progression beyond Open Water

After Open Water certification, progression mainly depends on completing Scuba Specialty Programs and logging certain numbers of dives.[11]

Scuba specialty programs

Below are some of the speciality courses that can be completed as part of the above certifications.

Freediving programs

Professional diving certifications

The SSI Training Standards outline the professional qualifications and progression.[11]

Advanced diving certifications

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Extended Range certifications

Technical Extended Range certifications

Professional certifications

See also


  1. ^ "History of SSI". Scuba America Historical Foundation. Retrieved 2009-05-23.
  2. ^ "Head 2014 annual accounts" (PDF).
  3. ^ "SSI info". DIVEIN Scuba blog. Retrieved 2020-12-22.
  4. ^ "Scuba Schools International (SSI) is the world's largest professional dive business-based training agency".
  5. ^ "Es gibt so viele Tauchorganisationen. Welche ist die Beste?" (in German). Retrieved 10 January 2019.
  6. ^ "United States Agencies". WRSTC.
  7. ^ "European Agencies". WRSTC. Archived from the original on 17 June 2012. Retrieved 31 May 2013.
  8. ^ "Japan Agencies". WRSTC. Archived from the original on 9 February 2012. Retrieved 31 May 2013.
  9. ^ "Profit Distributing Members". European Underwater Federation. Retrieved 31 May 2013.
  10. ^ "EUF Certified Training Systems/Training Organisations". EUF Certification International. Retrieved 30 September 2013.
  11. ^ a b c d e f "SSI Training Standards". Scuba Schools International. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  12. ^ "Get certified". SSI. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  13. ^ "Open Water Diver". PADI. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  14. ^ a b c "Continue your diving education". Scuba Schools International. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  15. ^ "Diver Stress & Rescue". Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  16. ^ Staff. "SSI Specialty Course: Altitude Diving". Scuba Schools International. Retrieved 1 November 2016.
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Staff. "Specialty programs". Scuba Schools International. Retrieved 1 November 2016.
  18. ^ Krzywicki, Christian. "Freediving Program". SSI. Retrieved 2016-12-29.