National Certificate in Diving | Foundation

Train from beginner to PADI Rescue Diver and set yourself up for an exciting career in the dive industry. This programme allows you to train either Full-Time or Part-Time and continue on to Divemaster Training or move into other diving areas.

Enrolling now for our Part-Time Programe starting March 18th! | APPLY NOW


seaweed-Top found


GoPRO col

Exit Dive Qualification:
PADI Rescue Diver


  • 10 Months Part-Time or
  • 12 Weeks Full-Time

Entry Requirements:

  • No experience required!
  • 16 Years of Age
  • RSTC Medical


Request a FREE Prospectus

Dates and Times

Dates and Times

How to Apply

National Certificate in Diving | Foundation


  • Programme includes


    NZQA Approved

    Approved programme for Student Loans and Allowances


    Worldwide Certification

    The world’s largest scuba diving training agency


    Expert Tuition

    Study at NZ’s Premier diver training facility. We are a PADI 5 STAR Instructor Development Centre.


    Online and Summer School Options available

    Spend more time in the water by learning online or spend your summer improving your dive skills


    Boat Training

    We have a dedicated dive boat that you will dive from during your studies


    Equipment Packages

    We put together equipment packages with special prices just for our students


    Indoor Heated Pool

    Unlimited use of our indoor heated pool once certified during your studies


    40 Training Dives

    Log a minimum of 40 dives throughout your programme



    Transport to and from dive sites and any off site training locations is provided 

  •  General Information


    The National Certificate in Diving Foundation is an awesome way to learn to dive, gain confidence as a recreational diver and develop skills to assist other divers. This qualification can be an entry point for people working in the dive industry. 

    There are three main parts to this programme. First you will learn to scuba dive by completing the PADI Open Water Diver Certification. Next you will undertake adventure based dives such as deep, boat, night, navigation and wreck as part of the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver Certification. Finally you will learn how to deal with a number of surface and underwater situations as you complete the PADI Rescue Diver Certification.

    The programme meets the requirements of the Worksafe New Zealand's Limited Certificate of Competence, which allows entry into dive sectors such as aquaculture, film and photographic. They also allow entry to further training in the underwater construction, scientific, recreational instruction and dive tourism sectors of the industry. It is also the prerequisite qualification for the National Certificate in Diving - Leadership where you will gain your PADI Divemaster qualification - the first professional level certification in the PADI System.

  • Schedule

    PADI Open Water Diver
    You learn the skills to dive safely. On successful completion you will be certified to dive to a maximum depth of 18m anywhere in the world with a buddy independent of an instructor.

    PADI Advanced Open Water Diver
    You will complete at least 5 adventure dives and gain experience in many different types of diving like deep, boat, night, search and recovery, underwater naturalist and wreck.  On completion you will be certified to dive to a maximum depth of 40m.

    Basic First Aid
    Learn how to provide basic first aid for life threatening conditions. Learn common first aid conditions and how to respond to them.

    PADI Rescue Diver
    Learn to deal with everything from a minor cramp in your leg to responding to an unconscious, non-breathing diver underwater.

    Dates and Times

  • Career Opportunities

    The dive industry is growing all over the world. Since 1996 PADI has seen a 66% increase in diver certifications and around 100 new dive stores open every year. What this means is the industry is constantly trying to keep up with demand for well trained, qualified staff.

    Dive Retail

    Working in a dive shop is rewarding, varied and will allow you to share your passion with customers and other staff. The majority of customers are also divers or potential divers, so having an in-depth knowledge of diving and dive courses will enable you to professionally assist them in selecting their equipment and arranging training. The National Certificate in Diving (Foundation) will provide you with the skills and experience required to get your foot into the door of this inspiring industry.

    Further Training

    This National Certificate in Diving (Foundation) will also enable you to complete further training in a diverse range of industry areas such as those listed below. All of these professions require a good level of diving skill and knowledge and after this programme you will have the confidence and training to embark on a variety of exciting careers.


    A Divemaster’s primary function in a dive centre is to assist an instructor in dive training, guide certified divers and assist with general dive centre logistics. Divemasters need to be upbeat, positive, approachable and most of all ensure everyone is safe and having fun. The Foundation programme is specifically designed as the pre-requisite qualification for the National Certificate in Diving (Leadership) where you will gain your PADI Divemaster qualification. This programme is also delivered either part-time or full-time.

    Commercial Diving

    Commercial divers are needed all over the world. With the ever increasing demands of the gas and oil industry, as well as local infrastructure projects, commecial divers command good wages in an extremely challenging and diverse working environment. A commercial diver needs to understand things such as surface supplied diving, physics, decompression, underwater tools, anatomy and dive medicine. Further training beyond recreational certifications is required to become a commecial diver. However, as some of our past students have said, the National Certificate in Diving (Foundation) will give you invaluable skills before you commence commercial training.

    Marine Science / Research Diver

    The importance of understanding the marine environment is becoming more evident every day. Oceans make up about 75% of the earth’s surface so marine science is critical to understanding how the sea impacts the environment and our daily lives. As more and more people become passionate about ways to conserve and manage the world’s marine resources, qualified marine scientists and research divers are becoming more sought after.

    Hydrographic Surveying

    This is the science of measurement and description of features which affect maritime navigation, marine construction, dredging, offshore oil exploration/drilling and related activities. Emphasis is placed on soundings, shorelines, tides, currents, sea floor and submerged obstructions that relate to the previously mentioned activities. Having quality dive experience and good skills are essential to anyone in this industry.

    Career Pathways

  • Testimonials

    Dimitry Sharomov | Underwater Photographer | Mike Horn Expeditions | Graduated 2010 

     "Since leaving New Zealand on the sailing boat Pangaea, I started working as a photographer for Pangaea Project with Mike Horn. Every year we make amazing expeditions to different corners of the planet. Not long ago I came back from an expedition to the Gobi desert. Now we are preparing the next expedition to Kamchatka - land of volcanoes, geysers, hot springs and brown bears! I am going there next Monday for one month! My life is very exciting :-)

    We did many dives during our ocean adventures. The most spectacular dives we did was on the Andaman Islands (Indian Ocean) and Marians Islands on the way to Japan. Many thanks to the Dive Otago team for teaching me how to dive!"


    "Every year we make amazing expeditions to the different corners of our planet."

     Read More

Next Intake

Start Now! Train to Rescue diver over the next 36 weeks. Start with online theory and then join in with a Flexi-Timetable. Apply Now 

No events found  

More Resourses


  • Study-Dunedin

    Study in the Student Capital of New Zealand!

    This city is set up for students. With a large proportion of the population under 25, Dunedin offers everything a student needs and its natural features include everything an adventurous student wants...

    - Cheap rent
    - Easy to get around
    - Great nightlife
    - Some of the best surf in New Zealand
    - Close to NZ's best ski fields

    Read More

  • pages 0000s 0000s 0002 Map icons-02 copy 2

    Dunedin dive sites offer a huge variety for all experience levels

    Explore our interactive map of the area, download info sheets and advice about diving in and around Otago. Explore our interactive map of the area, download info sheets and advice about diving in and around Otago.

    Explore Now

  • Graduate-Stories

    Chris Garroway - Dive Instructor

    "I've dived with Manta Rays nearly every day for the past 2 and a half years. In over 1200 dives I've seen Tiger Sharks, Hammerheads, hundreds of turtles and many other amazing marine creatures. Last year I dived the President Coolidge in Vanuatu, getting down to 60m in the process. All this was made possible by the dedicated crew at Dive Otago who opened the door to our underwater world, and a life less ordinary. Thank you so much."

    Read More

  • Compare-Courses

    Compare our Courses

    Choosing the right course is an important concideration. Please think carefully about where you want to go with your diving career and the best path to get you there.

    Have a good think about:

    - What career goals do you have?
    - What is your availability?
    - What skills are important for you to learn?
    - What is your current experience level?

    Read More

  • pages 0000s 0000s 0017 20130319 DiveOtago 0033

    About Dive Otago

    Dive Otago is a Dive Centre in Dunedin, New Zealand. Find out more about what we do and who we are.

    In 2013 Dive Otago became New Zealand's first and only PADI 5 STAR Career Development Centre.

    In 2012 Dive Otago was the recipient of an award from PADI in Recognition of Outstanding Contribution to Instructor Development.

    In 2012 Dive Otago Owner and Course Director Dave Watson received an award in Recognition of Outstanding Contribution to the Diving Industry.

    Learn More

Dive Otago is an audited and approved sub-contractor of Academy of Diving Trust