DAN Internship Program
DAN is committed to encouraging young minds interested in dive medicine, research and safety to pursue their interests through the DAN Internship Program. Participants will have the opportunity to learn, develop and enhance professional skills that can lead directly to career advancement.
The DAN Internship Program was created more than 20 years ago to give qualified candidates valuable experiences in dive safety research. Today — over 100 interns later — the program continues to help young people develop the knowledge and skills they need to pursue careers in diving-related and scientific fields.
During the three-month internship, interns are given opportunities to learn, develop and enhance their professional skills all while promoting dive safety and furthering DAN’s efforts to help divers in need of emergency medical assistance. In some cases, this experience leads directly to career opportunities. All DAN interns will work alongside a mentor at DAN Headquarters in Durham, North Carolina.
- Gain a deeper understanding of diving physiology and current diving research worldwide
- Learn to prepare, plan, conduct and communicate scientific experiments
- Learn data acquisition and research techniques
- Engage with divers while collecting data in the field, and communicate DAN Research endeavors to the dive community at large
DAN Medical Services
- Assist DAN Medics in operating the DAN Medical Information Line and the DAN Emergency Hotline, the world’s largest and most respected dive medical call center
- Learn how DAN coordinates emergency evacuations, helps divers find treatment and assists nondiving physicians in managing diving emergencies
- Participate in epidemiological research initiatives with the Research department
DAN Risk Mitigation
- Become familiar with DAN’s risk mitigation and dive safety resources and initiatives
- Learn to provide technical safety guidance to divers and dive professionals
- Participate in continuing education courses
- Become familiar with pressure vessels such as hyperbaric chambers and scuba cylinders through training materials, seminars, and field trips
- Participate in DAN’s Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (HIRA) program and Recompression Chamber Assistance Program (RCAP) by assisting in field assessments of dive operations, hyperbaric chambers and other related facilities to understand the roles of chamber safety authorities and DAN dive safety advisors
All DAN internships may include the following experiences:
- Work with multiple departments to gain an in-depth understanding of DAN’s mission
- Collaboration and engagement with other DAN Interns and Our World Underwater Scholars
- First aid training
- Scientific writing opportunities as well as authorship of blog posts, Alert Diver magazine articles and more
- Dive training opportunities
- DAN Research Volunteer Program
- DAN Early Stage Researcher Development Program
- Field research events
- Touring the hyperbaric chamber at Duke University Medical Center
- Visiting collaborators in the Dayton Laboratory at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- A visit to the Luxfer Gas Cylinders manufacturing plant and being trained as a PSI/PCI visual cylinder inspector
- Opportunities to volunteer as participants for research studies at Duke University
- Learning more about the science of diving from leading experts in dive safety and dive medicine
DAN Research Volunteer Training Program
A 48-hour course for “Early-Stage Researchers” to learn the scientific techniques and methodology they will need to pursue a career in diving science. Classroom portions and fieldwork encompass the following topics:
- Diving theory—Physics, technical understanding of equipment, basics of hyperbaric treatment, diving physiology and medicine
- Diving science—Overview of current diving research worldwide
- DAN’s role in the diving science world
- Field experiment planning
- Human specimen collection (blood, urine, saliva)
- Research techniques (blood pressure measurements, EKG measurement, hydration assessment, body fat calculations)
- Echocardiography training
- Introduction to bubble counting
- First aid and oxygen administration training
- Open Water Application
DAN “Early-Stage Researcher” Development Program
This 12-week program (six hours per week) is led by DAN’s Research Department staff and collaborators. The following skill workshops are included:
- Oral presentation skills for public and scientific audiences
- Poster presentation for scientific conferences
- Peer reviewed publishing
- Literature searches and management
- Scientific writing
- Career development
- Productivity and time management
- Project management
- Research methodology: Study design
- Research methodology: Statistics
- Diving Science Journal Club
An educational background or major in the sciences is preferred. Ideal candidates must be organized, demonstrate excellent communication skills, clearly exhibit how participation in this program will help them achieve their career goals and demonstrate an established commitment to diving. While diving is not required during the internship, all activities are diving focused, and as such, candidates should be certified scuba divers with some experience.
Divers Alert Network
6 West Colony Place
Durham, NC 27705 USA
+ Approximately 12 weeks
+ Typically runs from late May through August, but there is flexibility
+ Extensions are possible based on productivity, DAN’s needs and the interests of the intern and mentor
+ Full Time: Monday–Friday, usually
8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
+ Occasional weekend obligations
This is an unpaid internship. However, interns will be reimbursed for room, board and some other costs. To receive reimbursement, interns must submit a weekly expense log to the internship administrator.
How to Apply
- Cover Letter (maximum two pages) detailing your personal and diving background, academic or research-related interests, career aspirations and the ways this internship will promote your personal and professional growth
- Completed Application Form
- Professional/Academic Resume
- Diving Resume
- Include number of dives, environmental and depth range, specialties/certifications
- Two Letters of Recommendation
- Academic and professional references are both acceptable
The application deadline is January 15 of the application year.
Q. What is the schedule for a typical internship season?
Internships typically begin after Memorial Day weekend in May and conclude 12 weeks later. However, this schedule can be flexible; DAN is willing to accommodate selected candidates’ needs on a case-by-case basis.
DAN interns work eight hours a day, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, but are expected to attend a few mandatory after-work and weekend events, such as public lectures and trips into the field.
Q. I am not a certified diver. Can I still apply for the internship?
No. Interns must hold at least an open water certification because they will be interacting with divers and soliciting volunteers for research projects on dive safety. Candidates with a rescue diver certification or higher are preferred.
Q. If I am accepted, can I choose the mentor I would like to work with?
In the interest of fairness to all candidates, the matching process will be at the discretion of the internship committee.
Interns are matched with a mentor based on their abilities and qualifications, diving knowledge, diving experience and previous exposure to the diving industry (as an employee, instructor, volunteer, etc.). Additional skills of the intern such as languages and/or specialized certifications are also taken into consideration when matching interns with mentors.
Q. Will I be considered an employee of Divers Alert Network during the internship?
No. DAN interns are considered volunteers. Although interns are given a stipend to cover living expenses, they are not employees.
Q. I am not a college or medical student. Can I still apply?
Applicants pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees, including medical degrees, and applicants who have recently graduated (within the last year) from an accredited university are preferred. Applicants pursuing nontraditional educational paths must have a scientific or medical background or have other relevant/comparable working experience. Eligibility inquiries with regard to other career paths may be directed to .
Q. Does DAN provide the interns any training?
Yes. DAN provides interns with a host of training opportunities, including a weeklong seminar in diving physiology and research methodology known as the Research Volunteer Training Program, which is held at the beginning of the internship. During this program, interns are trained to plan field experiments, collect human samples (blood, urine, saliva), take blood pressure, conduct EKGs, assess hydration, determine body fat percentage, conduct echocardiograms and count venous gas bubbles. Interns will use this training and other individualized training from their mentors to accomplish tasks related to their projects.
DAN also offers a series of lectures, seminars and workshops that provide participants with a set of skills that young scientists will benefit from during their career. These include but are not limited to scientific writing, use of literature databases, presentation of scientific findings to various audiences, and time-, project- and self-management.
Interns also complete a Diver First Aid for Professional Divers course (DFA Pro), offered by DAN’s training department and learn dive theory and diving science as well as about DAN’s role as an organization.
Q. How many interns are selected each year?
The number of interns selected each year depends on mentor matches, project activity and program funding.
Q. How is the DAN Internship program funded?
Funding for the DAN Internship Program comes from donors and supporting dive businesses through the DAN General Fund.