Girl in lifeguarding course

Open the door to employment and volunteer possibilities through our YMCA Aquatic Certifications programs.

Certification as a lifeguard or swimming instructor can lead to employment opportunities at the YMCA and elsewhere. You'll also develop leadership skills that can have a profound impact on your future success.

Explore the certification programs that can be found at many local YMCAs. Programs vary by location and may not be available in all areas.

YMCA Swim Instructor

Share your love of swimming with others! As a leader in the pool, you can play an essential role in helping others learn to swim and improve their health in many ways.

You will learn a variety of teaching techniques, lesson planning, progressions, and more. To put it all into practice, you'll also work alongside a certified YMCA Swim Instructor to teach children during a swim lesson.

To take this course, you must be 16 years or older, hold a current National Lifeguard (NL) or Bronze Cross certification, current Standard First Aid, and you must be able to swim strokes at the YMCA Intermediate stroke standard or equivalent.

After completing this course, you will be qualified to work as a YMCA Swim Instructor and teach swimming lessons at the YMCA.

YMCA Assistant Swim Instructor

You can begin to develop your aquatic teaching skills by becoming a YMCA Assistant Swim Instructor! This course is an introduction to teaching swimming lessons at the YMCA. The course includes a minimum of 10 hours of hands-on experience working beside a certified YMCA Swim Instructor.

To take this course, you must be 13 years or older, hold a current Star 7 or Bronze Star certification (or equivalent), and be able to swim strokes at YMCA Intermediate stroke standard.

After completing this course, you will be qualified to volunteer as a YMCA Assistant Swim Instructor during swimming lessons and help children learn to love the water. It's a great way to practice your skills towards becoming a certified YMCA Swim Instructor!

Bronze Star

You can continue to build your aquatic safety skills in Bronze Star, an advanced lifesaving course designed to prepare candidates for the next level of certification, Bronze Medallion. In Bronze Star, we emphasize rescue drills, fitness skills, and victim recognition. You will also learn CPR during this level.

This course is ideal for those who have completed all levels of swimming lessons and who wish to continue to develop skills and prepare for lifeguarding and instruction. To take this course, we recommend you have experience in assisting with swimming lessons and with Swim Patrol.

Bronze Star is a Lifesaving Society (LS) certification offered through the YMCA.

Bronze Medallion

In Bronze Medallion we emphasize the lifesaving principles embodied in the four components of water-rescue education: judgement, knowledge, skill, and fitness. Rescuers learn tows and carries as well as defence methods and releases, preparing themselves for challenging rescues of increased risk involving conscious and unconscious victims of various types.

To take this course, you must be 13 years or older, or have completed Bronze Star.

Bronze Medallion is a Lifesaving Society (LS) certification offered through the YMCA.

Bronze Cross

We offer Bronze Cross classes for lifesavers who want the challenge of more advanced training, including an introduction to safe supervision in aquatic facilities. In this class we focus on the principles of teamwork, procedures, and the use of special equipment.

To take this course, you must have completed Bronze Medallion AND Emergency or Standard First Aid.

Bronze Cross is a Lifesaving Society (LS) certification offered through the YMCA. It is a prerequisite for all LS advanced training programs, including National Lifeguard and Instructor certifications (YMCA, LIfesaving Society and Red Cross).

National Lifeguard (NL)

Learn how to fulfill your role as a professional facilitator of safe, enjoyable aquatics for everyone! The National Lifeguard (NL) course emphasizes teamwork, leadership, and communication in the prevention of accidents and in first aid treatment of medical emergencies.

To take this course you must be 16 years or older AND have completed Bronze Cross and Standard First Aid.

National Lifeguard is a Lifesaving Society (LS) certification offered through the YMCA. National Lifeguard is the only nationally recognized lifeguard certification in Canada.