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Have fun while making a difference.

Certification as a lifeguard or swim instructor can lead to a rewarding, fun job where you’ll develop leadership skills that will set you up for the future.

Three lifeguards standing on a pool deck smiling at one another. They are all wearing red lifeguard tanks and and have life saving devices slung over their shoulders.

Get Started with Courses

Kick off your career path by becoming a lifeguard and registering for our Lifeguard Certifications — starting with Bronze Medallion. You will learn to lead and develop lifesaving skills. Keep scrolling to view course path and descriptions, or:

Register for courses

Two male lifeguards standing on a pool deck. One in a red lifeguard tank has his arm around the other in a black YMCA rashguard. They are both smiling at the camera.

Earn Highschool Credits

Certifications count as part of the "External Credit Program" towards graduation. Your school counsellor will help process.

  • Bronze Cross = 2 Grade 11 credits
  • Lifesaving Instructor + Bronze Cross = 3 Grade 11 credits
  • National Lifeguard Pool option = 2 Grade 12 credits

Path to Becoming a Lifeguard

Start with Bronze Medallion, move to Bronze Cross, then Standard First Aid or Aquatic Emergency Care. From there you can become a swim instructor and become a YMCA Swim Instructor, or you can become a lifeguard by taking your National Lifeguard Pool Options or Waterpark Option.
Course Descriptions

Learn the four components of water rescues — judgment, knowledge, skill, and fitness.

Students learn self-rescue techniques; defense and release methods; and tows and carries, in preparation for challenging rescues involving conscious and unconscious victims, including spinal injuries and circulatory emergencies. Lifesavers develop stroke efficiency and endurance in a timed swim (400m in 12 min.)

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

Program Requirements
  • 13+ years of age or completion of Bronze Star
  • The Canadian Lifesaving Manual

Bronze Cross is designed for lifesavers who want the challenge of more advanced training, including an introduction to safety supervision. 

The Lifesaving Society’s Bronze Cross begins the transition from lifesaving to lifeguarding and prepares candidates for responsibilities as Assistant Lifeguards. Candidates strengthen and expand their lifesaving skills and begin to apply the principles and techniques of active surveillance in aquatic facilities. Bronze Cross emphasizes the importance of teamwork and communication in preventing and responding to aquatic emergencies. Lifesavers develop stroke efficiency and endurance in a timed swim (400m in 11 min.)

Please bring prerequisites and Canadian Lifesaving Manual to the first day of the course.

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

Program Requirements
  • Completion of Bronze Medallion

This is a comprehensive course covering all aspects of first aid and CPR. Whether you need training for employment or simply want to be prepared to respond to life-threatening emergencies, this course will give you the skills and knowledge to act with confidence.

Taught by a certified Lifesaving Society First Aid Instructor, using practical activities and hands-on training, you will learn to recognize and treat injuries including head & spinal, soft tissue, facial, abdominal & chest, burns, bone & joint, and other common medical emergencies.

Canadian First Aid Manual is required.

This course is equivalent to the WorkSafeBC Occupational First Aid Level 1.

National Lifeguard training develops the basic lifeguarding skills needed to adapt to different aquatic facilities and situations. Get trained in injury prevention, public education, safety, supervision, team work, rescue, and First Aid.

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

Program Requirements 
  • 15+ years of age
  • Bronze Cross
  • Standard First Aid-must be from 1 of 5 recognized agencies below and need not be current
    • The Lifesaving Society
    • The Canadian Red Cross
    • St. John Ambulance
    • Heart and Stroke Foundation
  • Candidates must bring awards and proof of age to the first class
  • Airway Management and Oxygen Administration
  • Alert Manual and Lifeguard Fanny Pack

The NL Waterpark certification is designed to develop the lifeguarding skills, principles and practices, and the decision-making processes which will assist the lifeguard to provide effective safety supervision in waterpark environments. It builds on the fundamental values, judgment, knowledge, skills, and fitness developed in the NL Pool certification.

In order to be a lifeguard at H2O, you must be current in this award.

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

Program Requirements
  • 15+ years of age
  • CPR-C (currency strongly recommended)
  • Completion of NL Pool Option (within 2 years)
  • Please bring Alert Manual

Share your love of swimming with others by learning to deliver the YMCA value-based swimming program. 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.

On top of learning teaching techniques for swimming skills, strokes and progressions, you’ll also learn how to plan a lesson, create a positive environment, utilize effective communication, and foster healthy child development. To put it all into practice, you'll work alongside a certified YMCA Swim Instructor to teach children during a swim lesson.

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

Program Requirements
  • 16+ years of age
  • Completion of Bronze Cross or NL
  • Must have current Standard First Aid, with CPR-C (within 1 year)

Candidates are trained in aspects of learning as well as various approaches required to teach water rescue, first aid, and related aquatic skills. Candidates also learn about long-range/short-term planning, class management, safety supervision, and the principles of evaluation.

  • 16+ years of age
  • Bronze Cross
We're Hiring!

Finished your certifications and looking for work? The YMCA is always ready to welcome passionate people to help ensure our community is water-safe.