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Open the door to employment and volunteer possibilities.

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.

smiling lifeguard with hands on hips by H2O waterpark

Lifeguard Development Program

If you're between the ages of 16–30, you could start working as a lifeguard and swim instructor through free training and certification. Paid work experience is included and those who complete the program will receive a $300 bonus.

Learn more about the Lifeguard Development Program
Course Descriptions
Bronze Medallion

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

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
Standard First Aid, CPR-C and AED Public Access

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 Award (Pool)

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
National Lifeguard (Waterpark)

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
YMCA Swim Instructor

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)
Lifesaving Instructor

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

High School Credits

British Columbia students can use Bronze Cross, Lifesaving Instructor, and NL certifications for credit toward high school graduation.

  • Bronze Cross is worth 2 credits for Grade 11
  • Lifesaving Instructor + Bronze Cross are worth 3 credits for Grade 11
  • National Lifeguard Pool option (NL) is worth 2 credits for Grade 12
  • Students may only use these credits for the assigned grades (i.e. students cannot combine both certifications towards one grade)
  • The awards do not need to be current
  • If the student has already used Bronze Cross for 2 credits, then completes Lifesaving Instructor at a later date, they can replace the 2 credits from Bronze Cross with 3 credits for Lifesaving Instructor and Bronze Cross combined
  • Students are asked to inform their school counsellor in charge of curriculum that they wish to use these certifications as part of the “External Credit Program"
  • Students will be asked to provide proof of their certification
More information

For more information about high school credits, talk to your school counsellor or see the list of Organizations Offering External Credentials and the Ministry of Education’s Graduation Program information.

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.