Become a Swim Instructor

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Water Safety Instructor (WSI) Development Program

Our Water Safety Instructor Development Program is certified by the Red Cross. Courses run throughout the year, so you can register anytime. See the current issue of the City Guide to view upcoming courses.

The WSI program is designed to provide you with the knowledge and skills to teach swimming & water safety while promoting safe attitudes in, on & around the water. The program consists of 4 components, all of which must be finished for successful completion of the WSI certification.

Before you sign up: You must be 15 years of age at start of the course and you must have your Standard First Aid or Assistant Lifeguard certification.

100% attendance & participation of all WSI course components is required.


PART 1: Skills Assessment

The initial skills assessment can be completed before, during or after you're finished the online modules (part 2), but must be completed before you can start the classroom portion.

You will be evaluated on:

  • Water safety skills & strokes (based on Red Cross Swim Kids 10 performance criteria)
  • Instructor Emergency Response (IER) skills to ensure the WSI candidate can identify & demonstrate how to prevent & manage any emergency situation that may arise in the instructional setting

If you'd like to brush up on your skills & strokes before the skills evaluation, we offer WSI Stroke Improvement classes. See the City Guide for details.

PART 2: Online Professional Development Modules

This 14 - 20 hour online component focuses on instruction theory. Your knowledge is tested through videos, virtual games, workbook & online activities, and a self-evaluation at the end of each module. You can complete the learning at your own pace, but you must have finished the modules before you start the the teaching experience & classroom portions of the program.

PART 3: Teaching Experience

Once the first two steps are completed, you'll put in at least 8 hours of assistant teaching. This can be completed at a facility of your choice; please note it's your responsibility to make arrangements.

You will need:

  • At least 4 hours teaching with Red Cross Preschool classes
  • At least 4 hours teaching with Red Cross Swim Kids classes

PART 4: Classroom & Pool Component

This 25 hour portion of the course further develops instructional techniques by focusing on your ability to plan & teach the Red Cross Program successfully.