Aquatic Certifications

Become a lifeguard at the University of Calgary

Swimmers can start down the path to becoming a lifeguard as early as age 12. Youth with a Swim Kids Level 10 or equivalent qualify for the Assistant Lifeguard course. They must complete this course, as well as an observation assignment.

Next, complete a course in Standard First Aid and CPR-C, which is also available at UCalgary through Active Living.

When the assistant lifeguard youth turns 15, they are eligible to take the Red Cross Lifeguard Course and complete another observation assignment to become a fully certified lifeguard. 

Water Safety Instructor is another valuable aquatic certification. Swimmers age 15 and older can complete the four-step course (Skill evaluation, online component, teaching experience, classroom/pool) to prepare to work as a Red Cross swimming instructor. 

UCalgary lifeguard gives thumbs up under water

Aquatic Certifications


Red Cross Assistant Lifeguard Course (12 years+)

Red Cross Lifeguard is a two-step certification program designed to provide candidates with the knowledge and skills to become effective lifeguards. This Assistant Lifeguard course is the first step, and is the pre-requisite to the Red Cross Lifeguard course. Candidates will learn injury prevention, teamwork, basic rescues, and lifeguarding skills. Must have Swim Kids Level 10 or equivalent swimming ability.

Learn more about Red Cross Assistant Lifeguard Course

Red Cross Lifeguard Course (15 years+)

This course will certify lifeguards with the Red Cross Lifeguard program. The course prepares deck-ready lifeguards to respond to lifeguard emergencies, create a safe environment, work in teams, and handle public relations in a professional manner. This course emphasizes hands-on practice and scenarios.

Learn more about Red Cross Lifeguard Course

Red Cross Lifeguard Transfer

Already certified as an American Red Cross Lifeguard or Lifesaving Society's National Lifeguard? This program is a modified version of the standard Canadian Red Cross lifeguard course, designed to help you transfer the skills you already have.

Learn more about Red Cross Lifeguard Transfer

Red Cross Lifeguard Recertification

In this course, certified Red Cross Lifeguards will get the chance to renew and refresh their skills. Challenge your current abilities while reviewing your existing knowledge base.

Learn more about Red Cross Lifeguard Recertification

National Lifeguard Recertification (NLR)

Part of the Lifesaving Society Lifeguarding Program. Recertification of your National Lifeguard (NL) certification is based on the ability to meet ALL performance criteria laid out by the Lifesaving Society. Candidates are encouraged to practice skills and review knowledge to prepare for the recertification course. Ongoing training and maintaining an appropriate level of fitness is important to being able to lifeguard effectively.

Check online for most up-to-date offerings of National Lifeguard Recertification

Water Safety Instructor (WSI) (15 years+)

The Water Safety Instructor (WSI) course prepares you to instruct Red Cross Swim programs. You will focus on strategies to introduce and develop swimming and water safety skills in the Red Cross Swim Preschool, Red Cross Swim Kids, Red Cross Swim @ School, Red Cross Swim @ Camp, Red Cross Swim for Adults & Teens, and Red Cross Swim Adapted programs. Our program is broken into 4 separate steps which allow you to work through the program with more ease.

Learn more about the steps to become a Water Safety Instructor

Water Safety Instructor Transfer

This course is designed to enable current Swimming Instructors certified through other aquatic agencies to demonstrate equivalent knowledge and skills as a method to obtain a Red Cross Water Safety Instructor certification.

Check dates and review the prerequisites for Water Safety Instructor Transfer

Water Safety Instructor Recertification (WSIR)

The Water Safety Instructor Recertification course is designed to ensure quality and standards are maintained in the field. Recertification provides the opportunity for WSIs to share ideas, review skills and address areas of challenge. 

Prerequisites: You must have taken a WSI course since 1996 and have proof of certification.

Learn more about Water Safety Instructor Recertification


Lifeguard class swimming drill
Practice with lifeguard floatation device

How to become a Red Cross Lifeguard

How to become a Lifeguard

How to become a Red Cross Swim Instructor

How to become a Swim Instructor
UCalgary swim instructor