Leadership Programs

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Becoming a Lifeguard

Swimmers can achieve lifeguard certification through the Red Cross Leadership and Lifesaving Society programs. Courses are available for those interested in teaching swimming, becoming a lifeguard or improving their safety skills.

Benefits of Aquatics Leadership Courses

  • Teamwork, problem-solving, and time management skills
  • Physical fitness
  • Communication and public relations skills
  • Improved self-confidence
  • Sense of accomplishment and pride
  • Rewarding part-time job for students with good wages
  • Applicable work experience for those wishing to apply to Teacher's College

Leadership Program Descriptions

To view the steps of becoming a swimming instructor or lifeguard, please visit our Leadership Hierarchy Tree. Effective April 2016 the New Red Cross Water Safety Instructor Program will be introduced.  This program replaces the old Assistant Water Safety Instructor Program. For additional information please visit our New Red Cross Instructor Program Commonly Asked Questions.  

Canadian Swim Patrol

Recommended Prerequisites: Swim Kids 10, 8-12 years old. This Lifesaving Society course is an excellent introduction to the Bronze levels. Participants ages 8 - 12 learn a variety of problem solving, decision making and lifesaving skills. Participants earn Rookie, Ranger or Star Patrol awards which are broken down into swimming skills, first aid skills and rescue skills.

Bronze Star

Recommended Prerequisites:  Canadian Swim Patrol, 10-12 years old. The Bronze Star program is an excellent introduction to Bronze Medallion. There is an emphasis on fitness and rescue skills in order to prepare the candidate for further leadership courses. Participants also learn CPR, develop water-smart confidence and the lifesaving skills to become their own personal lifeguard.

Bronze Medallion and Emergency First Aid

Prerequisites:  13 years old or Bronze Star. Bronze Medallion & Emergency First Aid & CPR are Lifesaving Society certifications that begin to prepare future lifeguards. Bronze Medallion focuses on fitness, strokes and rescue skills, while Emergency First Aid & CPR focuses on the first aid skills, such as rescue breathing, CPR and choking. Participants begin to become proficient lifesavers. An examiner evaluates participant skills at the end of the course.

Bronze Cross

Prerequisites:  Bronze Medallion, Emergency First Aid & CPR, 14 years old. Skills learned in Bronze Medallion are strengthened in Bronze Cross and new skills are introduced. Candidates are introduced to spinal injury management techniques and more complicated rescues. Fitness and resuscitation skills are a priority. An examiner evaluates participants skills at the end of the course.

New Red Cross Water Safety Instructors

Prerequisites: 15 years old, Bronze Cross & Emergency First Aid & CPR B. Candidates explore the Red Cross Swimming programs in great detail through the completion of 4 components: Skills Assessment, Online Component, Volunteer Teaching Component, Classroom and Pool Component. Specific teaching strategies and techniques are discussed and applied for various age groups. Lesson planning, teaching abilities and evaluating skills and strokes are a major focus. Upon successful completion of this course, candidates are certified to teach the Red Cross Learn to Swim Program.

National Lifeguard Service and Standard First Aid

Prerequisites: Bronze Cross, 16 years old. The National Lifeguard Service (NLS) award is recognized as the national standard for lifeguard training. NLS participants learn techniques specifically suited to more difficult and complicated First Aid and aquatic emergencies. They focus on working as a team in emergency situations. Accident prevention, rescues, and public relations are the areas of concentration. Candidates learn to improve communication and teamwork skills. An examiner evaluates participant skills at the end of the course. Upon successful completion of this course, candidates are legally qualified to lifeguard across Canada. 

Lifesaving Society Instructors

Prerequisites: 16 years old, Bronze Cross or NLS.The Lifesaving Instructor Course prepares individuals to organize, plan, teach and evaluate lifesaving, first aid and resuscitation skills. This course places an emphasis on water safety and leadership skills. Upon successful completion of this course candidates will earn two certifications: Lifesaving Society Instructor and Emergency First Aid Instructor.