How to Become a Lifeguard & Swim Instructor

National Lifeguard Certifications at the UBC Aquatic Centre

Lifeguarding is a rewarding job that you can work towards here at UBC! Learn how to assess and respond to emergency situations, how to mitigate accidents, and most importantly, how to save lives. We offer all of these certifications at the UBC Aquatic Centre and also hire many Lifeguard and Swim Instructors each term! In order to be a lifeguard in Canada you need to complete a series of certifications.

To Become a Lifeguard in Canada you Need:

Certifications to becomea lifeguard in Canada

Step 1: Bronze Medallion

Learn rescue skills, fitness/stroke efficiency, timed swim, aquatic related emergencies and injuries, and CPR B level training. 100% attendance and participation mandatory. C.L. Manual is required for this course.

Prerequisites: LS Bronze Star and/or 13 years of age by last day of the course.

Step 2: Bronze Cross

This award offers a challenging and demanding program beyond the Bronze Medallion level, providing training in emergency procedures, timed swims, teamwork rescues, use of specialized equipment, spinal injury procedures and CPR C training. 100% attendance and participation mandatory.
Required text: CL Manual
Prerequisites: Bronze Medallion

*Currently not offered this term


Step 3: Standard First Aid

Covers airway, breathing and cardiovascular emergencies: bleeding; burns; soft tissue, musculoskeletal, head and spine injuries; heat and cold emergencies; poisoning; bandaging and splinting; medical conditions, e.g. diabetes, epileptic seizures; moving and transportation; and secondary survey. CPR-C and associated AED protocol included. SFA certification will be through the Lifesaving Society or Canadian Red Cross. Must get recertified every 2 years. Award will be issued through the Lifesaving Society or the Canadian Red Cross.

Prerequisites: Must be 12 years of age.


Step 4: National Lifeguard Course

The National Lifeguard award builds on the skills, knowledge and values taught in the Bronze Medallion/Cross courses. This course is designed to develop a sound understanding of understanding of lifeguard principles, good judgement and a mature and responsible attitude toward the role of a lifeguard.
Prerequisites: Bronze Cross (need not be current) SFA+CPRC or equivalent (need not be current) & 16 years old by the last day.


If you want to work at UBC, you will also need Step 5: Red Cross Water Safety Instructor

Develop competence in class management, teaching, evaluation, safety supervision, leadership, communication and administration. Allows candidate to 'experience, analyze and apply' competencies to instructing the Water Safety Program. 100% attendance and participation mandatory.

Prerequisites for Recertification: Current WSI award or expired WSI within 2 years.

Designed to support Water Safety Instructors in delivery of the new Red Cross Swim Programs (Preschool, Kids and Aqua Adults). In addition to the Canadian Red Cross Update, instructors receive further training in injury prevention, progressive learning and a professional development session.

Have all your certifications?

Apply to be a Lifeguard & Swim Instructor at the UBC Aquatic Centre! We're always looking for motivated and responsible candidates. To apply email us a copy of your resume and coverletter.

View a full list of certifications offered here.