Swim Instructor Certification

Earn your certification to teach American Red Cross swimming and water safety, and gain the skills needed to teach courses and make presentations to swimmers of every age and ability. Through our Aquatic Instructor Training program, you can help recreational swimmers meet their goals, refine their skills and stay safe in, on, and around water. Choose the training that best meets your needs:

  • The Basic Swim Instructor (BSI) course trains instructor candidates to teach the fundamental Learn-to-swim courses including Parent and Child Aquatics, Preschool Aquatics, Learn-to-Swim Levels 1-3 and private swimming lessons (for the courses listed). BSI candidates are not required to perform advanced swimming strokes and skills such as butterfly, backstroke and diving.
  • The Water Safety Instructor (WSI) course trains instructor candidates to teach all of the courses presented in the Swimming and Water Safety program to all age groups; all of the courses listed above, plus Learn-to-Swim Levels 4-6 and Adult Swim. This certification is the gold standard and provides the most comprehensive training for swim instructors.

What You'll Learn

During our swim instructor certification training courses you'll learn how to help individuals enjoy their time in the water safely – and in a wide range of ways. Throughout the courses we'll focus on a number of key areas that can help you succeed as aquatics instructor, such as:

  • Water safety at public pools, homes, natural bodies of water and more, including the Circle of Drowning Prevention and Chain of Drowning Survival.
  • Hydrodynamics, including why some things float, resistance to movement and creating movement in water, swimming efficiency and laws of levers.
  • Basic safety, survival and swimming skills to help children gain water competency.
  • Helping people with disabilities and other health conditions enjoy the water safely.

Water Safety Instructors will also learn how to teach:

  • Higher-level swim skills that help prepare people of all ages for any aquatic activity.
  • Stroke mechanics for all competitive strokes as well as starts, turns and headfirst entries.
  • Water safety certification courses, including Safety Training for Swim Coaches and Basic Water Rescue.
  • Fundamentals of diving from a diving board.
  • Aquatic fitness and training for people of any age.

Note: In order to participate in Basic Swim Instructor and Water Safety Instructor certification classes, participants must be at least 16 years of age by the end of the course.


Red Cross certification of completion on a tablet

Certification Made Simple. Fast. Easy. Digital.

Upon successful completion of your aquatics training classes, you'll receive a 2-year certification delivered via Red Cross Digital Certificates. This gives you anytime, anywhere access to your certificates, as well as the option to view, print, share, and download them wherever and whenever you like simply by accessing your Red Cross Account. Each certificate includes a unique ID and a QR code which meets employment requirements and allows employers to easily confirm your certificate is valid. Class participants and employers can visit redcross.org/confirm and enter the ID found on the digital certificate (or scan the QR code with a standard QR reader using a smart device) to access a copy of the valid certificate with student training information.

Click here for instructions on accessing your water safety certification information, as well as all of your Red Cross certificates.