Water Safety Instructor, Continuing Education Workforce Certificate

Water Safety Instructor certification prepares students for a professional career as an American Red Cross swimming and water safety instructor. Students learn appropriate methods of teaching water safety and basic swimming strokes including how to plan, conduct, and evaluate swimming and water safety courses.

This program features courses that will provide the skills to become an American Red Cross Certified Water Safety Instructor,  current CPR, Automated External Defibrillator (AED), and First Aid certifications.

Students entering this program should have a strong sense of self-discipline, assisting and caring for others, leadership skills, critical thinking skills, and crisis intervention.

Water Safety Instructor jobs can be found at several profit and non-profit organizations. Additional career information may be found in Career Coach: https://ccbcmd.emsicc.com/.

Program objectives

Upon successful completion of this Continuing Education Workforce Certificate, students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate  the qualities required of an American Red Cross representative and role model;
  2. demonstrate an understanding of the American Red Cross swimming and water safety materials;
  3. plan, conduct, and evaluate swimming and water safety courses;
  4. monitor participant's practice and provides corrective feedback and encouragement;
  5. demonstrate the ability to ensure the safety of participants;
  6. demonstrate the ability to customize courses to meet participants' needs;
  7. demonstrate the ability to maintain complete and accurate records;
  8. develop a strategy to keep knowledge and skills current, and demonstrate the required skill at an acceptable level of performance.

CCBC Pathway

Social Sciences Pathway (ccbcmd.edu)- Pathways are designed to help you meet your academic and career goals by aligning related courses and programs.  Pathway students participate in a variety of activities that help explore career opportunities in their field of study.  You can meet with a CCBC advisor who help align — or realign — your educational plan with the Pathway that best supports you and your goals.

Program Credentials

 CCBC Credential: Students will have access to a Continuing Education academic record (transcript).

External Credential: Successful completer will qualify for the American Red Cross Water Safety Instructor (WSI) certification (testing is done in class).

Certifying Organization: American Red Cross www.redcross.org

Financial Aid and Payment Options

We offer financial aid by packaging public and private funding options to those who qualify, in select Continuing Education courses and programs. Additional opportunities for financial support include partial payment options through Nelnet Business Solutions and tuition waivers for those who qualify. Resources outside of CCBC may also be available through employer/sponsor paid tuition,  the Department of Rehabilitation Services (DORS), and your local office of workforce development.

Length of Training

40 hours per course to complete the class and written exam.

Courses are offered at CCBC Catonsville, CCBC Essex, and online.


Current Red Cross Emergency Water Safety or Red Cross Lifeguard Certificate, competency in performing 25-yard backstroke, front crawl/freestyle, breaststroke, sidestroke, and elementary backstroke and 15-yard butterfly stroke and floating and treading water for one minute each. 

Current CPR, Automated External Defibrillator (AED), and First Aid certifications.

Students should be computer literate and have Internet access.

Recommended: High School Diploma or GED; prior experience and/or interest in lifeguard or swimming.

​​In order to participate in Water Safety Instructor certification classes, participants must be at least 18 years of age by the end of the course.


Prior Learning Assessment

This program has no options for obtaining course waiver(s) for prior learning.

Application Process

Provisional Entry-Verification of required certifications.

Program Course Sequence

​A stringent attendance policy will be enforced.

Course Number

Course Title

Course Hours

Textbook Information

(approximate cost; subject to change)




Water Safety Instructor


Textbook is included in the cost of the course.



Students who earn a minimum score of 80% on the written exam and a passing grade of "CC" for completing the course will receive their certification.

Additional Information

Skills for Success:
​​Demonstrating competency in performing 25 yards of the backstroke, front crawl/freestyle, breaststroke, sidestroke, and elementary backstroke and 15 yards of the butterfly stroke and floating and treading water for 1 minute each. Previous work-related skills, knowledge,​ or experience in lifeguarding or advanced swimming occupations. 

Detail-oriented; dependability; self-control; ability to follow safety rules; ability to follow directions; cooperation; integrity; persistence; manual dexterity; mechanical aptitude; mathematical aptitude; ability to stand for long periods of time; ability to lift 35 pounds; excellent communication and customer service skills.

Career Opportunities:
​Train to work in entry-level skilled positions such as Advanced Level Swim Instructor, Aquatic Fitness Instructor, Safety Trainer for Swim Coach, Lifeguard and Water Rescue Professionals, Group Swim Instructor, Aquatic Fitness Coordinator, Aquatic Director, Aquatic Trainer and Private Trainer.​

Career Coach

Research your career interests, explore live job postings, take a career assessment, discover which companies in the Baltimore region are hiring, and more.  View a brief tutorial video on how to use Career Coach at https://youtu.be/C7KpznbPYfA.  Explore career and training opportunities at https://ccbcmd.emsicc.com/.

Contact Information

Director: Michelle McCallum | mmccallum@ccbcmd.edu | 443-840-1925 | Essex | BESS | 117