Become a Swim Instructor

The Water Safety Instructor (WSI) Course prepares candidates to instruct the Red Cross Swim programs. Candidates focus on strategies to introduce and develop fitness activities, skills and water safety, and swimming 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. Learn more about becoming a swim instructor:

Course Components & Length

Part 1

  • WSI—Skills Evaluation: 3–6 hours
  • WSI—Online: 14–20 hours
  • WSI—Teaching Experience: minimum 8 hours

Part 2

  • WSI—Classroom and Pool: 9 hours classroom, 12 hours pool.

Pre-course Requirements

  • 15 years or older by the last day of the WSI - Classroom and Pool
  • Ability to perform Red Cross Swim Kids 10 strokes and skills, and hold one of the following certifications (not required to be current):
  • Emergency First Aid or higher, or Bronze Cross or higher certification

Completion Criteria

  • Attend, participate in, and complete 100% of all four course components.
  • WSI—Teaching Experience: complete a minimum of 4 hours** in each of a Red Cross Swim Preschool and a Red Cross Swim Kids class within 6 months of finishing the WSI—Online. (** Red Cross recommends completing an entire session)


All course components are evaluated against specific evaluation criteria on a pass/fail basis.

Course Materials

  • Water Safety Instructor Workbook
  • Red Cross Swim Deck Book
  • WSI—Online


Upon successful completion, candidates are certified for 2 years as a WSI, which allows them to teach Red Cross Swim programs without direct supervision.

Complete 3 Water Safety Instructor—Online Professional Development Courses:  Evaluating Strokes, Supervising the Teaching Experience, and Teaching Parented Classes, before attending the WSI Recertification Course.


Attend a recertification course every 2 years (2 hours classroom, 3 hours pool).