Water Safety Instructor Courses

Blended Learning Water Safety Instructor

The purpose of the American Red Cross Water Safety Instructor course is to train instructor candidates to teach courses and presentations in the American Red Cross Swimming and Water Safety Program by developing their understanding of how to use the course materials, how to conduct training sessions and how to evaluate participants’ progress.

The blended learning option for the Water Safety Instructor course features simulation learning.  The online learning sessions provide custom activities, games and instructional videos set in a vibrant three-dimensional pool environment.  Instructor candidates interact with multiple scenarios that require them to use lesson planning and teaching strategies and apply water safety and classroom management concepts.  Assessment and corrective feedback are integrated throughout the course.

 Course Objectives:

 Upon successful completion of the  Water Safety Instructor course, instructor candidates should be able to:

  • Identify key elements and strategies for planning and preparing effective and safe swim lessons
  • Identify key class management principles, elements and strategies for planning, preparing, and conducting safe swim lessons
  • Describe the importance of effective observation for teaching and how to develop it
  • Observe swimming, headfirst entry and diving skills, and accurately classify them and suggest appropriate interventions to improve them
  • Develop the ability to effectively communicate about participants’ progress in swim lessons
  • Modify teaching to meet unexpected challenges, including dealing with participants who misbehave
  • Demonstrate the ability to accommodate participants who move, learn, communicate, and behave differently


Be at least 16 years of age on or before the final scheduled lesson of this course
Demonstrate the ability to perform the following swimming skills:

  • Swim the following strokes consistent with Level 4 of American Red Cross Swimming skills:
    • Front crawl-25 yards
    • Back crawl-25 yards
    • Breaststroke-25 yards
    • Elementary backstroke- 25 yards
    • Sidestroke-25 yards
    • Butterfly- 15 yards
  • Maintain position on back for 1 minute in deep water (floating or sculling)
  • Tread water for 1 minute

Criteria for certification:

To be certified as a Water Safety instructor, instructor candidates must:

  1. Successfully complete the precourse session
  2. Successfully complete the online Orientation to the Swimming and Water Safety Program, which includes an orientation to the American Red Cross
  3. Attend and successfully participate in all course lessons, including the online content
  4. Successfully complete the required number of practice-teaching assignments
  5. Score at least 80 percent (correctly answer 40 of 50 questions) on the final instructor course written exam




  • March 25-28th
    • 10am-4pm
  • April 26-28th
    • 4/26: 5-10pm
    • 4/27: 8a-12p, 1-6p
    • 4/28: 8a-12p, 1-4p
  • May 20-22nd
    • 5/20: 8a-7p
    • 5/21: 8a-7p
    • 5/22: 9a-12p
  • May 22nd- 24th
    • 5/22: 1-5p
    • 5/23: 8a-7p
    • 5/24: 8a-6p

*breaks for snacks will be built into the schedule

Course Length:

  • eLearning Time: 7 hours
  • In-Person Time: 23 hours, 30 minutes



All UNC Aquatics programs are open to UNC faculty, staff, their families, and the community.  If you are a member of the university community, you can use your ONYEN to login and register.  If you do not have an ONYEN, please

  • Log into stayactive.unc.edu
  • Click on “Sign In” in the top right corner
  • Click on “Sign Up” at the bottom of the pop up box
  • Add the First Name and Last Name of the person participating in the class and click NEXT
  • A Date of Birth for the participant is required to register for Aquatics programs.
  • After adding a birthdate, follow prompts to complete setting up your account.

If you run into any issues, feel free to reach out to uncaquatics@unc.edu for assistance.