Become a Lifeguard

Become a lifeguard or swim instructor with the City of Medicine Hat! Lifeguards ensure aquatic safety by monitoring swimmers and responding to emergencies, employing CPR and first aid skills as needed. 

graphic showing steps to becoming a lifeguard

Lifeguards are highly skilled and trained individuals. To become a lifeguard you must be 15+ years of age and have the following courses:

Standard First Aid CPR-C

Learn the foundational skills to treat an ill or injured person. Standard First Aid CPR Level C is a prerequisite for many lifeguard preparation classes and does not need to be taken at an aquatic facility.

Length: 16 hours

Bronze Medallion

If you're a strong swimmer, enjoy working with people and are motivated towards a job as a lifeguard, start here. Bronze Medallion teaches an understanding of the lifesaving principles embodied in the four components of water rescue education: judgement, knowledge, skill, and fitness. Rescuers learn tows and carries, and defense and release methods in preparation for challenging rescues of increased risk involving conscious and unconscious victims. Lifesavers in Bronze Medallion develop stroke efficiency and endurance in a timed swim.


  • Age: 13+
  • Standard First Aid Level C CPR

Length: 15 to 20 hours

Bronze Cross

Bronze Cross is designed for lifesavers who want the challenge of more advanced training, including an introduction to safe supervision in aquatic facilities. The course continues to increase fitness and first air intensities while working on tows, rescues, carries and spinal management.


  • Bronze Medallion
  • Standard First Aid Level C CPR

Length: 20 to 25 hours

National Lifeguard

National Lifeguard certification is Canada's professional lifeguard standard and a final intensive course on your journey to becoming a lifeguard. National Lifeguard training develops a sound understanding of lifeguarding principles, good judgment, and a mature and responsible attitude towards the lifeguard's role. National Lifeguard training emphasizes prevention and effective rescue response in emergencies including first aid treatment. Candidates develop teamwork, leadership and communication skills. Fitness requirements include a timed object recovery, 50 m sprint challenge, 50 m rescue drill and 400 m endurance challenge.


  • Age: 15+
  • Bronze Cross
  • Standard First Aid Level C CPR certificate

Length: 40 hours


Lifeguards have the opportunity to take specialty courses following their National Lifeguard certification, including:

  • National Lifeguard Waterpark (waves, slides and multiple pools)
  • National Lifeguard Waterfront (lakes and rivers)

Program details and registration

Become a Starfish Swimming Instructor

This course develops instructional ability by focusing on how to effectively plan and teach the Starfish Canada swimming program. There is a skills evaluation, an online learning component, a classroom/pool component and practical teaching experience with a certified instructor. Certification is valid for 2 years.


  • 15 years old
  • Standard First Aid Level C CPR (current)

Program details and registration

Become a Lifesaving Instructor

Lifesaving instructors are responsible for teaching and evaluating candidates participating in the Canadian Swim Patrol, Bronze Medals, Distinction, Boat Rescue and Lifesaving Society CPR programs. The Lifesaving Instructor course prepares instructors to apply level 1 leadership competencies and strategies designed to teach lifesaving and water rescue education. Certification in Alberta and NWT includes CPR Instructor certification. 

Lifesaving Instructor certification is the prerequisite for other Lifesaving Society instructor certifications.


  • Age: 15+ 
  • Bronze Cross (or higher)

Length: 40 hours plus additional co-teach

Program details and registration