How to Become a Red Cross Lifeguard

Why become a Red Cross Lifeguard?

  • Be a leader and have an impact
    Be part of a team, learn new skills, and feel good about working a meaningful job that saves lives, prevents injuries, and keeps people safe.
  • Earn money for today, and tomorrow
    With great pay and flexible hours, lifeguards can earn money on a schedule that works for them, whether they're saving for the future or picking up the occasional shift to earn a little extra spending money.
  • Work in a fun environment
    Work with friends in a fun, team-oriented environment. Lifeguards work at community pools, summer camps, university or college pool facilities, water parks, beaches, and even cruise ships.
  • Jump-start your career
    You don’t need a lot of experience to become a lifeguard—the certification is your biggest asset to get you hired. While on the job, you will develop strong communication and leadership skills that will help you on your chosen career path. Many lifeguards go on to pursue careers in health care, recreation, emergency services, and more.
  • Be part of the Red Cross community
    Train with an organization that is part of the largest humanitarian network in the world—you will be supporting training programs that help people and communities across Canada and around the world in times of need.

What training do you need?

You can earn a professional lifeguard certification in two simple steps!
Red Cross has made sure our Lifeguard Program focuses on YOUR learning needs, whether you are in the pool, at the waterfront, or in the classroom. Our lifeguard training focuses on hands-on practice to ensure you are confident performing the skills and working as part of a team.

Our approach to training and use of the rescue tube makes it easier for people of all sizes to be successful from the start. We also focus on your mental health by including Psychological First Aid content in our courses, helping learners develop tools and strategies for self-care, caring for others, and stress management.

If you are 13 years of age or older, let’s get started!

Step 1: Assistant Lifeguard or Assistant Lifeguard Transfer
This is a pre-requisite course for lifeguard certification that provides training in the prevention of injuries, responding to emergencies, rescue and lifeguarding skills. Participants will develop decision-making, communication and leadership skills through skills practice, scenarios, and responding as a team.

Step 2: Red Cross Lifeguard (Pool or Waterfront) or Red Cross Lifeguard Transfer (Pool or Waterfront)
This course prepares participants to be job-ready lifeguards to work at a pool or waterfront. Participants will develop the skills required to prevent and respond to aquatic emergencies, create a safe aquatic environment, work in teams, and communicate with patrons in a professional manner. Upon successful completion of the course, you will become proficient not only in lifeguard rescue and response skills, but also in communication, public relations, and managing risk.

Contact your local pool or waterfront facility for more information on Red Cross Lifeguard training!

“Being trained as a Red Cross Lifeguard has brought forward a lot of self-development that I would not have been able to experience otherwise. I learned leadership skills, interpersonal skills, communication skills and how to effectxively work with others. Because of my training, I have faced many opportunities that I wouldn’t have had if it wasn’t for my Red Cross [Lifeguard training]. Becoming certified as a Red Cross Lifeguard made me realize my passion in aquatics and I cannot wait to see where it takes me."

– Mack, Aquatic Training Specialist, Lawson Aquatic Centre, Saskatchewan


The Canadian Red Cross Society is part of the largest humanitarian network in the world. We have been training Canadians in first aid, swimming, and water safety programs for more than 70 years.