Start changing lives! The YMCA of San Diego County is the place to start your career.

Whether you are looking to help save lives as a lifeguard, teach children to swim and be safe in the water as a friendly and encouraging role model, or be a motivational and instructive swim team coach, the YMCA has the water work for you!

With 16 aquatic facilities operating year-round throughout San Diego County, our aquatics team is passionate about creating a safe and fun environment where the whole family can play, learn and grow.


The YMCA requires ongoing training and certification for lifeguards and swim instructors. Whether you are already certified, have no certifications, or are looking to complete your certifications, we have the training program for you!

We offer classes for first-time lifeguards and swim instructors and recertification classes for returning employees. Through classroom activities, online learning, group discussion, and hands-on practice, you’ll learn the skills you need to work as a lifeguard or swim instructor.


The YMCA of San Diego now offers paid training for Lifeguard and Swim Instructor certification classes. By accepting a job offer, you will be paid for your time while you complete online course work, classroom training, and in-person testing.

Also read about: How healthy is regular swimming?

Getting your certifications through the YMCA will save you hundreds of dollars in registration fees and provide you with all the necessary certifications for the job. Anyone can become certified, regardless of their financial situation.


Participants must be able to:

  • Be 16 years or older.
  • Step on the water for at least 2 minutes.
  • Swim 100 yards of front crawl.
  • Swim 50 yards each of: head-up front crawl, side stroke, breaststroke, head-up breaststroke, hands-on-stomach reverse breaststroke kick.
  • Take a first surface dive in 8 to 10 feet of water and then swim underwater for 15 feet.
  • Complete a series of tasks given by the instructor to demonstrate listening and scanning skills, as well as stamina and stamina.
  • Swim instructors must also be able to swim 25 yards each: butterfly, backstroke, lateral stroke, freestyle at the intermediate to advanced level.

YMCA Swim Instructor Certification

If you’re a competent swimmer and want to teach, a YMCA swim instructor certification may be the qualification that will put your skills and enthusiasm to good use for pay.

Pre requirements

Candidates must be 16 years of age, proficient in a variety of swimming movements, and have a first aid qualification. Some YMCAs also require lifeguard certification near me before taking their swim instructor course, which is a good idea in any case because many swim instructor jobs require it as well.

Course details

Certification can be achieved in a single course, which is typically around 24 hours and offered over a weekend. The cost is US$130. The course offers instruction both in and out of the water. And it prepares you to teach swimming to all ages.


Swimming instructors are in demand. Basic group lessons pay around $15 an hour, but good instructors can charge three to six times that amount with private lessons. There is also part-time work available, and a YMCA swim instructor certification can also be an attractive addition to any summer camp counsellor or aquatics instructor.

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