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Parks & Recreation

Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland

Phone: 503-823-PLAY (7529)

Fax: 503-823-6007

1120 SW Fifth Ave., Suite 1302, Portland, OR 97204

Aquatic Training Program

We are committed to the importance of water safety and training for our lifeguards, swim instructors, and our community.

We currently employ over 700 staff during the busy summer season and up to 300 staff at our indoor pools during the fall, winter, and spring terms. Applications for employment with Portland Parks & Recreation Aquatics are accepted upon successful completion of the certification course(s).

Certification/Training Classes

Portland Parks & Recreation Aquatics offers lifeguard certification classes, swim instructor training, and water fitness instructor training from September through May. Anyone applying for a position with Portland Parks & Recreation's Aquatic Program must be at least 15 years of age, AND hold current certification for the position.

Portland Parks & Recreation Aquatics Certification Prerequisites

All Portland Parks & Recreation certification classes are challenging, and require that certification candidates be strong, skilled swimmers. All training courses require that candidates participate in vigorous physical training. You must be in good physical condition to participate. Each certification class has different prerequisites required to be eligible to participate in training.  

Lifeguard Certification

Lifeguard certification classes through Portland Parks & Recreation is for lifeguard candidates without a current StarGuard Lifeguard certification. Students successfully completing the course receive first aid, CPR, and StarGuard Lifeguard certification. This course is only for lifeguard candidates who will be applying to work at a StarGuard facility, and is the only certification accepted by Portland Parks & Recreation Aquatics.

Swim Instructor Training

Portland Parks & Recreation Aquatics requires that instructor candidates complete the initial certification class, followed by successful completion of co-instructing. During the initial class, swim instructor candidates receive intensive training through book work, group discussions, presentations, and hands-on training and experience while assisting with swim lessons.

"Teen Only Swim Lessons"

Are you a teen looking at the possibility of becoming a swim instructor and/or lifeguard, but you feel that your swimming ability might not be ready for your success in the Aquatics Training Classes? In an effort to help you, Portland Parks & Recreation provides affordable "Teen Only Swim Lessons" for youth age 11-18. Classes are offered to participants from beginner to intermediate, and are only $20 for 10 lessons! Depending on your prior swimming ability, taking a "Teen Only Swim Lesson" once MAY or MAY NOT adequately prepare you for the swimming demands required in certification courses. Call your local indoor, year-round Portland Parks & Recreation pool for class dates and times.

2015-2016 Aquatic Certification Training Brochure

Lifeguard, Swim Instructor, Water Exercise Certification Class Schedule

2015-16 Aquatics Wages

Hourly wages for Portland Parks & Recreation lifeguards, swim instructors, and water fitness instructors.


Financial assistance is available to residents of the City of Portland who qualify.