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Aquatics Training Programs and Employment Opportunities

Information
Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) is always looking for motivated and responsible individuals to join our aquatics staff. We offer lifeguard certification, swim instructor training, and water fitness instructor training classes year-round.
On this page

Training classes have started for 2021. We will have COVID-19 guidelines in place for all in-person training. Please locate the specific training(s) you are interested in and you will be able to see the training schedule for spring 2021. If you would like more information regarding specific training, please contact the following person based on the information you would like.

Thank you for your patience and we will get back to you as soon as we can.


We are committed to the importance of water safety and training for our lifeguards, swim instructors, and our community.
During a busy summer season, PP&R employs over 700 staff and up to 400 staff at our indoor pools during the fall, winter, and spring terms. Applications for employment with PP&R aquatics are accepted upon successful completion of the certification course(s).

Portland Parks & Recreation lifeguards undergo continuous training. It is rigorous because we take safety seriously.

Lifeguard Certification

Lifeguard certification classes through PP&R is for lifeguard candidates without a current StarGuard Lifeguard certification. This course focuses on the job of a lifeguard in a swimming pool environment, with emphasis on distressed guest recognition, scanning and equipment-based rescues. 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 for Portland Parks & Recreation Aquatics.

Prerequisites

  • Age 16 or older by the first day of class. No age exceptions will be made.
  • Must be able to swim a continuous non-stop 300 yards of freestyle or breaststroke.
  • Must be able to feet first surface dive to bottom of pool and retrieve 10-pound brick.
  • Must be able to tread water for 30 seconds with hands on head, then move while treading to where you can touch.
  • Must demonstrate a mature attitude.

 Certification Requirements

  • Attend and actively participate in all sessions (no make-up sessions).  If you miss a day of class you will need to take a new class.
  • Participate in all water activities.
  • Successfully complete all required skill testing in CPR for the Professional Rescuer, First Aid and Lifeguarding Rescue Skills.
  • Score 80% on the Lifeguarding written exam.

Responsibilities of a Lifeguard with Portland Parks & Recreation

  • Prevent accidents through the enforcement of policies, rules, and regulations governing the conduct of guests using the pools.
  • Be friendly, helpful and cheerful to all pool guests and fellow employees.
  • Maintain a “we can” atmosphere through good public relations.
  • Be punctual when reporting for duty.
  • Maintain an acceptable appearance of both uniform and personal hygiene at all times.
  • Set a good example of proper pool conduct for guests to follow.
  • Prepare Accident, Incident, and Rescue Reports as needed.
  • Swim each week of employment to maintain a good fitness level.
  • Have knowledge of entire program offerings at your facility and be able to convey that information to guests.
  • Work as a cashier as needed and fulfill all the responsibilities of cashier while in that position.
  • Do pool maintenance as needed, which includes but is not limited to; pool vacuuming, hosing and disinfection of decks, locker rooms, etc., cleaning and maintaining the entire facility throughout the day.
  • Report safety concerns to supervisor as needed.
  • Complete Department Audits as required.
  • Complete tasks assigned by supervisor.

If you are in need of a reduced fee or no fee to take an aquatics training class, please request a fee waiver from Christine Hickman at christine.hickman@portlandoregon.gov. PP&R is committed to removing cost as a barrier to our programs.

DateTimesDaysLocationActivity Number
June 28 - July 2, 20218:00am - 12:00pmMonday - FridayPier1128023
July 19 - July 21, 202110:00am - 6:00pmMonday - WednesdayMatt Dishman1136621
August 16 - August 1810:00am - 6:00pmMonday - WednesdayMatt Dishman1136622

Swim Instructor Training

Portland Parks & Recreation Aquatics requires that swim instructor candidates complete the initial certification class, followed by successful completion of co-instructing and solo instructing. During the initial class, swim instructor candidates receive intensive training through bookwork, group discussions, presentations, and hands-on training and experience while assisting with swim lessons. This course is only for swim instructor candidates who will be applying to work for Portland Parks & Recreation Aquatics.

Prerequisites

  • Age 16 or older by the first day of class. No age exceptions.
  • Must be able to swim 25 yards of Front Crawl with side breathing
  • Must be able to swim 25 yards of Backstroke

Certification Requirements

  • Attend and actively participate in all sessions (no make-up sessions). If you miss a day of class you will need to take a new class.
  • Complete reading and writing assignments for each class.
  • Participate in all water activities.
  • Successfully complete teaching assignments.
  • Score at least 80% on all quizzes and final exam.

Responsibilities of a Swim Instructor with Portland Parks & Recreation

  • Teach swim lessons.
  • Teach Parent/Child classes (Angelfish and Starfish).
  • Convey a fun and positive experience for each participant in your class.
  • Strive for skill development and/or stroke improvement from each participant.
  • Be friendly, enthusiastic, and caring towards participants in class.
  • Give feedback to parents regarding their child’s progress in your class.
  • Provide a good mixture of demonstration, explanation, practice, and skill correction during each lesson.
  • Keep class active during each lesson by preparing for class (lesson plan).
  • Evaluate and issue proper certificates to participants.
  • Set a good example of proper pool conduct for participants to follow.
  • Keep accurate course records.
  • Work well with the Lead Instructor.

If you are in need of a reduced fee or no fee to take an aquatics training class, please request a fee waiver from Christine Hickman at christine.hickman@portlandoregon.gov. PP&R is committed to removing cost as a barrier to our programs.

DateTimesDaysLocationActivity Number
July 6 - July 9, 202111:30am - 3:30pmMonday - ThursdayEast Portland 1136619
July 19 - 22, 202111:30am - 3:30pmMonday - ThursdaySouthwest CC1136618
August 2 - August 5, 202111:30 - 3:30pmMonday - ThursdayEast Portland1136620

Water Fitness Certification

Portland Parks & Recreation offers basic training for candidates interested in instructing Water Fitness Group Classes. Classes are offered twice a year, in fall and spring. This course is designed for:

  • The beginner who has water fitness experience with little or no formal training as an Instructor
  • Water Fitness Instructors who need practical experience
  • Group Fitness Instructors who want to transition to the water

A Water Fitness Instructor Manual is provided covering basic anatomy, physical laws of movement, safe use of equipment, cueing techniques, class design, choreography, and exercises for both deep and shallow water. Candidates receive intensive training through bookwork, group discussions, presentations, and hands-on training and experience. The course will take place in the classroom, in the pool, and on the pool deck. Certificates will be awarded for passing the final written exam and successful deck demonstration.

Water fitness instructor candidates are required to complete the initial certification class, followed by successful completion of co-instructing. This course is only for water fitness instructor candidates who will be applying to work for Portland Parks & Recreation Aquatics. Portland Parks & Recreation Water Fitness Instructors are further required to obtain a National Aquatic Certification within 1 year of employment (such as Aquatic Exercise Association’s certification, see aeawave.com).

 Prerequisites

  • Age 17 or older by the first day of class. No age exceptions. If you miss a day of class you will need to take a new class.
  • Must have experience moving in the water and doing water exercises in the pool. Suggested to have a minimum of 20-30 hours of experience taking group water fitness classes
  • Must be able to demonstrate exercise techniques and safety considerations from the deck as well as the water.

 Certification Requirements

  • Attend and actively participate in all sessions
  • Complete reading and writing assignments for each class.
  • Participate in all water activities
  • Successfully complete up to 10 co-teaching assignments.
  • Score at least 80% on written exams.

 Responsibilities of a Water Fitness Instructor with Portland Parks & Recreation

  • Teach well-rounded and balanced water fitness classes.
  • Convey a fun, positive experience, and motivation for participants.
  • Have a lesson plan or workout outline for the class.
  • Incorporate music for class tempo and motivation
  • Utilize instructor safety tools: voice amplification device, cushioned mat, deck chair
  • Provide a good mixture of demonstration, explanation, and skill correction during each class.
  • Keep class active and aerobic for at least 25-30 minutes of a 55-minute class (other portions of the class would include warm-up, toning, cool-down)
  • Be friendly, enthusiastic, and caring towards participants in your class.
  • Give feedback to participants on posture, form, and progress.
  • Set a good example or proper pool conduct for participants to follow such as: having Water Bottle, being Courteous, role model in putting equipment away.
  • Work well with fellow instructors and lifeguards, communicate with Pool Managers.
  • Coordinate with Pool Managers to take on classes/shifts.
  • Once assigned classes, take ownership: show up early to set up equipment – be on deck to welcome and interact with participants.
  • Find own substitutes for classes.
  • Network with other instructors via provided phone and email lists.

If you are in need of a reduced fee or no fee to take an aquatics training class, please request a fee waiver from Christine Hickman at christine.hickman@portlandoregon.gov. PP&R is committed to removing cost as a barrier to our programs.


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, PP&R 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 one MAY or MAY NOT adequately prepare you for the swimming demands required in certification courses. 

Past Events

Virtual Career Fair with PP&R Aquatics

Rescheduled
Community Event
Thanks to the passing of the Parks Local Option Levy (Parks Levy), PP&R is looking for motivated and responsible individuals to join our aquatics staff (ages 16 and up).
Available Online
Featuring seasonal job openings in Recreation, Environmental Education, and Land Stewardship.