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Candidate Handbook

Certification BasicsExamination ProcessExamination BasicsExamination PreparationExamination ScoringExamination PoliciesRecertificationGeneral

What is Certification?

Certification is a voluntary process by which a nongovernmental agency formally recognizes specialized knowledge, skills, and experience in a designated area. Certification establishes minimum competency standards in the specialty and offers recognition for those who have met the standards.  A primary purpose of certification is the protection of the public through a means of measurement of current skills and knowledge through a standardized comprehensive examination.

Professionals working as a Certified Fundamental Swim Instructor can demonstrate mastery of specialized knowledge by meeting criteria and passing the examination offered by the U.S. Swim School Association.

How was the Certification Exam Developed?

After several years of exploration and demands of the swim school community for a certification that recognizes the fundamental swim instructors’ roles as distinct specialized functions within the swimming instruction industry, the U.S. Swim School Association (USSSA) has developed a certification program. This program awards a Certified Fundamental Swim Instructor (CFSI) certification to those who pass the exam, thus providing a verified proof of expertise. The USSSA engaged subject matter experts to help identify areas of competency for testing, develop appropriate test questions, and assist with the validation of the exams. The USSSA Fundamental Swim Instructor Certification Program is dedicated to the validation of experience and a specialized body of knowledge for all professionals working as Swim Instructors. 

Certification Mark Use 

Certified Fundamental Swim Instructor is a professional certification for swimming instruction professionals. The Certified Fundamental Swim Instructor credential signifies that an individual has passed an examination that has been designed to meet stringent certification industry standards and best practices. USSSA grants limited permission to individuals who have met the certification eligibility criteria, passed the exam, and received notification of certification from USSSA to use the Certified Fundamental Swim Instructor (CFSI) designation that has been granted to them. Use of the Certified Fundamental Swim Instructor credential by individuals who have not been granted certification, or who have failed to properly maintain certification in good standing, is prohibited. Improper use of the credentials may result in disciplinary action and/or legal and civil action.

Eligibility Criteria

While there are several pathways to certification to accommodate professionals with a variety of backgrounds, working experience in the swim instructor role is required – please refer to the knowledge and skills described in the content outline. Each candidate should assess their own body of knowledge, skills, and understanding of the specialty in deciding when to sit for the exam. 

Certification candidates must attest they meet the criteria of one of the following pathways:

Eligibility Requirement

Rationale/Justification/Reason for Requirement

Pathway #1

  • At least 16 years of age
  • IF 18 or older you passed a background check
  • Current CPR Certification
  • Successful completion of USSSA Fundamental Swim Instructor Online Training Course
  • At least 30 hours of in water swim instructor training as verified by learn to swim program director/manager/owner (does not need to be all at one 

This pathway would be for newly hired swim instructors with little to no previous experience that meet the eligibility requirements as noted.

Pathway #2

  • At least 16 years of age
  • IF 18 or older you passed a background check
  • Current CPR Certification
  • At least 30 hours of in water swim instructor training as verified by learn to swim program director/manager/owner
  • At least 200 hours of swim instructor experience verified by learn to swim program director/manager/owner

This pathway would be for experienced swim instructors as defined by required hours or this pathway would be for instructors with extensive training in lieu of completion of the USSSA Fundamental Swim Instructor Online Training course.

Pathway #3

  • At least 15 years of age
  • Current CPR Certification
  • Successful completion of USSSA Fundamental Swim Instructor Online Training Course
  • At least 40 hours of in water swim instructor training/mentorship by a USSSA Certified Swim Instructor as verified by learn to swim program director/manager/owner
  • At least 200 hours of swim instructor experience verified by learn to swim program director/manager/

This pathway would be for a fifteen (15) year old swim instructor.

Pathway #4

  • At least 16 years of age
  • IF 18 or older you passed a background check
  • Current CPR Certification
  • At least 200 hours of in water swim instructor experience verified by learn to swim program director/manager/owner
  • Successful completion of USSSA Great Beginnings Leads to Great Finishes online course* ($17 member/$26 non-member)
  • Successful completion of USSSA Infant Toddler online course* ($27 member/$48 non-member)
  • Successful completion of Red Cross WSI Certification or YMCA Swim Instructor training*

This pathway would be for an individual who has previous teaching experience with successful completion of the training listed under pathway.

Note-This certification is NOT intended for non-CFSI functions within a company. All candidates must legally attest that they meet all above requirements of one of the listed pathways, which is subject to verification by the staff of the USSSA. 

Eligibility Appeal

Candidates who believe that they have met the eligibility requirements as stated may appeal decisions of ineligibility. However, the eligibility requirements themselves may not be appealed. Appeals letters requesting reconsideration of applications must indicate the specific findings of ineligibility being contested and provide evidence of meeting those findings. Email must be received by USSSA within 30 days of notification of ineligibility. A complete copy of the Appeal Policy may be obtained by contacting USSSA at certification@usswimschools.org.

Application Process

Before candidates can test, they must:

  1. Submit an application via the USSSA Portal and pay for the exam online.
  2. Complete prerequisites and submit the prerequisite upload form with supportive documents.
  3. Receive their Authorization to Test (ATT) letter (via e-mail).
  4. Via the USSSA Portal Contact ProctorU to schedule an appointment to take the exam. 

Fees

Description

USSSA Member Fee

Non-member Fee

First time exam only (pricing does not include any required courses)

$130

$205

Swim Instructor Training Course and Exam

$180

$285

Retake exam (2nd or 3rd exam attempt)

$55

$55

Recertification via CE (every 3 years)

$100

$175

Recertification via exam (every 3 years)

$132

$207

Recertification late fees

$30

$30

Application Procedure

Application

The application must be complete with electronic signature on the Candidate Application and Confidentiality Statement. If applying online “yes” must be checked off on the “Candidate Application and Confidentiality Statement”. Completing the online application indicates that you have read and understand the entire candidate handbook to include all policies.

Submit Your Application

Please submit your application online. There is a two step application process. Step one includes application with payment. Step two includes upload of supporting documentation.

  • All communication with applicants will be handled via e-mail only.
  • Applications must be completed online.
  • An acknowledgement of receipt of the candidate’s application will be provided via e-mail within 24hours of receipt.
  • The application must be complete with registration fee and signatures on the Application and Confidentiality Statement. Incomplete applications will be returned unprocessed.
  • Once the candidate’s application has been reviewed and accepted, candidates will be sent an Authorization to Test letter (ATT) via email no later than two weeks before the test. Instructions on how to schedule an online exam and date with ProctorU will be included with the ATT.
  • Candidate will have a 6-month timeframe to sit for the exam from their application approval date.

Once the candidate has completed the on-line registration process with ProctorU , an electronic confirmation will be sent to the candidate containing the candidate’s name, identification number, the date/time of the test, and name of the test. Candidates must possess a webcam and high-speed internet connection in a quiet room seated at a hard surface like a desk or table in order to take the certification examination. Details on computer equipment requirements to take the exam can be found HERE

Special Accommodations

USSSA will provide reasonable accommodations for test candidates with disabilities that are covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Candidates requesting special accommodations must submit the Special Accommodations Request Form on their online application.

Examination Schedule

USSSA utilizes  a live online proctoring service, ProctorU, that allows you to take your exam from the comfort of your home.  ProctorU is available 24/7 via the USSSA Portal, however, you will need to schedule your proctoring session at least 72 hours in advance to avoid premium fees.       

Required ID

Candidates must present a valid, non-expired form of government-issued identification prior to being admitted into the certification online portal. The identification document must:

  • Be government-issued (e.g., driver’s license, passport, state-issued identification card or military identification card);
  • Contain both a current photo and the candidate’s signature; and
  • Have a first and last name that exactly matches the name on the confirmation ticket (including designations such as “Jr.” and “III”).
  • Candidates who are under 18-years of age without government ID may use a valid school identification card in lieu of a government-issued identification card.
  • For Test-takers that are under the age of 18, ProctorU requires one of the following verification methods must be provided (Unless an accommodation is listed on the account):
    • School Photo ID
    • Government Issued Photo ID
    • Test-taker’s birth certificate AND a guardian Photo ID to confirm the identity of the test-taker.

Candidates who cannot provide the identification listed above, should contact USSSA before scheduling their exam appointment to arrange an alternative way to meet this requirement.

Remote Proctor Rules

To ensure that all candidates are tested under equally favorable conditions, the following regulations and procedures will be observed during the examination process. Failure to follow any of these security procedures may result in the disqualification of the candidate’s examination.

The following are the testing rules enforced at all the test administrations:

  1. Talking aloud: Unless you have an accommodation, talking or whispering aloud during the exam is not permitted.
  2. Being out of camera view: Your face, chin to forehead, needs to be in the camera view at all times.
  3. Anyone entering your testing area: You may not have anyone else in your testing location with you.
  4. Anyone talking to you while you’re in your testing area: Additional noises, including other people talking to you, while you’re in your exam are not allowed.
  5. Looking off-screen: You aren’t allowed any materials, so your eyes should stay on the screen at all times while testing.
  6. Utilizing materials that are not allowed: No additional materials are allowed during the exam.. 
  7. Taking pictures or screenshots of the exam: Taking pictures while in your exam, including screenshots, is not permitted. If you’re on a Mac and have a live human proctored launch, your proctor will even turn off the ability to use your keyboard screenshot hotkeys. 
  8. Copying and pasting any elements of the exam: In most cases, our system will not allow you to copy and paste any content from your exam. Regardless of whether you can or cannot perform this function, our system will capture all events of copy and paste that occur. 
  9. Utilizing a virtual machine: Virtual machines can be detected through the pre-exam system check, and are not permitted. 
  10. Utilizing a secondary monitor: You are only allowed to use one monitor attached to one computer during your exam. 

The CFSI Examination

Structure

The test consists of 115 test questions. Of these, 100 questions will be used to calculate your test score. The remaining 15 items serve as pretest questions, and do not affect your score. Pretest questions are administered to evaluate the item’s difficulty level for possible inclusion as a scored question in future exams. These pretest questions are dispersed throughout the exam and cannot be identified by the candidate.  The test content outline identifies the areas that are included in the examination. The percentage and number of scored questions in each of the major categories is shown below.

Domain

Domains of Practice

Percentage of Items

A

Safety and Health Concerns

13%

B

Standards and Professionalism

13%

C

Teacher Training for USSSA Water Competencies

55%

D

Special Abilities

12%

E

Teens and Adults

7%

Content Outline

The current CFSI certification examination is based on a content outline developed from the practice analysis completed in 2021. The content outline is presented here in its entirety.

A. Safety and Health Concerns

  1. Emergency Action Plan (EAP) (e.g., fecal, vomit, first aid, major health crisis, water emergencies, drowning processes, safety guidelines, policies, and rules, safe and unsafe behaviors
  2. common knowledge of child illnesses and health concerns
  3. common swim instructor health concerns (e.g., hydration, skin issues, hair, food)
  4. body positioning, proximity, and instructor positioning hazards (where you are in relationship to the student and physical objects, visual/touch supervision [hand on-eyes on])
  5. pool safety (e.g., safe chlorine and PH levels, water clarity, hazardous objects in or around the pool, external conditions around the pool including weather conditions)
  6. goggles (e.g., reasons to use, reasons to take them away, dependency)
  7. redirecting skills
  8. reach or throw don’t go method

B. Standards and Professionalism

  1. USSSA’s code of ethics
  2. USSSA’s Stance on Treatment of Children in Swim Lessons (USSSA Website under Who We Are and What We Believe; USSSA Statement on Trauma)
  3. USSSA’s “Safety We C.A.R.E” https://www.usswimschools.org/safety/
  4. Safe Sport Act (https://uscenterforsafesport.org/)
  5.  instructor professionalism (e.g., punctuality, responsibility, professionalism, consistent attendance, positive attitude, body language (e.g., smiling face), “leave your own life at the door”, phone use appropriate conversations while teaching, social media content)
  6. USSSA’s basic swimming definition
  7. ADA (e.g., overview, access to instruction)

C. Teacher Training For USSSA Water Competencies

  1. reflexes (e.g., moro reflex (startle reflex), righting reflex, palmer grasp) infant reflexes relevant to swim instruction/drowning prevention
  2. the Griffith study
  3. developmental areas of the whole child; connection between sensory motor development and cognitive development (e.g., sensory stimulation of the water; impact of achieving developmental milestones including physical growth spurts on teaching
  4. teaching strategies related to developmental areas (e.g., chronological and developmental age) with an emphasis on individualization and adapting communications
  5. play-based teaching include the role in how children learn (their play is their “work”)
  6. age-based modalities of learning (e.g., visual, kinesthetic, reading/writing)
  7. initial overview or orientation of the infant and/or toddler lessons
  8. process of sensory integration
  9. trust triangle – parent-teacher-student
  10. characteristics of a positive learning environment (e.g., positive reinforcement, students feel physically & emotionally safe, valued and respected, ownership and input, behaviors are established and consistent and equitably enforced, positive rapport between teachers and students)
  11. regression and plateauing (e.g., definitions, differences, and solutions)
  12. the signs of swim readiness (e.g., physically, emotionally, USSSA “Stance on Treatment of Young Children”)
  13. developmental stages of submersions including physical and verbal cues for submersions
  14. self-rescue activities, practices, and scenarios
  15. safe entry/exit practices and ability to personally demonstrate
  16. breath control, balance, buoyancy, and movement
  17. holds, supports, challenges, and maneuvers in the water
  18. behavioral techniques and classroom management (e.g., positive reinforcement, clearly communicate expectations, providing choices, establishing boundaries, guidance for correcting undesirable behaviors, recognize signs of distress, benefits of ending on a positive notes, methods to manage overstimulations, one direction commands, fun in lessons, age-appropriate games)
  19. fading assistance techniques (e.g., teaching aides, instructor support)

D. Special Abilities

  1. stroke technique progressions
  2. special ability (e.g., fundamentals, traits, behaviors, common special abilities (e.g., autism, ADHD, Downs Syndrome, hearing and visual impairments, Spinal Bifida)
  3. methods to connect with special ability students (e.g., meet each individual where they are, realistic expectations, inclusion methods and practices [include special ability students into group classes] (e.g., creating an inclusive environment)
  4. safety practices (e.g., rescue scenarios, safe entry and exit points in the water, lack of awareness with special ability swimmers)

E. Teens and Adults

  1. swimming safety (e.g., safe swimming area criteria (e.g., pool, lake, river, ocean), safe swimming equipment for conditions (e.g., hazards, flags, shepherds hook, PFD [lifejacket], first aid equipment), points of safety, reach or throw, don’t go, physical awareness in relation to others (e.g., where other people are in relation to student to avoid collision), strokes
  2. communication (e.g., talk before touching, permission if switching to a new position for that student, sensitive touch areas (e.g., communication), consent and trust building)”
  3. survival floating techniques
  4. common phobias and traumatic experiences (e.g., non-fatal drowning, witnessing a drowning, sensory, fear of aquatic creatures, long term effects of aquatic phobias and traumatic experiences)
  5. types of goals (e.g., initial, progression)
  6. demonstrations and explanations of purpose(s)
  7. positional transitions (e.g., float to standing, standing to float), balance techniques (e.g., while walking), maneuvering techniques (e.g., different depths of water)
  8. physical development and injuries limitations

References

Selected References for the USSSA Examination

These references were used to develop test items; this list is not intended to be all-inclusive. This reference list contains journals, textbooks, and web sites that include information of significance to the CFSI field. Exam questions are written from the core references. Use of the references does not guarantee a passing score on the test.

  Core References

USSSA Code of Ethics

https://www.usswimschools.org/code_of_ethics/

USSSA Sexual Harassment document

https://lawkm.com/what-is-not-harassment-in-the-workplace/

USSSA Infant Toddler guidelines

https://my.usswimschools.org/index.php?option=com_fabric&view=course&courseid=63

USSSA Basic Swimming Definition

https://www.usswimschools.org/about/core-values-purpose/usssa-basic-swimming-definition/

USSSA Stance on Treatment of Children in Swim Lessons

https://www.usswimschools.org/usssa-stance-on-treatment-of-children-in-swim-lessons/

USSSA Safety We C.A.R.E.

https://www.usswimschools.org/safety/

USSSA Play with Purpose training

https://my.usswimschools.org/register/payment-course.php?courseid=81&userids%255B%255D=980

USSSA Intro to Swim Lessons

https://www.usswimschools.org/2021/04/what-to-look-for-when-visiting-a-swim-school/

USSSA Instructor Standards

USSSA TO PROVIDE LINK to fundamental swim instructor training course

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)

https://publications.aap.org/pediatrics/article/143/5/e20190850/37134/Prevention-of-Drowning?autologincheck=redirected

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-play/Pages/Swim-Lessons.aspx#:~:text=The%20AAP%20recommends%20swim%20lessons,children%20starting%20at%20age%201

CDC guidelines for safer swimming 

https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming/swimmers/steps-healthy-swimming.html

CDC Guidelines on Parasites 

https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/children.html#:~:text=Children%20of%20all%20ages%20can,and%20streams%2C%20etc

CDC Drowning Facts

https://www.cdc.gov/drowning/facts/index.html#:~:text=In%20the%20United%20States%3A,death%20after%20motor%20vehicle%20crashes

Eunice Shriver National Institute of Health Study in 2009

https://www.nichd.nih.gov/newsroom/releases/030209-Drowning-Risk

The Griffith Study

https://news.griffith.edu.au/2013/08/13/swimming-a-smart-move-for-children/

Red Cross Reach or Throw, Don’t Go Resource

https://www.redcross.org/content/dam/redcross/atg/PDFs/Take_a_Class/Reach_or_throw_dont_go.pdf

Stop Drowning Now

https://www.stopdrowningnow.org/

USA Swimming Safety Action Plan

https://www.usaswimming.org/docs/default-source/risk-management/safety-and-operational-risk/safety-action-plan-examples.pdf

US Center for SafeSport Guidelines

https://uscenterforsafesport.org/response-and-resolution/policies-and-procedures/

https://uscenterforsafesport.org/about/faqs/

Epilepsy Foundation Seizures in Water

https://www.epilepsy.com/stories/seizures-water

Emergency Medicine News – Definition of Drowning

https://journals.lww.com/em-news/blog/BreakingNews/pages/post.aspx?PostID=377

Columbia University Study on Injury Deaths for individuals with Autism 

https://www.publichealth.columbia.edu/public-health-now/news/individuals-autism-substantially-heightened-risk-injury-death

Studying for the Exam

Examination Preparation

Candidates should prepare thoroughly prior to taking the CFSI examination. To help prepare for the examination, candidates should review the test structure in section and the content outline.  

References

The candidate handbook contains a list of core references used to develop the questions and that can be used to prepare for the examination. These references should not be considered the only possible study option, nor should examination candidates feel like they need to read all of the references. After carefully reviewing the test structure and identifying individual learning needs, examination candidates should identify additional references and study opportunities as necessary.

Review Courses

USSSA does not endorse or sponsor any review courses for the CFSI examination. USSSA is not affiliated with any organizations sponsoring examination review courses. USSSA is not responsible for misinformation provided by third party Review Courses.

Examination Scores

Prior to leaving the examination software, candidates will receive a preliminary score report. These results are preliminary and unofficial. The official score report will be emailed to all candidates within 2 to 3 weeks. 

Due to the need to maintain test security, examination questions and answers will not be released to candidates.

Passing Score

How is the cut-score (the passing score) determined for a test?

A criterion-referenced or standard-setting procedure and expert judgment are used to identify the passing point. A candidate’s ability to pass the exam depends on the amount of knowledge he or she displays, not on the performance of other individuals taking the exam. The reason for calculating scaled scores is that different forms or versions of the exam may vary in difficulty. As new versions of the exams are introduced, a certain number of questions in each content area are replaced by new questions. These changes may cause one version of the exam to be slightly easier or harder than another version. To adjust for these differences in difficulty, a statistical procedure called “equating” is used. The goal of equating is to ensure fairness to all candidates. In the equating process, the minimum raw score (number of correctly answered questions) required to equal the passing scaled score is statistically adjusted (or equated). For instance, if the exam is determined to be more difficult than the base form of the exam, then the minimum raw score required to pass will be slightly lower than the base passing raw score. If the exam is a bit easier, then the passing raw score will be slightly higher. Equating helps ensure that the passing scaled score represents the same level of knowledge, regardless of which version of the exam a candidate takes.

Canceled Scores

USSSA is concerned with only reporting valid scores. On rare occasions, circumstances may invalidate test scores. USSSA retains the right to cancel or withhold any exam scores. Invalid scores fall into two categories:

  1. Doubts may be raised by the proctor or another candidate of suspected misconduct or cheating by a candidate. A candidate is expected to cooperate with any investigation to determine if the score is invalid.
  2. In rare instances, there may be a problem with the examination materials or the test site; such situations will be investigated. The exam will not be invalid in these instances.

In addition, USSSA may cancel or invalidate any candidate’s score if, upon investigation, violation of the testing and/or candidate validation policies is established.

Re-examination

Anyone who does not pass the examination may retake the exam twice within 1-year from their application approval. Such registration will be subject to the current guidelines and fees established by USSSA.

Examination Score Appeals

The procedure for appeals of examination scores is as follows:

  • All appeals must be filed with USSSA within 15 business days of receipt of the score report.
  • An e-mail stating the concern and reason for the appeal must be forwarded to: certification@usswimschools.org. 

USSSA will review the letter. A response from the USSSA will be forwarded within 15 business days of receipt of the appeal letter. The response will detail the reasons the request has been approved or not approved.

A complete copy of the Appeal Policy may be obtained by contacting USSSA.

Withdrawal/Request a Refund

Candidates who have scheduled an examination appointment as well as those who have not scheduled an appointment with ProctorU may withdraw from the CFSI examination and request a refund. The steps for withdrawing and requesting a refund are below.

Step One

If you have a scheduled examination appointment, you must first cancel your appointment with ProctorU at least 24 hours before your scheduled appointment date. To cancel your examination appointment, contact ProctorU.   If you fail to cancel your exam 24 hours prior to your scheduled exam you will forfeit all fees. After you have canceled your examination appointment, proceed to Step 2.

If you have not scheduled your exam appointment, proceed to step two.

Step Two

To withdraw from the examination and obtain a refund, all candidates must notify USSSA of their intent to withdraw by submitting the request by email. Candidates will receive a refund minus an administrative fee (see examination fees chart in the Candidate Handbook Section 2.1). 

Candidates who submit a request for refund but did not cancel their examination appointment with ProctorU or did not cancel at least 24 hours before their scheduled appointment date will forfeit 100% of all fees.

Refunds will be issued no later than 4 weeks after the request is received, and will be made in the same manner the original payment was made in.

Transfer to Another Testing Date

Please follow the steps below to reschedule:

  1. Log into your ProctorU account or click here to visit the scheduling page
  2. Select your Exam you’re taking 
  3. Choose the date and time you’d like to take the exam and click Schedule.

To avoid premiums, please be sure to schedule or reschedule any reservations more than 72 hours in advance.

No Show/Late Arrival 

It is recommended that Candidates present themselves ten (10) to fifteen (15) minutes before the scheduled start time for taking the exam and are refused admittance to the exam.

Candidate should log into their ProctorU account 2-3 minutes before the scheduled time of the exam. 

On the “My Sessions” page on your ProctorU account, there will be a countdown timer showing how much time they have until their exam. When the timer reaches 0:00, a “Start Session” button will appear.

Candidates will click the “Start Session” button to begin their session. This will not take them into their exam immediately. Candidates will have to go through a brief start process before their exam is unlocked. 

Candidates should expect the start process to take up  to 12 minutes to launch.

Candidates who do not appear for their scheduled examination appointment within 60 minutes past their scheduled appointment, or who do not cancel their appointment within the specified time frame (at least 24 hours before the scheduled appointment) will be considered no-shows and will forfeit all fees. There will be a fee to reschedule an exam for no-shows.

Candidates who do not have a scheduled appointment with ProctorU and who do not request a refund on or before the last date of their examination administration window will be considered no-shows and will forfeit all fees.

Emergencies

Every attempt will be made to administer all examinations as scheduled. However, should any problems occur due to the testing vendor, the exam will be rescheduled at no cost to the candidate.

If the exam is unable to be administered or if any candidate is unable to arrive at a designated exam site because of inclement weather, terrorist acts, a natural disaster or other unforeseen emergencies beyond control of the candidate as determined by the USSSA, the candidate may receive an extended testing window (to be determined on an individual basis) and be allowed to reschedule the examination without being charged a re-examination fee. Candidates must contact USSSA as soon as possible if they are unable to take the exam due to an emergency.

Recertification Guidelines

These guidelines are intended to promote professional responsibility related to maintaining the Fundamental Swim Instructor certification.

General Guidelines

Upon earning the CFSI credential, certification remains valid for the following three complete calendar years (one recertification cycle). Certificants have two options for recertifying, either retaking the exam or recertifying through continuing education credits.

**ALL Certificants must continue to meet certification eligibility criteria**

Certificants may recertify every three years by retaking the exam.

                                                                OR

Certificants may recertify every three years by obtaining 24 Continuing Education Unit (CEU) Credits. Non-CEU credit hours may be accepted on a case-by-case basis via self-attestation. All credits must be related to the role of the Swim Instructor. 

NOTE: Continuing Professional Education (CEU) credits must come from nationally approved or recognized continuing education providers to include national professional organizations or the U.S. Swim School Association. 

  • Credits must be distributed throughout the three-year certification cycle. Continuing education credits must be earned from Swim Instructor related conferences; seminars or workshops; online courses are acceptable.
  • Continuing education credits are defined in the Activity Matrix below.
  • Renewal applications and activity logs are due 30 days before the end of the certification cycle 

Category

Activity-Continuing education may include any of the following:

Continuing

Education Units

(CEU) Credits

1

Current CPR certification

Required

2

Current Background Check

https://www.usswimschools.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/USSSA-Background-Check-Packages.pdf 

Required

3

CEUs from Sponsor Organization list

Up to 24 hours from attending education programming from the following:

  • USSSA Infant Toddler courses
  • USSSA online courses
  • USSSA conferences and workshops
  • Lifeguard recertification (StarGuard, Red Cross, etc.)
  • National Drowning Prevention Alliance (NDPA)
  • StarGuard
  • Starfish Aquatics Institute (SAI)
  • Swim America
  • American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA)
  • Australia Swim School Association (ASSA)
  • Canada Swim School Alliance (CSSA)
  • Learning and Brain conference
  • Accredited Early Childhood Education and/or Child Development
  • Special Needs – USSSA Special Abilities courses or Swim Angelfish
  • up to five (5) hours from quality in-house training/education

Up to 24 CEUs

4

Other:

  • Presenter at annual conference (three (3) hours for one hour presentation and two hours of preparation)
  • Author of an article for USSSA newsletter (up to three (3) hours for authoring an article of at least 350 words)
  • Subject matter expert that results in course creation for USSSA (up to four (4) hours for development of course content and/or interviews as a subject matter expert)

Up to 24 CEUs

CE Record Retention

Documentation for all activities submitted for CEU credit must be retained by the certificant for a period of three years following submission. 

  • USSSA reserves the right to audit a certificant’s records; any CEU credit that cannot be documented during the audit process may be disqualified.
  • During any three-year recertification cycle, it is the responsibility of a certificant to maintain a current address and contact information with the USSSA office. 

Recertification Fees

Recertification by continuing education credits

Member

$100

Non-member

$175

Recertification by Testing

Member

$132

Non-member

$207

Code of Ethics for CFSI Professionals

All CFSIs must adhere to the United States Swim Schools Association Code of Ethics.

Fraudulent Use of CFSI Credential

USSSA shall thoroughly investigate all reports of an individual fraudulently using the CFSI credential. If proof is obtained that an individual who is not authorized to use the CFSI credential has used the credential, USSSA shall write a letter to the individual stating that USSSA has documented proof that the individual has used the CFSI credential, and that USSSA has no record of the individual’s certification or renewal of expired certification. The individual shall be requested to provide proof of current USSSA certification (e.g., prove that certification was obtained under a different name) or immediately discontinue use of the credential. The individual shall be informed that if fraudulent use of the credential continues, USSSA shall take the appropriate action against the individual.

Discipline and Complaints

USSSA enforces the Code of Ethics for Swim Instructors for all CFSI certificants and individuals in the process of obtaining CFSI certification. USSSA will investigate reported violations of the Code of Ethics for Swim Instructors. Complaints regarding alleged violations should be reported to USSSA in writing and should include a detailed description of factual allegations supporting the charges and any relevant supporting documentation. Information submitted during the complaint and investigation process is considered confidential and will be handled in accordance with USSSA’s Confidentiality policy. Adverse disciplinary decisions made by USSSA (or its sub-committees) may be appealed. A complete copy of the Discipline and Complaints policy and procedure and the Appeal policy and procedure can be found here: https://www.usswimschools.org/code_of_ethics/.

Confidentiality of Records

Candidate and Certificant information is confidential and will not be released or given to anyone other than to legally-required agencies. The Exam Security Policy listed in the Candidate Handbook provides information on confidentiality. 

USSSA maintains all applications, test results and other pertinent information for the certification program. The application, exam format, results and any other pertinent information are considered confidential and privileged information and will not be revealed to anyone without the applicant’s written permission unless required by law. 

USSSA certification staff and its testing agency are the only individuals allowed access to the certification files. USSSA certification staff will only verify that an individual is certified and will not reveal whether an individual has even applied for the exam. If a candidate’s employer pays for certification, certification staff can verify if application has been approved. No personal information about the applicant or certificant will be revealed unless written permission has been obtained from the certificant or applicant.

Verification of Certification 

Certficants will receive  an electronic certificate listing their valid 3-year certification period. USSSA certification staff will only verify that an individual is certified upon request.

Changes to Terms and Conditions

Any changes to the CFSI Handbook and/or Terms and Conditions are at the sole discretion of the United States Swim School Association and will be updated in writing in online publication of the CFSI Handbook and/or Terms and Conditions. You acknowledge it is your responsibility to regularly visit our website and check for updates or revisions to these documents and that by using our website or services after any such updates or revisions, you agree to be bound by and subject to such updates or revisions.