United States Water Fitness Association
The Central Aquatics Information Resource for over 30 Years
"The health and safety of our participants, including our instructors, is our top priority."
- John Spannuth, USWFA President/CEO

National Certification Course for Water Fitness Instructors (Shallow and Deep Water)
The 25th Edition of the National Water Fitness Instructors Manual is now available. The manual and course have been updated and improved and are much more comprehensive than ever before.
This course is now a
Home Study / Distance Learning Course
This course is designed so you can complete the course at your own pace (speed). How soon you get your certification depends on how anxious you are to get it and how fast you work to complete the work.

Course Value

This course can provide value, including the following possibilities:
  • Provide you with a national water exercise certification and credential.
  • Increase your credibility by holding a national certification.
  • Continue and enhance your professional development.
  • Help you to feel more confident.
  • Increase your potential earning power.
  • Give you ideas that will help you to be more innovative and creative.
  • Have more fun and produce fun for others.
  • Help you to understand why it is so important to change with the times.
  • Expand your water exercise skills and proficiency.
  • Energize and stimulate you.
  • Help you to be more knowledgeable.
  • Understand that there is always room to grow and develop more of your talents.
  • Give you new information and reminders of things you saw or learned in the past but have not used lately or for a long time.
  • Learn more. Keep up with, or ahead of, other water fitness instructors with the latest up-to-date ideas, information, changes, trends, etc.

USWFA National Certification for Water Fitness Instructors Time Line

Time line of the development and growth of the USWFA National Certification for Water Fitness Instructors:
The basic development of the course.
The First National Certification Course for Water Fitness Instructors was held May 14 and 15, 1988 in Norman Oklahoma. This course led to the USWFA National Certification Course.
The 1st Edition of the manual was published. Up to that point, packets of materials were made available to persons who were taking the course and being certified. The course was a grueling two day course.
Major changes were made to the course. The course was updated and improved from a grueling two-day course to a user-friendly one day course where individuals were allowed to purchase the pre-course materials in advance of the course (NTD.) This gave the individuals the opportunity to read and study the materials and then attend a one-day National Testing Day to conduct the course.
The course was updated again. Major revisions of the course included a much better organized manual.
The 24th Edition of the manual was published.
The 25th Edition of the manual was published in October 2016.
National Testing Days were eliminated in December.
The course was updated and improved. The course became available as a home study/distance learning course.

Why change to a Home Study/Distance Learning Course?

Many people around the country have not been able to attend a NTD because:
  • There are a number of states where we have never had an NTD.
  • People were not able to travel to another state because:
    • The NTD was a long distance from where they live.
    • They couldn't get time off to travel to the course.
    • It was too expensive to travel to get there for a place to stay, meals, etc.
To meet the needs of more people, we have taken the following steps:
  • Eliminate the National Testing Days as of December 31, 2016.
  • Make our manual (the 25th Edition) much more comprehensive.
  • Offer a home-study course. This course replaces the NTD's. This course will:
    • Eliminate traveling to a NTD
    • Save time for many people
    • Make the course more convenient to people
  • The updated and improved certification will include:
    • The 25th Edition of the National Water Exercise Instructors Manual
    • A one hour Swimming Pool Experience

Prerequisites & Primary Course (Basic Level)

  • 16 years of age or older.
  • Interest in learning more about teaching water exercise classes.

Prerequisites & Masters Course (Advanced Level)

  • 21 years of age or older
  • Designed for experienced water exercise instructors with at least 5 years of experience teaching water exercise.

Program Fee

  • Primary Course: $277.00
  • Masters Course: $377.00
Payment may be made by check, money order, Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover. No purchase orders will be accepted. Mail, fax, or email the completed registration form and payment to USWFA National Headquarters. There are no refunds after materials are mailed. No exceptions.
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Course Material

Upon receiving your application and program fee, we will mail to you the following materials by Priority Mail:
  1. National Water Fitness Instructors Manual (25th Edition) Published October 2016 including a list and explanation of 60 different kinds of water exercise and 8 pages of information regarding how to find a job, or another job:
  2. Table of Contents
    Part 1- General Information
    Chapter 1: Understanding the USWFA (Six Sections)
    Section 1: History of the USWFA and Certification Courses
    Section 2: The USWFA Motto
    Section 3: The USWFA is on the Cutting Edge of Aquatic Programming and Administration
    Section 4: USWFA Code of Ethics for Water Exercise Instructors
    Section 5: This We Believe! Thoughts Regarding Successful Aquatic Facilites and Programs
    Section 6: Programs, Projects, and Services
    Chapter 2: Securing Your National Certification, Renewal & CEUs
    Chapter 3: Change
    Chapter 4: Populations Served
    Chapter 5: The Brain: How Do We Learn? & CEU`s
    Chapter 6: The Role of the Water Exercise Instructor
    Chapter 7: Explanation of the Big Six (Six Sections)
    Section 1: Water Walking
    Section 2: Shallow Water Exercise
    Section 3: Deep Water Exercise
    Section 4: Rehabilitation
    Section 5: Sports Specific
    Section 6: "Big Equipment" Workouts
    Chapter 8: Working with Equipment (including the USWFA Statement Regarding the Use of Water Exercise Equipment)
    Chapter 9: Past, Present and Future of Water Exercise
    Chapter 10: Water Exercise Pioneers
    Chapter 11: Water Exercise Yearly Calendar
    Part 2 - Five Categories of Water Exercise
    Chapter 12: Five Categories of Water Exercise
    Section 1: Introduction
    Section 2: Quick Synopsis of Five Categories of Water Exercise
    Section 3: Adapted Aquatics
    Section 4: Water Fitness
    Section 5: Aquatic Fitness Personal Training
    Section 6: Aquatic Therapy
    Section 7: Aquatic Physical Therapy
    Part 3 - Foundation Knowledge
    Chapter 13: General Aquatic Knowledge
    Chapter 14: Properties of Water
    Chapter 15: Anatomy & Physiology
    Chapter 16: Use of Various Body Parts (the hands, arms, legs, wrists, fingers, etc.)
    Chapter 17: Stretching
    Chapter 18: HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)
    Chapter 19: Cautions with Exercise (Seven Sections)
    Section 1: Restrictions
    Section 2: High Risk Exercises
    Section 3: Contraindications
    Section 4: Exercise Addiction
    Section 5: Exercise Induced Injury
    Section 6: Over Training
    Section 7: DOMS
    Part 4 - The Water Exercise Class
    Chapter 20: Health & Safety Basics
    Chapter 21: Learning Styles
    Chapter 22: Where to be Located When Teaching Classes
    Chapter 23: Kinds of Water Exercise Classes & Programs (Overview)
    Chapter 24: General Teaching Methods
    Chapter 25: Choreography, Music and Cueing
    Chapter 26: Humor, Fun, Laughter and Enjoyment
    Chapter 27: Understanding Specific Populations
    Chapter 28: Eliminating Boredom
    Part 5 - Water Fitness Instructor
    Chapter 29: Professionalism
    Chapter 30: Communications
    Chapter 31: Leadership
    Chapter 32: Mentors and Mentees
    Chapter 33: Customer Service
    Chapter 34: Liability and Risk Management
    Chapter 35: Personal Training Overview
    Part 6 - Motivation
    Chapter 36: Motivation (Nine Sections)
    Section 1 - Motivation in General
    Section 2 - Motivating Yourself
    Section 3 - Motivating Your Students
    Section 4 - Motivating Men to Get Involved in Water Exercise
    Section 5 - Motivating Seniors to Get Involved in Water Exercise
    Section 6 - Motivating the People Around You
    Section 7: Motivating Your Supervisor & Other People In Higher Level Positions
    Section 8: Motivating the News Media
    Section 9: The Power of the Compliment
    Part 7 - The Lifestyle of Health & Fitness
    Chapter 37: National Health & Fitness Update
    Chapter 38: Avoid Burnout
    Chapter 39: Lifestyle Management
    Chapter 40: Basic Physical Fitness
    Chapter 41: Health, Nutrition, and Wellness
    Chapter 42: The Mind/Body/Spirit Connection
    Part 8 - Business Aspects of Water Fitness
    Chapter 43: Why Do Water Fitness Instructors Need To Know About Business Related to Aquatics Including Water Exercise
    Chapter 44: Sales and Marketing (Three Sections)
    Section 1: Definitions Regarding Sales and Marketing
    Section 2: Your Water Exercise Program
    Section 3: How to Get a Job, or Another Job, Teaching Water Exercise
    Chapter 45: Basic Business Management
    Chapter 46: The Finances of Aquatic Fitness
    Chapter 47: Organizational Structure
    Part 9 - Water Exercise
    Chapter 48: Water Exercises (60 pages)
    Part 10 - Types of Water Exercise, Ideas, and Lesson Plans
    Chapter 49: Types of Water Exercise, Ideas, and Lesson Plans
    Section 1: 60+ of Water Exercise (15 pages)
    Section 2: Ideas (54 pages)
    Section 3: Lesson Plans (25 pages)
  3. National Water Fitness Instructors Manual Open Book Test
  4. Pool Experience Packet
  5. Masters Course students - In addition to the above three items, you will also receive:
  6. Anatomy Manual (43 pages)
  7. Anatomy Manual Open Book Test
  8. Form to Evaluate Lesson Plans from the Manual

Securing Your Certification - Primary Course

  1. Read and study the manual.
  2. Complete the Open Book Test.
  3. Complete the Pool Experience Packet.
    • The Pool Experience
      • This part of the course is designed for students who are taking the course (Primary or Masters) for the first time.
      • You should be able to complete all of the pool experience in one hour or less.
      • The experience takes place during a regular 45 minute or one hour class. This experience consists of the following:
        • The student desiring to be certified takes part in one full water exercise class (shallow or deep water).
        • The student teaches part of the class. The Primary student practice teaches 10 minutes of the total class. The Masters student teaches 20 minutes of the total class.
        • The student evaluates the total class. (Form provided.)
        • The head instructor for the class (the person teaching the full class) completes a form regarding the student who served as the student teacher during a portion of the class.
      • Locating a facility where you can do the pool experience part of your certification:
        • If you are a member or staff member of a facility that conducts water exercise classes, that might be where you want to do this portion of your course. Contact the Aquatic Director or other person who might give you permission to do it there.
        • If you can’t do it at the above mentioned facility, you should try another facility.
  4. Send a copy of your current CPR card (online courses accepted) with the completed materials above. (#2 & 3)

Securing Your Certification - Masters Course

  1. Read and study the manual.
  2. Complete the Open Book Test.
  3. Read and study the Anatomy Manual
  4. Complete the Anatomy Manual Open Book Test.
  5. Complete the Pool Experience Packet. (see information above titled The Pool Experience).
  6. Complete Form to Evaluate Lesson Plans.
  7. Send a copy of your current CPR card (online courses accepted) with the completed materials above. (#2, 3, 4, 5, & 6)

Evaluation and Certificate Issue

When all of the above completed materials are received at USWFA Headquarters, all testing materials will be scored by the President of the organization. To be eligible for final certification at the Primary Level, a score of 90% or higher is needed to pass. For Masters Level Certification, a score of 95% or higher is necessary on both the Open Book Test and Anatomy Manual Test.
Your Certification Card and Certificate will be mailed to you if you have successfully completed all of the requirements listed above. You should receive your certificate within two weeks of receipt at USWFA Headquarters.
Certifications are for a period of three years and may be renewed by sending to USWFA National Headquarters the Application to Renew and Program Fee. You will then be sent the Renewal Materials, including an updated manual, to complete and send back to us for grading.
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