Getting a Lifeguard Certification

In order to get a job as a Lifeguard certification, you will first have to obtain a lifeguard certification. In fact, there are 3 areas of certifications that everyone needs to have. The first is a Lifeguarding certificate that proves you have passed the basic course. The second is proof of CPR/AED training and the third is first aid training. But first in order to be eligible for a lifeguard certification course, you must be at least 15 years old by the date of the last class.

It is not difficult to find certification classes which are offered through local colleges and aquatic facilities as well as the American Red Cross and the YMCA among many other national organizations. Many courses offer training in first aid and CPR as well so it is possible to get all 3 certificates in only 1 class.

To pass the class, students must complete a physical fitness test to prove that they can meet the demands of lifeguard duties. The tests can vary depending on your instructor or the organization but generally you will be required to swim for 300 yards doing both the front crawl and the breaststroke without stopping to rest. The other part of the test usually requires participants to dive for and retrieve a 10 lb weight at the bottom of the pool.

Before enrolling in a class, you should be aware that there are different certification types which each prepare students for a specific aquatic environment with its own unique challenges. For example, the American Red Cross has 4 different classes. The standard Lifeguarding class is for working at a normal pool. The Waterpark Lifeguarding is needed to work at a waterpark and the Waterfront Lifeguarding course is for water environments like ponds, lakes, and rivers. The easiest of the 4 courses is for the Shallow Water Attendant certification which only qualifies you to work at a pool or body of water 4 feet deep or less.

Many other facilities offer similar classes but if you are dreaming of becoming a beach lifeguard, it is a little harder to find a course that specializes in this area because it is more demanding than the others. You will need to find a school that offers a course specifically in “surf” Lifeguard certification in order to be qualified to work at a beach.

While the lifeguard certification requirements are pretty standard across all areas of the country, it is helpful to know that there may be some state-specific requirements. To find out if the state you live in might be one with unique requirements, ask someone at the aquatic facility where you are thinking about taking your certification course. They will surely know the requirements and be able to give you more detailed information.


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