What lifeguard courses do I need to take?
Everyone needs to have three certificates to start their career: Lifeguarding, CPR/AED, and first aid training. Also depending on where you would like to work (at the beach, at a pool, in a waterpark), you should be aware that there are various types of lifeguard certification. Each will certify you to work in a different aquatic environment: at your local pool, at a waterpark, at nonsurf water areas like rivers and lakes, or at surf water locations like beaches.
When looking for a school, it’s helpful to be aware of the certification requirements for your local area because these can vary among states. The three certifications (lifeguarding, First Aid, and CPR/AED) are required nationally but there are other details regarding the swim test or additional qualifications that might be different in your state. To get a better understanding of these rules, speak with someone at the facility where you are considering taking lessons. They are certain to know this information.
But if you’re still having trouble finding the requirements for your local area, also try doing an internet search for “[Your State] State Parks” to find the State Parks website for your state. You might also try looking at your state’s Department of Health website. Use the search bar on the site to search for “lifeguard” or “lifeguarding.” You might find job postings or other helpful information on these sites as well.
What physical tests do I need to pass?
Every school is going to be a little different and depending on which type of qualification you want, the physical demands may be more rigorous, such as with the waterfront and surf classes.
But for the general lifeguarding certification (which qualifies you to work in a pool area), the physical test tends to be rather similar among schools. On our lifeguard certification requirements page is a brief description of the physical tests through the American Red Cross and many schools have an almost identical testing program. If you can pass this examination, you should be good for the ones at almost any school.
Where can I find lifeguard courses in my local area?
Lifeguard certification courses are available all over the country at local colleges, local chapters of the American Red Cross and the YMCA, Jeff Ellis and Associates, and other aquatic centers offering swimming lessons.
You can also find local lifeguarding courses through following the institutions:
- Boy Scouts of America
- Starfish Aquatics Institute
- National Aquatic Safety Company
- American Lifeguard Association
- United States Lifesaving Association (USLA)