Having your lifeguard certification in Virginia (VA) can be an exciting opportunity, especially with the state’s popular beaches that tourists flock to in the summertime. Keep in mind that the environment in which you want to work, such as at a pool or at the beach, will determine the training requirements and physical tests that you must pass to be eligible for employment.
For example to get a job through the Virginia Beach Lifesaving Service (VBLS), candidates must pass more rigorous tests than those for pool lifeguards. To have their completed applications considered, potential lifeguards must be at least 16 years old and must pass a swim test of 500 meters within 10 minutes. The VBLS encourages applicants to obtain an American Red Cross (ARC) or YMCA lifeguarding certification before even applying. This certificate along with prior first aid and CPR training give candidates an edge. Only after being hired for the season will you receive training for a free ocean lifeguard certification. Besides preparing physically, the VBLS also suggests The United States Lifesaving Association Manual of Open Water Lifesaving as recommended reading. Lifeguards must pass a written test based on the information in this handbook.
If you think that beach lifeguarding is not for you, then rest assured that there are plenty of other employment opportunities such as at pools or in waterparks. Both the cities of Charlottesville and Virginia Beach offer American Red Cross certified lifeguard training. Completion of this course will also provide students with first aid and CPR training. To learn more about the typical ARC requirements, visit our page on standard lifeguard certification requirements or look in the resources section below for links to visit the city websites.
Employment can also be found through private staffing agencies. Premier Aquatics requires potential employees to pass testing similar to that given by the American Red Cross with a 300 meter swim, a brick retrieval test, and a written exam. Virginia Pool Services, Inc. is another company that employs lifeguards. Currently they do not offer lifeguard training but encourage anyone interested to contact a local chapter of the American Red Cross. Applicants must attend at least one of their orientation sessions to be considered eligible for employment.