Lifeguard requirements are not overwhelming, especially if you are already in-shape and comfortable in the water. However, you can’t quite decide to become a guard this week and get a job by next week no matter how physically fit you are. It will take a number of weeks to gain the certifications necessary to become qualified for any professional jobs.
There are 3 certificates that you must receive before you will be eligible for any jobs:
- Lifeguarding Certification
- CPR/AED Training
- First Aid Training
You can find these certification courses at a number of local colleges, swim schools, and YMCA branches. One of the most reputable and widely acknowledged courses is given by the American Red Cross. Their Lifeguarding Course covers all three of these credentials and is a highly recommended program in most areas of the country (unless another local training program has a higher reputation among employers, such as the City of Los Angeles certification in southern California).
Keep in mind that laws can vary from state to state but the necessity is consistent for having a general lifeguarding certification, CPR/AED, and First Aid qualifications. If you are unsure about the rules in your area, speak with someone at your local Red Cross, YMCA, or any facility that offers a course.
Becoming a lifeguard demands a high level of physical fitness. To get a certification, people taking a course must pass a couple of physical tests to prove that they have the fitness ability to perform on the job. You can read more about these tests on the Lifeguard Certification Requirements page.
If you are worried about meeting the physical demands, also read our page on Lifeguard Physical Requirements. You’ll find that passing the tests and even performing the job is quite achievable for nearly everyone. Discipline and dedication in a training program can completely transform a couch potato into a lifeguard!
In order to be eligible for most certification courses, you must be at least 15 years old.
For anyone under this age with a strong interest in learning more, there’s the option of doing a pre-certification program through the American Red Cross. It is called “Junior Lifeguarding” and is available for people 11 to 14 years old.