Lifeguard Certification Overview
Lifeguards monitor recreational swimming areas and keep watch for the injured, possibly administering CPR, contacting medical staff, and rescuing civilians. Responding effectively to high-stress situations and staying alert are important parts of the daily job. Becoming a lifeguard may be achieved through a combination of both in-person training and online applications.
|Required Skills||Attentiveness, excellent swimming, public speaking, critical thinking|
|Job Growth*||7% for 2018-2028 (Lifeguards, Ski Patrol, and Other Recreational Protective Service Workers)|
|Median Salary (2018)*||$22,410 (Lifeguards, Ski Patrol, and Other Recreational Protective Service Workers)|
Source: *U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics
How to Become a Certified Lifeguard
Although other agencies might offer lifeguard certifications, the American Red Cross may be the most prevalent provider. In order to become a Red Cross certified lifeguard, you usually need to be at least 15 years old by the end of your training. Certification may be accomplished on site or through a blend of online and classroom training, as shown in the following steps.
Step 1. Meet All Physical Requirements for Lifeguarding
Because lifeguards undergo extensive physical activity and demands, it is important that your body is equipped to handle stressful environments both during and after training. Prior to enrolling in lifeguard training, you will need to pass an in-person swim test. Joining a swim team may be a good way to prepare for this, as it can improve your stamina in stressful or demanding situations. You can also find sites online with exercise videos to use as guidance. These activities can help keep your body physically fit for future lifeguard endeavors.
Step 2. Preparing for Lifeguard Certification
Certification training may be obtained year round through a variety of providers, such as colleges and the YMCA. Training for certification may take place in the classroom or through blended courses that are partially online. Classes will typically include first aid, CPR, and AED, teaching you how to respond to emergency situations in a timely manner, as well as save lives and prevent injuries. The American Red Cross offers free, digital training materials, such as the lifeguard manual, that can help prepare you for certification. If you'd rather have a hard copy of the lifeguard training manual, there is a fee for purchase. The manual contains skill sheets and references that emphasize the importance of water safety and saving lives.
Step 3. Taking the Lifeguard Certification Tests
Achieving Red Cross certification requires both hands-on and written tests. Lifeguard certification is only valid for two years; however, study aides and online refresher materials are available for those seeking recertification. Documentation of your certification may be accessed online.
Step 4. Finding Lifeguard Employment
Once you have been certified, you may apply to a variety of organizations, such as private or government-owned park beach areas, school, and community pools. Tasks will include supervising water-based activities and protecting swimmers from dangerous situations, such as drowning, or from weather related events. You will also be expected to enforce swim rules and administer life-saving skills when necessary. Like most job applications, you should be able to apply for prospective jobs online via company websites and their affiliations.