What it takes to get a Lifeguard Certification

Lifeguard Job


Whether it’s a summer outdoor position or working indoors during the colder months, being a lifeguard offers flexibility, plenty of time poolside, and valuable skills. You’ll combine your love of swimming with the benefits of altruism by keeping the pool safe for all.

 To get you prepared for a position as a lifeguard, here’s a rundown of what it takes to get a lifeguard certification:


The Swim Test

Before you start training make sure you’ve mastered the basics. The required swim test will check your swimming abilities. To complete this test you’ll need to:

number1 Swim 300 yards (or about 6 laps)

number2 Tread water (for 2 minutes, legs only)

number3 Complete a timed event (see how to pass the brick test)

American Red Cross Lifeguard Training

Now that you have the basics, it’s time to enroll in certification training. Start with the Red Crosscheck your state’s requirements to see what courses to take. Generally, lifeguard training takes 25 hours to complete with weekend, accelerated, and written online training options available. Over the course of  training, you’ll become comfortable with:

Preventing, recognizing, and responding to emergencies in the water

Providing care for breathing and cardiac injury

Applying proper first-aid

Administering  CPR and AED treatment

To demonstrate your understanding you’ll need to attend all classes, pass a written test (with a score of 80% or better), and successfully complete 3 skill scenarios. After you’ve passed  — with flying colors– you’ll receive an American Red Cross certificate. Valid for two years, you can show off your lifesaving abilities and apply to any lifeguard position with confidence.

Under 15?

It’s not too soon to think about a job as a lifeguard. Join a junior lifeguard program to prepare!

Get Started!

By signing up  for training through Guard For Life, we can guide you through the process and help you figure out what training you need based on your schedule, prior certifications, experience, where you live, and which pools are hiring. We can also help you find and apply for jobs. For more read “How to Become a Lifeguard: 5 Steps” or visit our “Become A Lifeguard” page.

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