The Lifeguard Pretest – What you need to know:

You’re dreaming of a summer spent working by the pool as a lifeguard. Before you can take the stand, you must first pass the Lifeguard Training Course and Prerequisites and there are a few things you should know. The Red Cross Lifeguarding pretest is designed to evaluate physical competency- strength, endurance, and comfort in the water. It is a prescreen to identify if a person could reasonably participate safely and have a chance to successfully complete the lifeguarding course.

The training is designed to arm you with the skills and knowledge you’ll need to prepare for a variety of scenarios in and around the water. Through training, you will learn how quick response times and effective preparation are vital to being a lifeguard. You’ll also understand the crucial elements needed to help prevent drownings and injuries.

How to pass the pretest:

  1. You must be 15 years old on or before the final scheduled session of your course.
  2. Swim 300 yards continuously demonstrating breath control and rhythmic breathing. Candidates may swim using the front crawl, breaststroke or a combination of both but swimming on the back or side is not allowed. Swim goggles may be used.
  3. Tread water for 2 minutes using only the legs. Candidates should place their hands under the armpits.
  4. Complete a timed event within 1 minute, 40 seconds.
  • Starting in the water, swim 20 yards. The face may be in or out of the water. Swim goggles are not allowed.
  • Surface dive, feet-first or head-first, to a depth of 7 to 10 feet to retrieve a 10-pound object.
  • Return to the surface and swim 20 yards on the back to return to the starting point with both hands holding the object and keeping the face at or near the surface so they can get a breath. Candidates should not swim the distance underwater. Exit the water without using a ladder or steps.

Once you have successfully completed the pretest, you will move on to the certification process which consists of two options:

  1. The traditional, in-person course format (27 hours, 25 minutes)
  2. Blended Learning course format (19.5 hours in person, 7.5 hours online).

American Pool provides several training opportunities year-round, just find and register for a training course near you. Don’t forget to apply for a position today and work at a pool near you!

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