Is Your Lifeguard Certification Up-to-Date?

There are always lifeguarding opportunities throughout the year, so make sure your certification is up to date so you’ll be ready to snag that job! Even if you don’t have plans to work in the off season, maintaining your certifications over the winter months means you’ll be ready to start working Memorial Day weekend. American Pool is here to help and our Guard for Life programs make it easy to find a certification course that’s convenient for you. American Pool’s Guard for Life program works with the American Red Cross to train over 2,500 lifeguards every year. We offer training courses nationwide, year-round. Find a course near you, and get recertified so you can continue to keep our communities safe and swimming!!

How to Get Recertified

Guard for Life offers tons of training courses throughout the year to make getting recertified easy! Your lifeguard certification is valid for 2 years, after which you will need to become recertified. For the first 30 days after your certification expires, you have the option of taking a shorter review course (13 hours) so it makes sense to plan ahead. If your certification has been expired for longer than 30 days, you’ll have to take the full training course which is completed in approximately 28 hours and 35 minutes. Of course, the class is always a bit easier for someone who’s been through the training before.

How do I pass the lifeguard review course?

  • Review your Lifeguard Training Materials and Videos
  • Register, attend, and participate in all class sessions.
  • Demonstrate your competency in all required skills and activities.
  • Demonstrate competency in all required final rescue skill scenarios.
  • Pass both the Section 1-CPR/AED for the Professional Rescuer and First Aid and Section 2-Lifeguarding Skills final written exams with minimum grades of 80 percent.

What If I Missed the Recertification Deadline? 

Did you miss the 30-day recertification deadline? No problem! Guard for Life has you covered. You just have to retake the original American Red Cross Lifeguard Training Course. The purpose of the course is to provide participants with the knowledge and skills to prevent, recognize and respond to aquatic emergencies and provide care for breathing and cardiac emergencies, injuries, and sudden illnesses until emergency medical services (EMS) personnel take over. Some lifeguard training courses will require the pretest being done prior to the start day. We have everything you need to know about each lifeguard certification class type.

After passing the lifeguarding course, you’re officially certified again! Nervous about passing the course again? Don’t be! You’ve got this! Take the process one step at a time. The first step is to pass the pretest. Here’s a reminder of what’s on the pretest and some tips to help you pass!

How do I pass the lifeguard pretest?

  1. You must be at least 15 years old 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.

Tips to Pass the Pretest!

  • Don’t burn yourself out! There is no time limit on the 300 yard swim, so take your time! Don’t use up all of your energy trying to race through this first portion of the test. You’ll be too tired to complete the other sections.
  • Learn your best surface dive! During the timed event portion, American Red Cross allows you to surface dive in head-first or feet-first as you approach a victim. Learn which dive you can comfortably do the fastest.
  • Swim to the bottom! During the timed event, some lifeguard candidates swim down just enough to grab the 5lb brick, and then swim back up. However, it’s faster to swim all the way to the bottom, grab the weight, place your feet on the bottom, and then use your legs to push yourself up.
  • Hold on to the brick properly! To pass this test, you need to keep BOTH hands on the brick. Don’t let go, and don’t drop it!
  • Wear a swim cap! Swim caps will keep hair out of your face and help you swim faster.
  • Check out our Pretest Video!

Even though it’s not prime pool season, there will always be lifeguarding opportunities. In order to take advantage of these opportunities, your certification must be up-to-date. Register for training, and make sure that you can keep lifeguarding with Guard for Life throughout the year. Check out our local lifeguard opportunities!

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