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When you hear the term “lifeguard,” you probably think up one of two visions: 1. not very mature high school kids at your local pool, or 2. beach bathers from “Beach Watch.”

The reality of a part-time lifeguard job is a bit different from the reputation that precedes it, and if you’re willing to consider working in a pool, lifeguard positions can be a great second job for adults looking to supplement their income. . In fact, I used my part-time lifeguard job into a fulfilling full-time career because I was willing to open my mind to the possibilities.

The main function of a lifeguard is quite self-explanatory: to protect lives. The guards are trained to effectively scan a body of water and the surrounding area to prevent and respond to emergencies. They are trained in CPR for professional rescuers and first aid practices, and are taught to anticipate potential problems before they arise.

However, the work does not end there. Depending on the facility, guards may be required to man the cash register, clean the grounds, clean restrooms, teach swim lessons, handle customer complaints, and perform other customer service duties as they arise. While these are great roles for young people to learn, they often come naturally to adults who have worked for several years. In fact, as someone who was in charge of first responders for almost six years, I loved hiring adult guards because they were better at staying focused, they weren’t afraid to abide by the rules, and they received more respect from a growing population of adult clients.

Why to Get Certified With American Lifeguard Association

  • Nationally-recognized organization
  • Training for individuals or small groups
  • Get certified right away!
  • Lowest price guaranteed
  • 30-day satisfaction guarantee
  • Certification training at your own pace
  • Videos and online training materials
  • Get paid for your referrals
  • Offer swimming lessons through ALA endorsed swim program
  • Discounts given to employers for staff training [Contact us for details]
  • A certification issued the day you complete the program
  • Certification listed on national verification website same day of completion


How to Become a Certified Lifeguard

To become a lifeguard, or more accurately, to become a certified lifeguard, you will need to pass a variety of tests. These tests include a written test, a swim test, and an emergency medical skills test. After passing these tests, you will be awarded a lifeguard certification issued by the American Lifeguard Association. This certification will authorize you to serve in a variety of lifeguard positions that accept American Lifeguard Association certification. To become a lifeguard, you will also need to be at least 15 years old.

Requirements to Become a Lifeguard

  • Be an age of 15 years
  • Must present a swimming certificate that states the following
  1. That applies the swimming styles: free, back, chest and butterfly.
  2. Who knows how to swim two hundred (200) meters continuously?
  3. That moves in apnea fifteen (15) meters.
  4. Which applies the static wading and forward wading style of swimming.



  • Slide-In Entry
  • Stride and Compact Jumps
  • Rescue Approach—Front Crawl or Breaststroke
  • Simple Assist
  • Extension Assist from the Deck
  • Reaching Assist with Equipment and
  • Throwing Assist
  • Swimming Extension Rescue
  • Active and Passive Drowning Victim Rear Rescue
  • Two-Person Removal from the Water
  • Using a Backboard
  • Passive Submerged Victim—Shallow Water
  • Multiple-Victim Rescue
  • Feet-First Surface Dive
  • Submerged Victim—Shallow Water
  • Front and Rear Head-Hold Escape



  • Manual In-Line Stabilization for a Head, Neck or Back Injury on Land—Lying
  • Down, Sitting, or Standing
  • Using a Backboard for a Standing Victim on Land
  • Head Splint Technique—Face-Up Victim, Shallow Water at or Near Surface
  • Head Splint Technique—Face-Dow Victim, Shallow Water at or Near Surface
  • Head and Chin Support—Face-Up Victim, Shallow Water at or Near Surface
  • Head and Chin Support—Face-Down Victim, Shallow Water at or Near Surface
  • Head Splint Technique—Face-Up Victim, Shallow Water at or Near Surface
  • Head Splint Technique—Face-Down Victim, Shallow Water at or Near Surface
  • Head and Chin Support—Face-Up Victim, Shallow Water at or Near Surface
  • Stabilization for a Submerged Victim—Face-Up, Face-Down or on One Side
  • Using a Backboard in Shallow



  • Removing Gloves
  • Initial Assessment
  • Rescue Breathing—Adult, Child, and Infant
  • Using a Bag-Valve-Mask Resuscitator—Two Rescuers
  • Conscious Choking—Adult, Child, and Infant
  • Unconscious Choking—Adult, Child, and Infant
  • CPR—Adult, Child, and Infant
  • Two-Rescuer CPR—Adult, Child, and Infant
  • Using an AED—Adult, and Child



  • Secondary Assessment
  • Controlling External Bleeding
  • Applying a Sling and Binder
  • Applying an Anatomic Splint
  • Applying a Soft Splint



  • Final Skill Scenario 1—Active Drowning Victim
  • Final Skill Scenario 2—Submerged Passive Drowning Victim

Final Skill Scenario 3—Head, Neck, or Back Injury.

Training sessions will be provided for the potential rescuer. These sessions will teach you proper stroke technique, as well as first aid and other life-saving techniques. Attendance at each of the training sessions is required. For rates and times for training sessions, contact your local American Lifeguard Association branch.

The ability to swim is one of the most important prerequisites for becoming a certified lifeguard. You must be able to swim breaststroke and freestyle, and have the stamina to swim long distances during the testing process. The swim event includes 300 yards (approximately 275 meters) of non-stop swimming: 100 yards (approximately 91 meters) of front drag, 100 yards (approximately 91 meters) of breaststroke and another 100 yards (approximately 91 meters) of any freestyle or chest blow.

In addition to proficiency in swimming, you will also need to demonstrate strong emergency medical skills. For this test, you will receive training in standard first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and will be taught how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED). These skills will be assessed through drills conducted both in and out of the water.

Becoming a certified lifeguard also requires you to successfully complete a timed test. The test consists of swimming 50 yards (approximately 46 meters), diving to the surface 7 to 10 feet (approximately 2 to 3 meters), bringing a ten pound weight (approximately 4.5 kg) to the surface, and swimming 50 yards (approximately 46 meters))

You will also be given a written exam. This test will verify your proficiency in a variety of lifeguard related rules. A score of 80 percent or higher is required on the written exam.

The American Lifeguard Certification and First Aid Certification are valid for three years, while CPR and DEA certifications are only valid for one year each. Currently first responders may also attend training review sessions, although they are not required for recertification.

What is the Lifeguard Test?

To become a certified lifeguard, prospective candidates must successfully complete the lifeguard test. This test consists of four parts including a written, timed and demonstrated swimming skills test. Each segment must be completed with ease for one person to become a certified life saver.

To participate in the test, applicants must be at least 15 years old. Additionally, all candidates must register for the exam at a local test location. When registering for the exam, each applicant is expected to complete several training sessions. These sessions consist of numerous life-saving techniques and procedures that are vital to the lifeguard profession. While these courses are mandatory, they are not free. Contacting a local American Lifeguard Association branch they will help determine the cost of lifeguard courses in addition to the trial fee.

Along with the various parts of the lifeguard test, all candidates must also complete a timed test that is administered by a American Lifeguard Association official. This test includes a surface dive, a simulated rescue task, and a 50-meter (45.72-yard) swim. This test is relatively difficult and requires a fair amount of stamina and skill.

Since lifeguards must be strong swimmers, the most important segment of the lifeguard test is the swim portion. All potential first responders must be able to complete each swim section of the event, including a basic stroke, a 300-yard (274-meter) continuous swim, and a freestyle segment. Essentially, all Red Cross first responders must have the strength to swim for a long period of time without tiring.

After the swimming section, a written test is administered. This consists of questions related to basic medical safety and prevention. The American Lifeguard Association will provide all candidates with a written exam guide that must be read and understood thoroughly before attempting to complete the written portion of the exam, as all candidates must score 80 percent or better on the written exam to pass this part of the exam.

Additionally, candidates must be able to demonstrate learned skills in front of a judge. Skills to be assessed include basic cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) skills, first aid skills, and other life-saving tasks. American Lifeguard Association lifeguard certification is awarded to those who successfully complete the lifeguard test.

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