It is not easy to become a lifeguard, as many might feel that simply being able to swim is enough. The process of becoming a lifeguard is tough, and getting certified as a lifeguard in the USA is much tougher. For starters, there are three main types of certificates that you will need to achieve before you start working as a certified lifeguard. Each certificate must be renewed when expired to keep working as a lifeguard.
1. Basic Lifeguard Training
2. CPR/AED for the professional Rescuer
If you are taking a class from American Red Cross, or an institution certified by them, there will cover all three aspects in their classes, and the certificates are generally valid for approximately 2 years.
The length of each course is approximately spread out across 25 hours, over a number of weeks or days.
If the course you are taking does not cover CPR/AED training, then it is your responsibility to take this class elsewhere, and get a certificate. For instance, if you like you can get the First Aid class at American Red Cross, and the CPR/AED certification class at American Heart Association.
The information may vary from school to school, and the list we are providing you with is for American Red Cross courses. However, some branches of the American Red Cross might follow a different format. If you can successfully complete the swim test explained below, you will be able to take on any basic lifeguard class.
Here are a few questions you need to answer, and if you answer yes to each and every one of them. Only then will you be able to move forward, after completing this test successfully.
1.Are you capable of swimming 300 yards following these 3 stroke swimming styles, keeping in mind the proper form and order.
i.Freestyle (Front Crawl) - 100 yards.
ii.Breaststroke - 100 yards.
iii.Freestyle or breaststroke for remaining 100 yards.
2.Are you capable of reviving weight from the bottom of the pool within 1 minutes and 40 seconds. The time begins when you are inside the water, and freestyle or breaststroke for 20 yards. After that you will be required to rescue a 5 kg weight that has been placed 10ft below the surface of the water. Once you have retrieved the weight, you must successfully swim back to the starting point and get out of the pool without use the ladder.
A standard pool size in the USA is 25 yards, so you will have to swim 12 lengths for the 300 yard test. However, if you are training in an Olympic sized pool, keep in mind that their length is 50 meters, which makes about 54.68 yards.
Furthermore, if you are looking to get certified as a “Waterfront” Lifeguard for rivers, non-surf beaches, and lakes; the requirements will change. Because apart from the weight tests individuals will be required to swim for 550 yards.
●Freestyle (front crawl) - 200 yards
●Breaststroke - 200 yards
●A combination, of anyone - 150 yards.
These are the basic requirements, individuals need to fulfil to become a certified lifeguard in the USA. Keep in mind that each state might follow different laws, so you are in sync with the local laws regarding certification.