How to Prepare for a Lifeguard Class

Your dream of becoming a lifeguard seems to be just on the horizon, but first: getting ready for your first lifeguard training class.. While the idea of passing your lifeguard training course may seem a big challenge, knowing what to expect will help you greatly.

If you're looking for information about prerequisite swim tests and what a lifeguard course covers, you're in the right place. Here's everything you need to know about preparing for lifeguard training!!

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Preparing for Lifeguard Classes

The idea of your first lifeguard class is both exciting and nerve-wracking. For this reason, you'll probably want to be as prepared as possible. You'll be required to preliminary swim tests to be eligible to enroll on a lifeguard instructor course, and you will also have to demonstrate specific swimming skills such as front crawl and treading the water.

Here's what you'll need to do to qualify for a lifeguarding course (you must be 15 years old to enroll):

  • Swim 300 yards continuously to demonstrate your breath control. To complete this training you can either choose to front crawl or breaststroke
  • Tread water without using your arms for 2 minutes; arms should be placed under armpits
  • Complete a timed event on the lifeguarding course in 1 minute and 40 seconds
  • Swim 20 yards with the starting point being in the pool
  • Surface dive head-first or feet-first to a pool depth of 7-10 feet and retrieve a 10-pound object
  • Swim on back returning to the start point holding the object in both arms while keeping the face at the surface of the water
  • Climb out of the pool unaided and exit the water without using a ladder.

After you have successfully completed the prerequisite swim tests for your lifeguarding course, you can then move onto the certification obtaining part of the training.

What will Lifeguard Classes include?

While there are many lifeguarding course options out there, most lifeguard training requires the same tests to be carried out. If you're interested in the certification process to become a lifeguard, here are topics covered in class:

  1. Avoiding injury and facilitating safety
  2. Patron monitoring
  3. Rescue skills
  4. Analysis of a victim
  5. Emergency treatment
  6. CPR/AED
There are two types of courses to choose from to suit your needs: Traditional course format- an in-person course that lasts on average 26 hours in total Blended Learning course format- an in-person and online course with 19.5 hours in person and 7.5 hours online
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What tests will I need to take?

In order to become a certified lifeguard, there are a number of tests that you must take as part of your lifeguard training. 

You will need to be first aid trained and your CPR abilities will be examined as part of the lifeguarding training course. As part of this, you may also be examined on aspects such as choking response or patching wounds too.

To be a lifeguard, you must also be able to tow people (that could be larger than you) out of the pool. You may be asked to perform three different types of carrying positions, each of which varies in difficulty.

In addition to practical tests, you'll also have to complete a verbal exam where you must answer every question correct as part of the training.

How can I prepare for them?

Preparing for your practical and verbal tests to complete lifeguard training can be very daunting. For this reason, you're probably looking for practical advice and tips. The good news is we have plenty of tips below for you to take advantage of ahead of your lifeguard training class and tests.

What to bring - you should bring a change of clothes, a towel, swimming trunks/costume, spare clothes to jump into the pool with some food, and a pen.

Get to know your group - as part of your lifeguarding course; you'll be put into a group. It may seem obvious, but by getting to know the people in your training class, you'll feel more confident and able to communicate.

Ask questions - don't be afraid of asking questions when you go in for your training.

CPR - practice CPR prior to having to complete this test during your lifeguard training. On the day, you are required to be examined for your ability to perform CPR successfully, try to be as confident as possible!

First Aid - be sure to research as much as you can about first aid training before completing this part of the test. There is lots of advice online, and you can always practice with friends too.

Swim and practice with diving/carrying objects - much of your ability to be a good lifeguard depends on your ability to swim well and tow a person out of water. You should practice swimming as much as possible and dive too. We also recommend carrying heavy objects to get ready for the part of the test where you must carry a 10-pound object.

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