Lifeguard Class Requirements

Becoming a lifeguard is an excellent idea and comes with many benefits. You'll be able to help keep yourself and others safe and can really make a difference in difficult situations.

When you're considering taking on lifeguard training, it's important you consider your chosen course's requirements, and whether you're able to meet them. Most providers will ask you to demonstrate basic swimming skills and will require you to pass a few tests in order to achieve your lifeguard certification.

If you're feeling unsure about what you'll need to do to become a lifeguard, this little guide will take you the basic requirements for lifeguard training courses in the US, and give you handy information on how you can make sure you're as prepared as possible to take on your new class.

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Requirements for Taking a Lifeguard Class

We've answered some of the most commonly asked questions about lifeguarding courses, to help you on your water to becoming open water or swimming pool lifeguard.

What will I need to start a class?

It's important to keep in mind that class requirements will vary according to your local area. It's always best to double-check with your chosen course provider, but here are a few things that most lifeguarding courses tend to require:

  • You must meet the minimum age requirement for your training program. This tends to be 17, but some states allow people as young as 15 to take a course. Keep in mind that you'll need to be at least 16 years old in order to work as a lifeguard on a beach.
  • All participants will need to pass a basic swim test. This generally includes a front crawl swim of around 100 yards, and often a 100-yard breaststroke test, too. You may also be asked to tread water for a certain period of time, and will usually be asked to perform a surface dive in order to retrieve a weighted brick or similar item.

Your lifeguard course provider will usually check that you meet these requirements on the first day of class. For this reason, it's always a good idea to practice any swimming techniques ahead of time, and ensure you have proof of age and identity to hand.

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What will my lifeguarding course cover?

In order to become a lifeguard, you'll need to complete several areas of training, that will prepare you to help swimmers who get into trouble whilst in the water.

Your lifeguarding course structure may vary depending on your provider, but the general training tends to remain fairly similar. Here are some of the areas that are covered by the American Aquatics and Safety Training training course for lifeguards:

  • Rescue Techniques: This includes multiple victim rescue, shallow and deep water assists, and safe water entry.
  • Life Saving Techniques: This includes First Aid / CPR / AED for children and adults.
  • Rescue Scenario Practice: This involves preparing for different water safety incidents, including rescues in the event of neck or back injuries.

What will I need to complete a class?

In order to complete the course, you'll need to undergo a few tests that will check what you have learned. Your course provider will give you more detailed information on what to expect from any exams, but the general requirements for becoming an American Aquatics and Safety Training certified lifeguard include:

  • Attendance of all classes in the course and participating in all activities.
  • Successful completion of any practical tests. This includes deep water object retrieval, a 300 yard swim test demonstrating front crawl and breaststroke skills, and passing any rescue skills scenarios.
  • Successful demonstration of lifeguarding First Aid / CPR / AED skills.
  • Completion of written or verbal examinations - with the usual pass mark being 80% or above.
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How can I prepare?

Preparing for your Lifeguard Training Course and any exams is really important. It will make sure there are no delays to completing your qualification and ensure you have the skills you need to keep others safe.

A great way to prepare for your lifeguarding course is to research the syllabus ahead of time. This way, you'll know what to expect, and will be able to gather the documents you need, and practice for your water skills test.

It's also a great idea to speak with your instructor so that they can give you more detailed information on what tests you'll need to pass to gain your lifeguarding certificate. Therefore, you'll be able to ensure you're revising the right areas for your written exams and will know which water safety and first aid techniques your course requires.

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