How to Become a Lifeguard
You must take the Y's lifeguard certification course before working as a lifeguard. This course is designed to provide the participants with the knowledge and skills needed to be a lifeguard and professional rescuer. Participants will be certified in Basic Life Support (formerly CPR PRO), Basic First Aid, and Emergency Oxygen Administration.
All lifeguard certification classes will also cover safety skills, accident prevention, scanning, guarding techniques, emergency systems, rescue skills, first aid in the aquatic environment, spinal injury management, open water dangers, legal responsibilities, pool management, and information on how to get a job as a lifeguard. Lifeguard certification requirements include attending all classes and completing e-learnings before you attend the in-class portion.
Prerequisites for the Program
You must meet certain requirements to be eligible for YMCA lifeguard training, including that you:
- Must be at least 16 years old by the last day of the course
- Must tread water for two minutes using legs only
- Must be able to swim 100 yards of front crawl
- Must swim 50 yards each of various strokes
- Front crawl with the head up
- Breaststroke with the head up
- Elementary backstroke kick with hands on the chest.
- Must do a surface dive feet-first, get to 10 feet underwater, then swim for 15 feet underwater
- Must be able to sprint 60 feet, do a surface dive head-first to retrieve an object 10 feet below, tread water for one minute without your hands, return the object to its former position, swim the remainder of the pool, exit the pool and do 100 chest compressions on a mannequin
Benefits of Lifeguard Certification With the YMCA
Lifeguarding is one of the best early career opportunities for teens and young adults, and it's a great summer job or career for adults. Lifeguard certification classes help develop leadership and communication skills and can lead to improved self-confidence. Plus, lifeguards often have to work together, which helps with using communication skills and can prepare someone for a future career in a team-oriented environment.
Upcoming YMCA Lifeguarding & Swim Lesson Instructor Courses
If you're looking for a lifeguard certification class, check out our list of upcoming classes below: