Prerequisites, Training, and Certification for Becoming a Lifeguard

Photo of author

By Flavia Calina

Lifeguarding is an important and rewarding job that requires a certain level of skill, training, and certification. As a lifeguard, you are responsible for ensuring the safety of individuals swimming or participating in water-related activities in public pools, water parks, or other aquatic environments. Before embarking on a career as a lifeguard, it is important to understand the prerequisites necessary to become one. 

In this article, we will discuss the necessary steps to become a certified lifeguard, including lifeguard training, certification, and skills.

Lifeguard training

The first step in becoming a lifeguard is to complete the appropriate training. Lifeguard courses are designed to provide the knowledge and skills necessary to respond to emergencies, prevent accidents, and ensure the safety of swimmers. Typically, lifeguard training courses cover a variety of topics, including water rescue techniques, CPR, first aid, and emergency response.

Lifeguard training courses can vary in length and format, but most courses require between 20-30 hours of training. Some courses are offered in a classroom setting, while others are offered online. In some cases, training courses may include a combination of classroom and practical training. 

It is important to choose a training course that is accredited by a recognized organization and meets the requirements of the lifeguard certification you are seeking.

Lifeguard certification

After completing lifeguard training, the next step is to become certified. Lifeguard certification is typically awarded by an accredited organization, such as the American Lifeguard Association, upon successful completion of a lifeguard training course.

To become certified, lifeguards must demonstrate the necessary skills and knowledge required to perform their duties effectively. Certification typically includes both written and practical exams to ensure that lifeguards have a thorough understanding of the material covered in the training course.

There are different levels of certification, such as basic, advanced, and waterfront. Basic certification typically covers skills such as CPR Certification and basic first aid, while advanced and waterfront certifications may cover additional skills such as rescue techniques and open water swimming.

It is important to note that lifeguard certification is not a one-time event. Lifeguards must typically renew their certification every two years to ensure that they remain up-to-date on the latest techniques and best practices in lifeguarding.

Skills Needed to Become a Lifeguard

In addition to lifeguard training and certification, there are a number of skills that are necessary to become a successful lifeguard. These skills include:

Swimming Ability: Obviously, lifeguards must be strong swimmers. Lifeguards should be able to swim 200-400 meters continuously without stopping.

Physical Fitness: Lifeguards should be physically fit and able to perform the duties required of them, such as swimming long distances, performing rescues, and administering CPR.

Communication Skills: Lifeguards must be able to communicate effectively with individuals of all ages and backgrounds. They must be able to give clear and concise instructions to individuals in the water and be able to provide effective feedback to swimmers.

Leadership Skills: Lifeguards must be able to take charge in an emergency situation and make quick, effective decisions.

Attention to Detail: Lifeguards must be able to pay close attention to their surroundings and be able to identify potential hazards or dangerous situations before they become emergencies.

Additional Prerequisites for Becoming a Lifeguard

In addition to the training, certification, and skills mentioned above, there are other prerequisites that may be required in order to become a lifeguard. For example, some employers may require lifeguards to undergo a background check or drug screening. 

Additionally, lifeguards may need to meet certain age requirements, such as being at least 16 years old. Another important prerequisite for becoming a lifeguard is experience. Many employers prefer to hire lifeguards who have previous experience working in an aquatic environment or who have participated in competitive swimming. 

This experience can provide lifeguards with the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively respond to emergencies and ensure the safety of swimmers.

Continuing Education for Lifeguards

Once lifeguards have completed their training and certification, it is important for them to continue their education and training. Lifeguards should stay up-to-date on the latest techniques and best practices in lifeguarding by attending regular training sessions or refresher courses. 

Additionally, lifeguards can benefit from participating in workshops or seminars on related topics such as aquatic safety, emergency response, or swimming instruction.


Becoming a lifeguard requires a significant amount of training, certification, and skill. Lifeguard training and certification courses are available from a number of accredited organizations, such as the American Lifeguard Association, and typically cover topics such as water rescue techniques, CPR, first aid, and emergency response. Lifeguards must also possess a number of skills, including strong swimming ability, physical fitness, communication skills, leadership skills, and attention to detail. 

Additionally, lifeguards may need to meet other prerequisites such as experience or age requirements, and should continue their education and training through regular refresher courses or seminars.

Also Read Interesting Articles At: Balthazar Korab.