DIY Guide: How to Become a Lifeguard

DIY Guide: How to Become a Lifeguard
When it comes to water safety, few people know better than a lifeguard. But how do you become a lifeguard? That’s the question we’re tackling today on the Pool Fence DIY blog.

Why Become a Lifeguard?

There are lots of reasons to become a lifeguard. For younger people it’s often a summer job for extra money to pay for school. For others, it’s a lifelong calling. No matter what, it’s one of the most important jobs a person can hold. After all, there’s so much more to lifeguarding than working on your tan and playing in the pool.

As you may have guessed, it’s a fair deal more important that that. Swimmers are entrusting their lives and the lives of their children to you. It’s a sacred position that can be enormously rewarding to the right candidate.

How Do You Become a Lifeguard?

Before you become a lifeguard you’ll need three things:

  • Training
  • Certification
  • A job!

You’ll have to figure out that last one for yourself. For now, let’s talk about training and certification. Besides, you can’t get a job without completing the first two parts.

Where to Find Training?

There are many reputable organizations that offer lifeguard training, but we’ll focus on the American Red Cross. In addition to being a nationwide organization, they’re all quite well known. The American Red Cross offers lifeguarding and water safety courses all year long. You’ll be instructed in the necessary skills by trained professionals.

We use lifeguard as a catch-all term, but there are really a wide variety of training disciplines. The Red Cross offers several course, including:

  • Lifeguarding
  • Aquatic instructor training
  • Safety training for swim coaches, and more.

Above all, you should make absolutely sure to take the course that best fits your goals. The American Red Cross lifeguard classes–and other reputable programs–are designed to deliver valuable information while training you with the following skills:


  • If you’re looking to become a lifeguard at a beach or pool, this is the course for you.

 Aquatic Attraction Lifeguarding

  • This course track is designed for participants looking to lifeguard at waterparks or pools. Typically, this focuses on those featuring attractions and a maximum water depth of 3 feet or less.
  • Aquatic Attraction Lifeguarding includes the waterpark skills module

 Shallow Water Lifeguarding

  • Finally, this shallow water lifeguarding course is designed for participants that wish to work at aquatic facilities with a maximum water depth of 5 feet or less.

According to the American Red Cross website, these courses are designed to keep you informed on the latest and most effective lifeguarding techniques today. Whether you choose to train with the Red Cross or another company, the total amount of time you’ll need to train ranges anywhere from 15 to 30 hours.

Become Certified!

Fortunately, certification is often included as part of a training course. Above all, to complete your training, you’ll want to be certified in:

  • Basic lifeguard training
  • CPR
  • First Aid

The certification test can vary between training programs. Basically, you’ll need to be a strong swimmer and how to save others from drowning. Often you’ll be tested while actively being weighed down by a heavy brick. It might seem daunting, but this is where all that training pays off!

Please note, if you’ve selected a training program that does not include certification training, you’ll need to seek those elsewhere. You’re not a lifeguard until you’ve completed this task.

Become a Lifeguard!

That’s it. You’re a fully certified lifeguard. Like the name implies, you’re ready to protect the lives of every person in the water. You’ll need to stay alert and actively supervise the area at all times. Welcome to the wildly rewarding career of a lifeguard.

Now all that’s left to do is… get a job! That part can be understandably tricky… but unfortunately, job hunting is a little outside our depth.

Good luck, lifeguards!