Last Updated: April 24, 2022
Career as a Lifeguard
Becoming a lifeguard is one of the skills that one can easily acquire and practice as a summer job whenever they want to. This lifesaving skill can be taken by those who wish to take up a profession in the field and even by those who wish to just keep their loved ones safe in the water. Most of the states in the US require candidates to have a certification to be a lifeguard though one might argue that enough swimming lessons can do the trick.
The job roles are clearly defined for those who wish to be a lifeguard. And this can include communicating with people, working as part of a team, and even tackling emergency situations calmly. One might believe that being a lifeguard is often only about saving lives that are in danger but most often it entails safeguarding people from the danger which will require a lot of soft skills. The certification requirements and other qualifications that one will need to be a lifeguard varies from state to state and the responsibilities they have to take up will vary according to the water body they are dealing with. The certification has to be renewed every 2 years by taking a recertification course.
Qualifications Required to be a Lifeguard
Candidates who wish to be a lifeguard will have to take a lifeguard course from a certified institution. This course can take anywhere between 28 hours to 36 hours depending on the program one has chosen. Students will be able to take up programs that are fully offline or in a blended mode with the theory being taught in the online mode and most of the course being taught in a practical setting.
The general qualifications of a lifeguard would be to be mindful of one’s surroundings and their ability to stay calm in all situations. They will also be required to have good hand-eye coordination with agility and stamina which is essential for the job. Most lifeguard professional spaces will require candidates to have a
- Lifeguard Certification
- CPR and AED Certification
- First Aid Certification
General Requirements to be a Lifeguard
The general requirements are nearly the same throughout the country but at the same time, there can be minor changes in the requirements set by different states. This can reflect in the minimum age that is set as the requirement along with the other testing requirements for lifeguard certification. The requirements are-
- Candidate should be above 15/16 years old.
- Should be able to swim for 100 yards without resting. They will be able to use front crawl /freestyle or breaststroke this distance.
- They will have to surface dive feet-first and retrieve a 10-lb brick to the surface without trouble.
- Candidates should be able to tread water for 1 to 2 minutes without using their arms.
Types of Lifeguard Certification Courses
There are different types of certification courses offered based on the abilities of the candidate and the responsibilities they wish to fulfill. But most of the time, these courses are combined into one and provided as a combined course. Places like Red Cross also offer additional CPR/AED certifications all of which will be essential to being a lifeguard. A few of the programs that are provided separately include-
- Lifeguard Water Park
- Lifeguard Swimming Pool
- Lifeguard Instructor
- Lifeguard Waterfront
Cost for Lifeguard Certification
The cost for certification programs is dependent on the institution one is enrolling in and the mode in which the program is offered. Most of the time, it is ideal for candidates to find out the certification they require by enquiring about the facility they would like to work at. The cost of lifeguard certification can range anywhere between $150 to $500.
Responsibilities of a Lifeguard
The responsibilities of a lifeguard will include ensuring that the rules and regulations in the place are being followed. Most of their duties will be based on preventing any possible dangers and stopping people from doing improper activities. Other responsibilities include-
- Provide first-aid if there is an emergency
- Rescue people in distress or those who are drowning
- Provide artificial respiration or CPR to those in need
- Test the chemical composition of the pool
Top Certification Courses to be a Lifeguard
Interested candidates will be able to take up lifeguard certification courses which have a duration between 28 to 36 hours from different institutions. They will have to ensure that these institutions are certified and popular among places of employment. A few of the popular places from where one can take lifeguard certification programs include-
- The American Red Cross
- United States Lifesaving Association
- International Surf Lifesaving Association
- Local YMCA
- American Lifeguard Association
Places of Work for Lifeguards
A few of the places lifeguards generally work in include-
- Water Parks
- Public Pools
- Private Swimming Pools
- 5-Star Hotels
Salary Scope for a Lifeguard
The salary range for lifeguards often depends on the place one is working in and whether they are working on a seasonal basis. Permanent positions offer a higher pay when compared to other modes of the position. The mean hourly wage is $13.14 and the mean annual wage is around $27,320. Though this is the mean range, the hourly range can be anywhere between $19,180 and $36,540 based on the place one is working.
- This profession is mostly seasonal in nature but one will also be able to find a fair number of full-time jobs in this field.
- Lifeguard certification programs are provided both as offline programs and blended programs.
- Most of the jobs in this profession will be available in resort areas.
- They will also eventually be able to work as pool operators or swimming instructors in their workspace based on their experience.
- Since the profession is seasonal one will be able to find other employment opportunities or get more time for recreational activities.
- It is mostly taken up by students during vacations or by young people as a side gig. This is mainly because they will have to work on weekends and holidays more than on weekdays.
- The pay for the position is relatively low unless one is an experienced lifeguard. In that case, they will be able to get full-time jobs.