Lifeguards! The first word that comes to your mind when the word is said, is, quite presumably Baywatch (big surprise!). Glamorous though it may seem on screen, if you have really set your mind on becoming a lifeguard, then there are a set of procedures, training and tests that you need to go through before you can officially be called a professional lifeguard. This CareerStint article has some pointers that you can use to know what are the steps towards getting certified as a lifeguard.
Requirements for a Lifeguard
In order to become a lifeguard, you not only need to get trained in various disciplines, but you also need to possess the required skill sets and physical requirements to get certification. Given below are the basic attributes that you require before you approach an association.
- You need to be 15 years or above in age to get accepted into a lifeguard training association.
- You need to be a proficient swimmer, especially well versed with the front crawl along with rhythmic breathing (for 100 yards), breaststroke (100 yards) and a combination of both.
- You also need to be able to dive to at least 7 feet, swim 20 yards and retrieve an object that weighs a minimum of 10 pounds. The object must be held above the water with both hands.
- Once you have the above in order, you can approach a training institute for relevant courses, which will train you in all the duties required for being a lifeguard and also in search and rescue missions.
- Make sure you approach an institute that is accredited and/or well recognized by the American Lifeguard Association.
- In fact, getting certification directly from the American Lifeguard Association makes more sense than taking a chance with another institute, as it may not be well recognized. The American Lifeguard Association has its own website which has all the information that you will require about the kind of training and courses that are offered.
- Alternatively, you can also get yourself enrolled into an American Red Cross center for training and certification. They are also quite prominent in lifeguard training and have centers all cross the nation.
- The training in these institutes will include cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), first aid for aquatic emergencies, rescue techniques, preventive measures, surveillance techniques, treating possible head and back injuries, etc.
- You will be given this training in two formats: classroom and practical. You'll have half the course in the classroom focusing on the theoretical aspect of lifeguarding and the other half in the water, where your theoretical knowledge will be put to test.
- Different institutes will have different criteria for grading and passing students from their courses.
- After passing the training program, you will receive certification for being trained as a lifeguard and also in first aid including CPR and Automated External Defibrillator (AED).
- This gives you the status of a professional lifeguard and is valid for a period of 3 years.
- The certification that you receive from any of the above-mentioned institutes is evidence that you have been well trained and are fully capable of handling any such situation that may come your way.
The applicants need to be physically and mentally fit to withstand an intensive and grueling training program in order to get certified as a lifeguard from the institute. Not to mention constant practice and physical fitness is required even after receiving it. So, follow these steps to become a lifeguard, have a good nose for sniffing out possibly hazardous situations and have a passion for life. Nothing can stop you from becoming an ace lifeguard!