Earning a lifeguard certification from the Red Cross gives those interested in being a lifeguard instant credibility in the field. In many places, it is a requirement that a lifeguard be Red Cross certified. In other cases, where it is not required, having a Red Cross lifeguard certification should help potential candidates gain an advantage over others who have not gone through the training. Getting certified begins with taking preliminary tests and attending classes, which are available in many locations across the United States.

The most important thing to remember before seeking Red Cross lifeguard certification is that there are certain tests of endurance or ability in the water that must be met. These tests are used simply to determine if the lifeguard has the ability to meet the physical requirements of the job. In most cases, the ability and endurance tests will not have to be passed prior to starting the course, but must be passed before certification can be awarded.

Practicing these tests becomes essential. The main thing to keep in mind is that you must have the ability to swim 300 yards (274 meters), including 100 yards (91.5 meters) of front drag, 100 yards (91.5 meters) of breaststroke, and 100 yards (91.5 meters) of one or a combination of the two. Additionally, you must be able to dive to a depth of seven to ten feet and retrieve a 10-pound (4.5 kg) object. Those who cannot fully do these tasks should begin physical training before the start of class.

A total of 40 hours of training is needed to receive a Red Cross lifeguard certification, with time split between the pool and the classroom. Some places may offer the course for a single week period, while others may hold just one session per week for several months. Larger cities may also have more flexible options. Once the course is completed, you will be certified not only as a first responder, but also in First Aid and CPR for First Responders.

The cost of the Red Cross lifeguard certification course could vary greatly from place to place. In general, you can expect to pay up to $350 US dollars. Some discounts may be provided at some facilities, and if you already have a prospective job online, your prospective employer may agree to pay the cost of certification. This is routinely done in places where teenagers are hired for the summer, and I just couldn’t afford the cost of the course.