American Red Cross Lifeguard Training

Full course, online + classroom


Membership TypeCost*
YMCA at ACRC$175 NOW $150
Community Member$200 NOW $150

Lifeguards can make up to $14/hour once certified and have met all training requirements. For a limited time, we are offering this course at a discounted price of $150 for both Members of the YMCA at ACRC and Community Members. If you’ve ever wanted to become a lifeguard, there is no time like the present! *50% of the registration fee will be refunded once the participant has been employed by the YMCA for 90 days and 40 hours.

The purpose of the American Red Cross Lifeguarding course is to provide entry-level lifeguard participants with the knowledge and skills to prevent, recognize and respond to aquatics emergencies and to provide care for breathing and cardiac emergencies, injuries and sudden illnesses until emergency medical services (EMS) personnel take over. The blended learning format allows students to work independently on theory through a series of informational videos and tutorials. They then present what skills they learned in a hands-on class.

Upon completion of this course participants will receive American Red Cross certificate for Lifeguarding/First Aid/CPR/AED valid for 2 years.

Prerequisites – The following prerequisites need to be completed in front of a Lifeguard Trainer, in person, at the YMCA, prior to starting online learning material.

  • Must be 15 years old on or before the final day of the course.
  • Swim 300 yards continuously demonstrating breath control and rhythmic breathing. Candidates may use front crawl, breaststroke or a combination of both but swimming on the back or side is not allowed.
  • Tread water for 2 minutes using only the legs.
  • Complete the following events in 1 minute, 40 seconds:
    • Starting in the water, swim 20 yards. Face may be in or out of the water.
    • Surface dive, feet-first or head-first, to a depth of 7-10 feet to retrieve a 10-pound object.
    • Return to the surface and swim 20 yards on the back to return to the starting point with both hands holding the object and keeping the face at or near the surface so they are able to get a breath.
    • Exit the water without using a ladder or steps.

Certification Requirements

  • Attend and participate in all class sessions.
  • Demonstrate competency in all required skills and activities.
  • Demonstrate competency in all required final rescue skill scenarios.
  • Pass the CPR/AED for the Professional Rescuer, First Aid, and Lifeguarding Skills final written exams with minimum grades of 80 percent.

Entire Course Length

  • Approximately 7 hours, 25 minutes for online learning
  • Approximately 19 hours for in-class skills
  • Course times may vary to include breaks

Why become a Lifeguard?

Be a Hero: Lifeguarding is a fun job, but it’s also a highly important job! You become a part of a larger cause when other people’s safety relies on you. You’re essentially getting paid to be a hero! While in the profession of lifeguarding, you’ll learn useful lifelong skills. Lifeguards are trained in first aid, CPR, and AED. You will forever take this knowledge with you everywhere you go. Therefore, you’ll always know how to react when there’s an emergency.

Make Lifelong Friends: Making new friends comes with any lifeguarding job. Fellow lifeguards have similar interests as you, so making meaningful connections happens naturally. You’ll build new friendships that will last a lifetime.

Build Your Resume: Lifeguarding is a great resume builder! For people just starting their professional journey, sometimes it may be difficult to find jobs with little to no experience. As long as you go through training successfully, prior experience is not usually necessary to get a lifeguarding job. When employers see that you have experience lifeguarding, they know that you’re calm in stressful situations, a quick thinker, a good communicator, and a problem solver. Lifeguarding is a great first job, a great resume builder, and it helps you develop work ethic.

Stay in Shape: Being a lifeguard helps you pursue a healthier lifestyle. Lifeguarding will greatly increase your physical activity, even if you already exercise. Did you know that  2 ½ hours a week of water-based exercise, like swimming, can decrease the risk of chronic illnesses? Lifeguarding is a great way to improve your overall health and promote a life of wellness.

Get Paid to Work Poolside: Lifeguarding is a rewarding job with numerous benefits. It offers long-term benefits like making lifelong friends, building your resume, and helping you live a healthier lifestyle. If you’re thinking about taking on a job, become a lifeguard! 

Isaac Himebaugh
Training Lead

Ready to be a part of our community?