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How do I Become a Pool Lifeguard?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 17, 2024
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Being a pool lifeguard can be fun but challenging and serious work. It does involve the attractive prospect of getting to be near the water every day but lifeguards are present to protect other people. They need to be able to remain focused on what is occurring in the pool and other skills are required too so they can take appropriate action if someone gets into danger in the water. There are several things that are needed to become a pool lifeguard and these include having CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation) certification, strong swimming skills, and typically lifeguard training. Since lifeguards may do other things besides guarding the pool, each pool might require other knowledge too.

Undoubtedly, CPR training is essential to become a pool lifeguard. Even if a lifeguard never needs to use it, should a drowning occur, resuscitation becomes the best chance for survival. People can take CPR training at a number of places. The Red Cross offers regular classes in the subject. CPR courses may also be offered at community colleges, through park and recreation centers, or in a variety of other locations. Some pools also have defibrillators on hand, and if a person wants to become a lifeguard at one of these pools they may need this training too.

It would be difficult to rescue anyone without being able to swim very well. Most people must show certification of having passed swimming classes or they take a test to show swimming strength. Once people reach a certain level of skill in swimming they may need to take swimming safety or lifeguard classes so that they can demonstrate skill not only in swimming but also in rescuing someone. It’s quite different to need to swim and carry someone at the same time, and there are techniques to do this safely. A person who would like to become a pool lifeguard needs to learn these techniques and can find training courses in places like community or private pools, or sometimes though community colleges.

Once people have mastered the basic skills to become a pool lifeguard, they next need to think about where to apply. Most private and public pools require lifeguards to be a minimum of 16 years of age, and some may not hire people who are under 18. People should consider adding other skills to their profile to increase chances of getting work. Pool care could be something some lifeguards perform. Understanding how to add chemicals and test pools for chemical balance could give a competitive edge during job applications.

Other things that might be helpful to those who would like to become a pool lifeguard is basic first aid classes because these offer lifeguards other ways to help around a pool. Some lifeguards also teach beginning or more advanced swimming classes and learning how to be a good teacher can be valuable. When applying for jobs, list all related skills or knowledge on a resume for best chances of being hired. When all basic requirements are met, any swimming tests passed, and extra skills are part of a person’s resume, it may not be very hard at all to become a pool lifeguard, providing there are jobs available.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By anon154098 — On Feb 19, 2011

I am a lifeguard at my local pool. It is a really hard job! I originally thought it wouldn't be too hard but it is physically, mentally and sometimes emotionally draining. It isn't so much rescuing people. (It is very rare that someone will start drowning.) It is more about telling people off when they do the wrong thing and making sure that everyone stays safe.

Being a girl and only 15, it is sometimes really hard to get people to take you seriously especially guys. You have to be really tough sometimes. Being a girl you also have to deal with tonnes of guys hitting on you which can drive you insane. It is a rewarding job though and generally pays really well! --Simone

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
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