The Unexpected Truth Behind Lifeguard Class near me

Lifeguarding seems like a fun, low-stress summer job where you get paid to sit and watch people swim. While that may be partly true, there’s actually a lot more to becoming a certified lifeguard than many people realize. Through American Lifeguard Events, let me share some unexpected truths behind finding and taking a lifeguard class near me.

Classes Fill Up Fast

One of the biggest surprises is just how quickly lifeguard certification classes fill up, especially in popular travel seasons like summer. Most classes have limited space and highly-regarded instructors book up months in advance. Don’t expect to wait until mid-June to sign up for a class if you want a spot in the popular July-August season.
Start your search and registration process early, at least two to three months ahead of time. Look for upcoming class schedules online or call local aquatics facilities directly to check availability and reserve your spot.

Physical Requirements Are No Joke

Unlike many entry-level jobs, there are stringent physical requirements to pass lifeguard certification. You’ll need to demonstrate strong swimming skills like treading water for two minutes without using your hands, swimming 400 yards continuously, and being able to swim 20 yards, surface dive to a depth of 7-10 feet to retrieve a 10 pound object, return to the surface, swim 20 yards back while holding the object with both hands and keeping your face above water.
You’ll also be tested on your basic first aid, CPR, and rescue skills. Make sure to train and condition yourself well before your class to avoid failing the physical test and having to retake the course.

Content Is Comprehensive

A lifeguard class near you will cover far more than just swimming and first aid. Expect an intensive multi-day session covering topics like injury prevention, patron surveillance techniques, legal responsibilities, emergency action plans, handling difficult patrons, documentation procedures, and more. Instructors aim to prepare you for any on-the-job scenario with realistic practice sessions. Classes typically involve both classroom learning and in-pool practice, so come prepared to be engaged for full days of training. Factor in time and costs for reference materials, equipment, and certification or recertification exam fees too.

Certification Isn’t Permanent

While completing a lifeguard course allows you to work as a certified guard, that certification is only valid for a set time period – often one to three years depending on your location and certifying agency. To maintain your certification, you’ll need to complete refresher courses and in-service trainings at required intervals.
Failure to stay updated means losing your eligibility to work until you are re-certified through another full class. Budget both the initial and ongoing training costs into your plans for remaining a lifeguard long-term.

Schedule Flexibility Varies

The work schedule of a lifeguard can seem flexible for students, but facilities require coverage during their open hours. Be prepared that common guard positions will entail weekend and summer availability, morning, afternoon, evening and holiday shifts. While you may have some negotiation power as a student, understand shifts are assigned based on operational needs. Commit fully to any class schedule commitments upfront knowing you can’t always just pick your preferred hours once employed.

Community Expectations Are High

The public perception of lifeguards is that they are elite athletes ready to spring into action at any moment. As a result, guards experience high stakes and scrutinization in their roles. Communities quickly notice any lapses in vigilance or slow response times. Developing judgment, confidence and composure under pressure is a big part of training to meet these expectations safely and appropriately each shift. Your professionalism and work ethic will shape public perception of all guards.


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