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How to Become a Lifeguard

You can freestyle like Michael Phelps, and you love the smell of chlorine. Why not earn cash and save lives at the same time?


  • Step 1: Have great swim skills Consider your calling. If you're a strong swimmer, this may be the perfect gig for you. But if your best stroke is the dog paddle, it’s time to rethink.
  • Step 2: Be a people person Be a people person. Lifeguarding is a pretty hands-on job, and requires a lot of interaction with the public. It helps if you're good with people and great with kids.
  • Step 3: Investigate jobs See what’s available in your area. Contact your local facilities department to inquire about jobs at public pools, and your local parks department for jobs at beaches. Each facility has its own water-safety requirements, so be sure to investigate what credentials you'll need.
  • TIP: Consult "":, "":, "":, and online job sites for listings.
  • Step 4: Get certified Get the proper certification. Each certification course has its own special age requirements, training procedures, and course fees. And it's generally harder to patrol the beach than police the pool.
  • TIP: Lifeguard certification courses are offered through the American Red Cross, the YMCA, the United States Lifesaving Association, and Jeff Ellis and Associates.
  • Step 5: Apply Choose the positions you want to apply for based on pay, location, convenience, size of facility, and how many guards they’re looking for. Then thoroughly complete and submit your applications in a timely manner.
  • Step 6: Ace the interview Ace the job interview by being friendly, energetic, and professional. You want to appear responsible and competent.
  • Step 7: Stay in shape Once you land your dream job, you'll need to stay in shape. Hit the gym, do your laps, and stick with a healthy diet.
  • Step 8: Protect your skin Avoid skin damage by using a good sunscreen and shielding yourself from dangerous doses of UV rays by covering up with a hat, protective clothing, and a towel, and staying in the shade.
  • Step 9: Keep up with your credentials Certifications expire after set periods of time, so make sure you keep up with renewal dates and exams. You may also want to further your career by pursuing higher certifications.
  • FACT: The oldest lifeguard on record is 88-year-old Heywood Stewart.

You Will Need

  • To meet certification and age requirements
  • Protective gear and sunscreen
  • A good attitude

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