While planning your career in lifeguarding, you'll have to initially decide the favorite water environment you would like to work at and get the required qualification for that environment as each certification provides training in different know-how and skills.
For example, if you love surfing and would like to work at a beach, only the surf lifeguard certification would allow you to work as a beach lifeguard. Holders of basic lifeguard certification is eligible to perform as lifeguards in swimming pools only. You should keep this in mind when signing up for a training course.
Currently, you can find various kinds of lifeguard training and certifications in the United States:
- Lifeguard Certification – holders perform as lifeguards in common swimming pools
- Waterfront Lifeguard – holders perform as lifeguards inside non-surf, open-water places like national lakes, fish ponds, and also rivers
- Waterpark Lifeguard – holders perform as lifeguards in waterparks
- Shallow Water Lifeguard – holders perform as lifeguards inside normal water environments which can be up to 4 to 5 foot deep, such as in kiddie pools, rivers, as well as shallow private pools
- Surf Lifeguard – holders perform as lifeguards in surf environments like ocean beaches which is the most demanding and dangerous venue
The actual standards associated with qualification for lifeguards are usually set up through the American Red Cross, USLA as well as Jeff Ellis and Associates while that for open water surfing is established by the United States Lifesaving Association.
To begin a profession within lifeguarding, you'll need to match several physical requirements and have the mandatory certifications as described above. The most common method to obtain certificates is usually through taking a qualification training program provided by or co-organized with the organizations listed below:
- the American Red Cross
- the Starfish Aquatics Institute
- the Boy Scouts of America
- the National Aquatic Safety Company (NASCO)
- the YMCA
- the City of Los Angeles
- Jeff Ellis and Associates
Qualification issued by these organizations are likely to be acknowledged and accepted by business owners as well as federal corporation in the United States. Numerous educational institutions, marine centres with pastime amenities or swimming pools offer lifeguard qualifications classes approved by the American Red Cross.
The American Red Cross is probably the mostly accepted certification. Lifeguards who are certified by the Red Cross may perform better in job search, especially in competitive regions.
But if you want to be a beach lifeguard, you must have taken the surf lifeguard certification course. The curriculum is defined by the United States Lifesaving Association. You must find a training organization certified by USLA for the surf lifeguard certification training.
In Los Angeles, taking training and obtaining certification offered by the City of Los Angeles is the most preferred way to enter the lifeguarding profession.