How to Become a Lifeguard

Lifeguarding can be a part-time summer job, a way to stay cool as you work your way through college, or even a lifelong career. Lifeguards are employed at beaches, swimming pools, waterfronts, and waterparks throughout the United States and around the world. You have to be more than a good swimmer to do this job; it requires dependability, maturity, consistency, and leadership. If you think you have what it takes, read on….

Lifeguard Qualifications

The following are minimum qualifications to work as a lifeguard. Information on different training programs and environments are included with links to get more information.

How to Find and Get that Lifeguard Job

Every year, lifeguards leave the field to pursue other jobs, making room for new individuals who want to give lifeguarding a try. If you have the minimum qualifications above and you are one of those thinking about becoming a seasonal or year-round lifeguard, here’s how you should proceed:

  1. Beginning in January or February, check for employment opportunities in your community. Call local swimming pools or other places where lifeguards work (beaches/waterfronts, waterparks, etc.). Questions to ask: Do you have openings? Am I old enough? What does the job pay? What qualifications do I need? Where can I take a lifeguard certification course? When are you having try-outs?
  2. Sign up for a Lifeguarding course. Check for lifeguard courses while you checking for jobs. Often hiring agencies hold courses or know where to send you.
  3. Be prepared for the try-out.  This is usually an oral interview and a swim test.
    1. Find out about the swim test beforehand so you know exactly what you must do. If you are unsure about it, rehearse the swim test in advance.
    2. To prepare for the interview:
      1. Study so you know about the hiring agency and the job.
      2. Dress neatly.
      3. hands-shakingShake hands as you meet the interviewer(s). Make eye contact. Smile.
      4. Come with documentation. Complete the job application and have your birth certificate/driver’s license, social security card, etc. Bring your certifications or letters of course completion. If you have only enrolled in Lifeguarding, bring your registration confirmation.
      5. Be confident but not arrogant. Answer questions directly. If you haven’t taken Lifeguarding yet, and they ask a technical question you don’t know, tell them you will come back after passing Lifeguarding with the answer.
      6. Be engaging and energetic. Do not ramble.
      7. Ask a few questions about the job to show interest.
      8. Shake hands before leaving. Thank the interviewer(s) for their time.
  4. Attend a couple of try-outs, if possible. This will increase your chances of being selected, while giving you more than one option to go for.
  5. Send a thank-you note. Use email or mail to thank each interviewer for giving you the opportunity to try out. Make sure the note is short and to-the-point.
  6. Follow through with the Lifeguarding course. Pay attention and apply yourself.
  7. Determine if other courses would help you. For example, a Water Safety Instructor (WSI) course will enable you to teach swimming lessons, making you more valuable to perspective employers.
  8. Send course certificates to prospective employers. This lets employers know that you are ready and able to work.
  9. Commit to the job if you get it. Every day, show reliability, maturity, consistency, and a positive attitude. Oh, and have fun!

Lifeguard Training/Employment Links

Here are a few links to help you search for training courses and employment in your area.

Training Course Links

In addition to the links above, you can get training information from the following links:


The following links can be used to find employment in your community.

Too Young? Take Junior Lifeguarding.