Red Cross Lifeguard Course
"We waste no time in our courses, they are fast-paced. We know how busy you are. You will never wait for your instructors to prepare, transitions are fast, and we streamline all aspects of the course."
Is this the right class for me?
The American Red Cross Lifeguard course is the universal certificate accepted at most pools and beaches in the U.S. If you don't have a job yet, this is the class for you. There are a few facilities that use different programs, but they train their own lifeguards after hiring (Ellis/StarGuard).
How does it work?
1. You take an online course and at-home-final at your own pace. You will be emailed these after you register.
2. Come to the 12-hour instructional day of this course. This is about half wet and half dry.
3. Come to the 4 hour testing day of this course, or choose a different testing day after your instructional day. You will choose the testing day when you register. If you can’t make any of our scheduled testing days, we will work with you on a custom date at no extra charge (not the 12 hour day).
This course is modular (choose two different days to make a class). You don’t have to take the testing day attached to this course. When you register, you may choose a different testing date after the instructional day. If you can’t make any of the testing dates, we will do a custom date for you at no cost (not the 12 hour day).
What is blended training?
Students complete an online training course, readings, and an at-home final before the course. This at-home work takes as much as 8 hours. Then candidates come to the instructor-led session, which is about 12 hours and then a testing session, also at the pool, which is about 4 or fewer hours. It is good to take the online course close to the instructor-led course, but sometimes candidates need to do it earlier, and they do fine.
How hard is the course?
While the course is demanding, we have a VERY high success rate. The biggest roadblock is people who don't swim well. You don't have to be a great swimmer, but you have to know how to swim front crawl (freestyle) or breaststroke. Check out the video below to see the entry swimming test. We find that a little swimming practice before the course does the trick. As for the content, if you do the homework and pay attention during class, the vast majority of candidates are successful. The written test is difficult and at the college reading level, but we are really good at preparing students. We provide a friendly supportive coaching environment, not a Full Metal Jacket military basic training environment like in some classes.
1. Must be 15 years old on the first day of the course.
2. Swim 300 yards continuously demonstrating breath control and rhythmic breathing. Candidates may swim using the front crawl, breaststroke, or a combination of both, but swimming on the back or side is not allowed. Swim goggles may be used only for this test.
3. Tread water for 2 minutes using only the legs. Candidates should place their hands under the armpits.
4. Complete a timed event within 1 minute, 40 seconds:
■ Starting in the water, swim 20 yards. The face may be in or out of the water. Swim goggles are not allowed.
■ Surface dive, feet-first or head-first, to a depth of 7 to 10 feet to retrieve a 10-pound object.
■ Return to the surface and swim 20 yards on the back to return to the starting point with both hands holding the object and keeping the face at or near the surface so they are able to get a breath. Exit the water without using a ladder or steps.
Check out the video at the bottom of the page to see the swimming pretest in action.
■ Successfully complete the online course
■Attend and participate in all class sessions.
■ Demonstrate competency in all required skills and activities.
■ Demonstrate competency in all required final rescue skill scenarios.
■ Pass Lifeguarding Skills final written exam with a minimum grade of 80 percent.
Certificate Issued and Validity Period:
American Red Cross certificate for Lifeguarding/First Aid/CPR/AED: 2 years
American Red Cross Lifeguarding Manual (EBook, included in course)
Do I swim well enough to be a lifeguard?
Watch the video to see.
A. SWIM 300 yards continuously using front crawl or breaststroke
B. TREAD for 2 minutes using legs only
C. BRICK TEST: Surface dive to the bottom of the deep end and retrieve a 10 lb brick.
Detailed explanation above
Our blended modular program is the most convenient way to become a lifeguard.
■We have the most options in Chicagoland.
■ If your schedule changes, you can switch to one of our other open courses at no cost, up to 48 hours before the course.
■ We have tons of training equipment. In most lifeguarding courses you spend a good portion of the class waiting around for your turn to train on different kinds of rescue equipment. This can shorten our course by HOURS!
■You have access to the instructor by email, phone, and text. You can ask questions ahead of time, voice your concerns, and get help.
■ We waste no time in our courses, they are fast-paced. We know how you value your time. You will never wait for your instructors to prepare, transitions are fast, and we streamline all aspects of the course. This can shorten our course by HOURS! We consistently hear from students who have previously taken courses elsewhere, that they sat around taking breaks or waiting for something for hours of the course.
■Most lifeguard courses are scheduled because that pool needs lifeguards. Extra spaces are then offered to the public. So often, to the instructor of these classes, teaching this is considered a nightmare of extra work. An attitude like that can really change a class. We love teaching lifeguarding and pride ourselves on having a great class.
■ We have small instructor to student ratios. This is one of the ways we keep our quality so high and it can shorten the course by HOURS!
■ Many lifeguarding courses are taught by people who only teach one course every other year or so, and may have never been a lifeguard, a class at a high school for example. We have certified thousands of lifeguards over 25 years. Our head instructor is a national expert in lifeguarding and has worked with some of the biggest aquatic facilities in the country, and has been acknowledged in lifeguarding textbooks.
■Our candidates have very high success rates in our programs because we are good at this. However, if you don't pass your lifeguarding course with us you have options you won't have in other courses. Because we offer so many classes, you can jump into another for the segment(s) you need more help with and take the test again at no additional cost. We will not give up on you!