Lifeguard Certification

Lifeguard Certification

The primary purpose of the courses in the American Red Cross Lifeguarding program is to provide participants with the knowledge and skills needed to:

  • Prevent, recognize and respond to aquatic emergencies.
  • Provide professional-level care for breathing and cardiac emergencies, injuries, and sudden illnesses until emergency medical services (EMS) professionals take over.

This course requires participants to complete online learning prior to in-class skills sessions.  Please make sure to provide a valid email address when completing registration.

Participants who successfully complete the Lifeguarding course will be issued the following American Red Cross certificate: Lifeguarding (Including Deep Water) with CPR/AED for Professional Rescuers and First Aid that is valid for 2 years. To maintain the Lifeguarding certification, a currently certified lifeguard must successfully complete the American Red Cross Lifeguarding Recertification course or the full Lifeguarding course again prior to certificate expiration. A 30-day grace period may apply but it does not extend the certification beyond the 2 years. Once the Lifeguarding certification is expired, a participant must successfully complete the American Red Cross Lifeguarding course.


  • Be at least 15 years old on or before the final scheduled session of the Lifeguarding course.
  • Successfully complete the two prerequisite swimming skills evaluations:
    • Prerequisite 1: Complete a swim-tread-swim sequence without stopping to rest:
      • Jump into the water and totally submerge, resurface then swim 150 yards using the front crawl, breaststroke or a combination of both. (Swimming on the back or side is not permitted. Swim goggles are allowed)
      • Maintain position at the surface of the water for 2 minutes by treading water using only the legs
      • Swim 50 yards using the front crawl, breaststroke or a combination of both
    • Prerequisite 2: 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 – 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, holding the object at the surface with both hands and keeping the face out at or near the surface.
      • Exit the water without using a ladder or steps.


  • Approximately 6 hours for online learning (at home on your own time); must be completed before the first in-class session
    • The online session for the Lifeguarding course has 16 modules that each take approximately 15 – 30 minutes to complete.
    • You will be emailed a link to the online content upon successful completion of the Prerequisite Test.
  • Approximately 21 hours for in-class skills
    • Course times may vary to include breaks

Certification Requirements

  • Complete all online course content in advance of the corresponding in-person sessions.
  • Attend the entire course and participate in all class sessions.
  • Actively participate in all course activities, including assuming various roles during skill practices, skill drills, activities and scenarios.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in all skills.
  • Pass the final written exam with a minimum grade of 80 percent.
  • Pass the three (3) final skill assessments which include:
    • Assessment 1—Timed Response
      • Participants must complete a passive submerged rescue, extricate with the assistance of an assisting rescuer, and rapid assessment (including the delivery of 2 initial ventilations by either rescuer) within 1 minute, 30 seconds, and then provide 3 minutes of single-rescuer CPR.
    • Assessment 2—Rotation and Scanning
      • Participants must rotate into the lifeguard station, conduct surveillance from the station for 1 minute, and rotate out of the station.
    • Assessment 3—Final Team Response Testing Scenario
      • Participants must perform a passive submerged rescue, extrication and rapid assessment, followed by multiple-rescuer CPR and use of AED and BVM resuscitator.


  • $250 total
    • The initial payment of $25 is for the Prerequisite Tests ONLY and is non-refundable or transferrable.
    • Upon successful completion of the Prerequisite Test, the reaming balance is due at the first day of the in-class sessions.

Programs and Memberships are non-refundable and non-transferable. Management may issue a partial credit to use at the YMCA of Southern West Virginia.  Program staff will determine whether a full or partial credit will be given based on the date and reason of the request. No credits will be issued after the start date of any program.