Lifeguarding as a profession can be many things to many people. Large numbers of high school students receive their training and become lifeguards every year as a method of obtaining summer employment. Others have a real passion for it and make it their career. There are many different aspects of lifeguarding and different levels and types of certification. One of the most well known and respected lifeguard certifications is offered by the American Red Cross.
Most local chapters of the American Red Cross have an aquatics program. As part of the aquatics program, they may offer lifeguard training. Some smaller chapters may not offer such a course on a yearly basis, but if they do not have a class planned, they will usually be able to put you in touch with someone in a neighboring chapter who can help you obtain your certification. Early spring is usually the best time to begin looking for a course in my experience as the Red Cross chapters like to teach these classes in the spring to prepare lifeguards for the upcoming summer swim season. You may also want to check with the local YMCA if they have a pool as they may be offering courses as well.
A standard lifeguarding course consists of three main components. There will be training in the actual aquatics skills of being a lifeguard, CPR training for Adults, Infants, and Children, and standard first aid. You may also be trained to use an AED or Automated External Defibrillator, or to administer oxygen. If you successfully complete the course by passing both a practical test as well as a written exam, then you will receive certification. Once you receive your certification, you will be a lifeguard. Certification for lifeguarding, as well as first aid is good for three years. It is necessary to renew your CPR certification every year however to remain current. Be careful not to allow your CPR certification to lapse, as your lifeguarding certification is only valid if you are current in CPR as well.
If you enroll in a Red Cross lifeguarding course, you will be given a pre-test to ensure your swimming ability is or a level that will allow you to make a rescue if necessary. Assuming you pass this pre-test, you will then learn various skills such as the proper ways to enter the water, how to approach a victim and make a rescue, and how to remove a victim from the pool if necessary. You will also learn spinal injury management. This training will usually take place over the course of several weeks, with additional classes taking place for CPR and first aid.
You will then be given a written exam as well as a practical test to make sure your water skills are solid. You will also have separate exams in CPR and AED training, although they may be given when those specific classes are taught.
Your training should not stop there however. Once you become a lifeguard, you should participate in in service trainings when they are offered by your place of employment. It is very important to keep up to date with these skills as they are important to save a life. The American Red Cross also offers more advanced courses that will allow you to become an instructor and teach lifeguarding classes, or even an instructor trainer. An instructor trainer teaches people to be lifeguarding instructors. You will want to spend some time as a lifeguard before you pursue these advanced certifications however.
A lifeguarding class can be a very fulfilling experience. If can also provide you am opportunity for employment if that is what you are looking for. If this is something that you would like to become involved it, contact your local American Red Cross and they should be able to provide you with more information about this wonderful program. There should be mentioning of the source name from where the information has been gathered. If the information in from trifactor, then there should be mentioning of – Source: TriFactor.