First, you will need to be at least fifteen years old. If you’re working at a wave-heavy beach or more established resort, you’ll likely need to be 18. Very rarely will a lifeguard have to be 21.
Next, you will need to have a filled out notice from a certified doctor stating that you have passed a physical. This is critical, as you must be in top health in order to be a quality lifeguard. This, just like for high school sports, will have to be proven every year with a new physical.
Third, you need to be able to swim. Not only must you be able to easily swim the length of the pool, but you need to do so with proper form and good leg kick. You cannot thrash around, instead you must prove that you are comfortable breathing in the water, and maintain good form throughout. Most pools will require you two swim two to four laps of the pool without stopping, using whatever swim stroke you prefer. There is often a time limit in order to pass this test.
Finally, you must be able to carry at least forty pounds while out of the water and walk the length of the pool. This is very important to that you are able to take care of swimmers who need you who might be bigger than you are.
If you can pass those tests than you are ready to head to the pool for Lifeguard courses! After training, you typically need to pass another set of tests, both written and physical. Then you’re ready to be hired!