Lifeguarding is a fun and extremely rewarding job. As a guard, you’re an important and admired member of your community. You have the power to save a life and educate our youth on the importance of water safety.

Lifeguard at the YMCAWhy become a lifeguard?

Lifeguards are an integral part of the aquatics community. As a guard, you’ll be a symbol of safety and good judgement. You’ll have the extensive knowledge, training, and confidence of knowing how to save a life. Our lifeguards are required to go through the standard American Red Cross training along with CPR, Basic First Aid training, and Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) modules training. In addition, it’s a great way to build your resume—lifeguard experience tells future employers that you’re responsible, strong leadership skills, and the ability to work in an independent environment.

What are the duties of a lifeguard?

As a lifeguard, you’ll have a number of duties both in and out of the pool. The routine role of a lifeguard is to monitor activity in the water and educate swimmers of all ages on the importance of water safety. At the Y, we take great pride in educating our younger swimmers on water safety to ensure that they’re prepared and confident on our pool deck.

All guards will be trained in emergency procedures and must be able to execute them in case of emergency.

How old do you have to be?

You can legally obtain a lifeguard certification as young as 15 years old.

What are the requirements?

Lifeguards must be physically fit enough to get in and out of the pool quickly and rescue a drowning victim. At the beginning of the course, you will be required to pass the following tests:

  • Lifeguard at the YMCASwim 300 yards continuously
  • Tread water for two minutes, using only your legs
  • In one minute and forty seconds, you must:
    • Swim 20 yards, starting in the water
    • Surface dive 7-10 feet to receive a 10 pound object
    • Return to the surface and swim 20 yards back, holding the object
    • Exit the water without using a ladder or steps

Certain swimming strokes are required, including the breast stroke and the front crawl, or freestyle, stroke

What if you’re not a strong swimmer?

No problem! We offer a number of different pre-lifeguarding courses that will help you become a better swimmer. Once the course is over, you’ll have all the swim skills you’ll need to pass the lifeguarding pre-test.

What is the course like?

We offer a number of different course options at our branches. You can enroll in shorter classes spanning over a few weeks, or you can cram and finish the course in a week. We offer courses that fit every schedule. Depending on the course you choose, every class will different, but the skill you’ll learn will be the same. You’ll become CPR and First Aid certified while also learning a number of different life-saving water techniques. You’ll learn how to spot accidents before they happen and how to properly educate patrons on the importance of water safety.

Do these courses cover waterfront lifeguarding?

Waterfront lifeguarding can be added to any lifeguard class. All you have to do is ask!

What happens next?

Once you’ve completed the course and received your certifications, you’re ready to start working! Our branches are always looking to hire new guards. Chances are, you’ll be hired on the spot!

When are the next course offerings?

Lifeguard at the YPre-Lifeguard Courses

Greenbush YMCA:

  • January 9th through March 4th

Lifeguard Courses

Albany YMCA:

  • December 26th through December 30th

Duanesburg YMCA:

  • January 24th though March 14th

Glenville YMCA:

  • December 26th through December 30th

Greenbush YMCA:

  • December 26th through December 29th

Guilderland YMCA:

  • February 20th through February 23rd

Southern Saratoga YMCA:

  • December 27th through December 30th

Troy YMCA:

  • January 3rd through January 19th

To sign up for a life-guarding course, click here.