What Does It Take to Be a Lifeguard in Texas?

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Lifeguards monitor swimmers at beaches and swimming pools.
Lifeguards monitor swimmers at beaches and swimming pools. (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Lifeguards are first responders that assist those in need around bodies of water, which can range from swimming pools to oceanfront beaches. The job of a lifeguard can be physically demanding if she must rescue someone in the water, but it typically involves monitoring swimmers to prevent accidents before they occur. Though Texas does not have uniform state laws regarding lifeguard training, swimming areas in the state typically use Red Cross-approved lifeguards.

Age Requirements

To work as a Red Cross-certified lifeguard in Texas, you must present government-issued identification indicating that you are 15 years of age or older. Acceptable Identification includes a learner's permit, driver's license or Texas state identification card.

Endurance

You must pass multiple endurance tests before you are certified as a Texas lifeguard. Candidates must swim at least 300 yards continuously using certain strokes specified by the class. Additionally, candidates are required to tread on the surface of the water for at least two minutes using only their legs. Some certification classes may require longer distances or times, but the Red Cross specifies these amounts as the minimum.

Swim Methods

Prospective lifeguards can typically only use two types of swimming methods to pass the training requirements: the front crawl and the breaststroke. Any other methods may disqualify the candidate and prevent certification. For example, you cannot use the "doggy-paddle" method of swimming to rescue victims.

Special Tasks

Texas lifeguard certification tests typically require candidates to swim out a certain distance, dive down a few feet, retrieve a weighted object and swim back within a specific amount of time. For example, the Red Cross of Southwest Texas asks candidates to swim out 60 feet, dive under water for a 10-pound object and swim back to the starting point, above water, in less than one minute and 40 seconds.

Fees

Fees vary depending on the location in which you take your Texas lifeguard certification class. Typically, the fee for classes at the time of publication is between $150 and $200, which includes all teaching and reading materials and the fee for certification.

Written Test

Some training courses in Texas require lifeguards to pass a written test in addition to their physical tests. The written portion of your lifeguard test asks questions about your CPR training, ability to use a defibrillator and first-aid training. All of the material on the written section of the test is typically taught in your lifeguard class.

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