Lifeguard Requirements in Illinois
Welcome to the Lifeguard page for Illinois.
In order to become a Lifeguard in the State of Illinois and work as a certified Lifeguard, you must pass the following Prerequisite criteria and obtain certification from qualified Schools, Courses or on the Job Training. Depending on what certification course your location requires. They are listed below.
American Aquatics & Safety Training
Is slowly becoming the overall USA standard certification when it comes to lifeguarding, First Aid, CPR and AED
Must be at least 15 years old and pass certain swimming requirements.
2 year First Aid and CPR/AED certifications
2 year Lifeguarding certification
- Injury prevention and facility safety
- Patron surveillance
- Victim assessment
- First Aid
Care for head, neck and spinal injuries
The YMCA offers a full YMCA of the USA Lifeguard training course that includes American Red Cross CPR for the Professional Rescuer (CPRO) and First Aid, equipment-based rescues for aquatic environments, accident prevention, and decision making skills.
Participants must be 16 years old by the end of the class. Attendance, full participation, and successful completion of written tests and performance of all water skills are required.
- Must be 16 years old by the end of the class.
Tread water for at least 2 minutes
Swim 100 yards of front crawl
Swim 50 yards each of: front crawl with head up, sidestroke, breaststroke, breaststroke with head up, inverted breaststroke kick with hands on stomach
Perform a feet first surface dive in 8 to 10 feet of water and then swim underwater for 15 feet
Perform a series of tasks given by the instructor to demonstrate listening and scanning ability as well as stamina and endurance
The total course timing is 36 hours.
- Classroom hours: 14 hours, 30 minutes
- Water/pool hours: 13 hours
- eLearning hours*: 8 hours, 30 minutes (5 hours is ASHI)
(eLearning to be completed before the start of the first class)
RED CROSS CERTIFICATION
The online course covers Lifeguarding, CPR/AED, First Aid and Oxygen Supplement, and Blood Pathogens.
Must be at least 15 years of age before the last scheduled review session.
To pass the Course You are required to:
Swim 300 yards continuously, using these strokes in the following order:
100 yards of front crawl using rhythmic breathing and a stabilizing, propellant kick. Rhythmic breathing can be performed either by breathing to the side or to the front.
100 yards of breaststroke using a pull, breathe, kick and glide sequence.
100 yards of either the front crawl or breaststroke.
The 100 yards may be a combination of front crawl and breaststroke.
Starting in the water, swim 20 yards using front crawl or breaststroke, surface dive 7- 10 feet, retrieve a 10-pound object, return to the surface, swim 20 yards back to the starting point with the object and exit the water without using a ladder or steps, within 1 minute, 40 seconds.
If your swimming skills are not strong, but you can swim at least 50 yards and walk the brick test requirement, it may be possible to receive a Shallow Water Lifeguarding card. At any time in the future if you swimming skills increase to the level of deep-water requirements, we will issue the Professional Lifeguarding card that will allow you to guard at both deep water and shallow water pools at no additional cost.
Upon successful completion of the Lifeguard course, each participant will receive an American Aquatics Certificate indicating Lifeguard, CPR/AED for the Professional Rescuer and First Aid, which are all valid for 2 years under the new 2012 standards.
USLA – United States Lifesaving Association
If your particular job location requires this type of certification
- Age – A minimum of 16 years of age.
- Swimming Ability – Demonstrates an ability to swim 500 meters (550 yards) over a measured course in ten minutes or less.
- Health & Fitness – Possesses adequate vision, hearing acuity, physical ability and stamina to perform the duties of an open water lifeguard as documented by a medical or osteopathic physician.
- First Aid Certification – Certified as having successfully completed a first aid course accepted by the Federal Government or by the state government in the state of employment.
- CPR Certification – Currently certified as having successfully completed a course in providing one person adult, two person adult, child and infant cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), including ob-structed airway training, accepted by the Federal Government or by the state government in the state of employment.
Identify the importance of a lifeguard maintaining a position of safety when effecting a rescue.
Identify the appropriate method of entry for various types of water conditions, including, if applicable to the agency’s beaches:
1 Shallow water
2 Deep water
3 Unfamiliar water
Identify the characteristics of a proper approach to a victim.
Identify considerations when making contact with a victim.
Identify the appropriate victim approach for different rescue situations: front surface, rear surface or underwater.
Identify the value of an arm assist or cross chest carry for a given rescue situation.
Identify appropriate methods of lifting and removing a victim from the water.
Identify the priority of resuscitation over removal of a victim from the water.
Identify the general principles of defense, release, and escape from a panicked victim.
Identify the advantages and disadvantages of using swim fins during rescues.
Identify the advantages and disadvantages of reaching, wading, and throwing assists.
Identify the need to assess for spinal injury prior to effecting a rescue or moving a victim.
Identify the physiological response and behavioral sequences in victim recognition.
Demonstrate stride jump, shallow water dive, and porpoising.
Demonstrate the heads-up breast stroke, heads-up crawl stroke, and quick reverse.
Demonstrate the front surface approach, rear surface approach, submerged victim approach and level-off.
Demonstrate the arm assist and cross chest carry.
Demonstrate appropriate methods of lifting and removing a victim from the water.
Demonstrate releases and escapes from a panicked victim or victims.
Demonstrate the donning and use of swim fins in rescue if swim fins are used by the agency.
Demonstrate donning and clearing of mask and snorkel, and surface dive to recover a minimum 150 pound victim from a depth of at least ten feet of water.
Demonstrate proper spinal injury management during a rescue.
Identify the primary and secondary functions of a lifeguard.
￼Identify the need for policies and standard procedures.
Explain the role of public relations in lifeguarding.
Identify proper methods of communicating with the public.
Identify functions of tower systems, particularly those used by the employing agency.
Identify the uses of mobile vehicle support if used by the agency.
Identify the uses of both power and non-power vessel support.
Identify the correct way to interface with other local safety agencies including ambulance services, police, and rescue personnel.
Identify the emergency plan to summon and utilize these agencies when needed.
Identify the importance of equipment maintenance.
Identify factors which increase the risk of legal action.
Identify the purpose of uniforms.
Identify the importance of in-service training.
Identify the need for skin and eye protection from environmental exposure.
Identify the risks of personal injury to lifeguards posed by trauma and biohazards, particu- larly during training and rescue responses.
Identify methods of promoting personal safety through stretching exercises, use of wetsuits and other protective gear, and the use of rescue equipment and victims as buffers from sources of injury.
Identify the need for and methods to access back-up in emergencies.
Identify the various types of waves and the forces effecting their formation if the agency serves a beach with wave action.
Identify the characteristics and means of recognizing the types of currents experienced in the waters served by the agency.
Identify if rip currents are present at beaches served by the agency, identify each of the various types of rip currents.
Identify the hazards associated with the following which are present at beaches served by the agency:
1 Rip currents
2 Longshore currents
3 Tidal currents
4 River currents
5 Inshore holes
9 Offshore winds
10 Bottom contours and composition
11 Jetties and piers
Identify the basic functions of a communications system.
Identify the usefulness and limitations of the following means of communication:
1 Personal contact
4 Telephones and intercoms
5 Two-way radio
6 Public address systems
8 Hand signals
Identify the following arm signals from a lifeguard in the water:
1 Assistance required
2 Resuscitation required
3 Missing swimmer (Code X)
Identify the following arm signals from a lifeguard on shore:
1 Return to the beach
2 Go farther out
3 Go left
4 Go right
5 Stay there (or search there)
Identify the “No Swimming” flag and the diver flag.
Identify the following signs when used by the employing agency:
1 Swimming permitted
2 Swimming prohibited
3 Surfing permitted
4 Surfing prohibited
Identify appropriate telephone procedures.
Identify appropriate radio procedures if two-way radios are used by the agency:
1 Internal radio procedures
2 Radio procedures with other agencies
Demonstrate all methods of inter-lifeguard communication used by the agency including:
1 Hand/arm signals
2 Whistle systems
Demonstrate all methods of lifeguard to swimmer communications used by the agency including:
1 Personal contact
3 Public address systems
Records and Reporting
Identify the need for precision in keeping written records.
Identify important details which should be included in an accident report.
Identify the importance of incident and activity reports as legal documents.
Identify the need for keeping accurate statistics on agency activities.
Identify ways to recognize potential victims and proper water scanning techniques.
Identify hazards, such as the following, which are experienced at the locale of the employ- ing agency:
1 Calm and rough water
2 Warm and cold water
5 Storm drains
8 Creeks or streams
9 Rip currents and other water currents
10 Water animals, particularly those which can cause harm
Identify indications and signals of distress from:
1 Power boats
2 Sail boats
4 Surfers, including boardsailors
Identify the value of an offshore platform in management of a swimming crowd and identification of victims in distress.
Rescue Techniques and Procedures
Identify the usefulness and limitations of the rescue tube and rescue can in the following situations:
1 Unconscious victim
2 Multiple victim rescue
3 Defense against a panicked victim
4 Rescue breathing in the water
Identify the usefulness and limitations of the rescue paddleboard in the following situations:
1 Long distance rescue
2 Multiple victim rescue
3 Rough water or high surf rescue
4 Artificial respiration on a rescue board
5 CPR on a rescue board
Identify the usefulness and limitations of the landline, if used by the employing agency, in the following situations:
1 Rescue of a single victim
2 Rescue of multiple victims
3 Special situations
Identify considerations when utilizing a helicopter for a rescue.
Identify considerations when assisting a disabled vessel and the passengers thereof.
Identify considerations of the following rescue situations where they may develop on beaches served by the employing agency:
1 Rescue from a pier
2 Rescue from rock areas
3 Rescue of a scuba diver
4 Rescue of victims in a rip current
5 Rescue of victims in various surf conditions
Identify the benefits, limitations and proper methods of using powered and non-powered vessels for the following tasks:
1 Preventive lifeguarding
2 Calm water rescue
3 Rough water rescue
4 Multiple victim rescue
5 Victim transport
6 Victim resuscitation and CPR
Demonstrate the use of the rescue tube or rescue can for the following situations:
1 Conscious victim
2 Unconscious victim
3 Panicked victim
4 Artificial respiration in the water
5 Multiple victims>
Demonstrate the use of the rescue paddleboard in the following situations:
1 Conscious victim
2 Unconscious victim
3 Artificial respiration on a rescue board
4 Multiple victims
First Aid in the Aquatic Environment
Identify conditions which warrant suspicion of head, neck, and back injuries.
Identify methods of handling head, neck, and back injuries.
Identify the symptoms and treatments for the following injuries or medical problems:
1 Injuries caused by dangerous water animals and organisms in the locale of the agency
3 Heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke
6 Near drowning (water aspiration)
Demonstrate methods for safely extricating a person with head, neck or back injuries from distress.
Search and Recovery
Identify methods for establishing landmarks in searches for submerged victims.
Identify the usefulness and limitations of the line sweep and circular sweep search patterns.
Identify the usefulness and limitations of the use of mask, fins, and snorkel in search and rescue operations.
Identify the usefulness and limitations of scuba in search and rescue operations.
Identify considerations in body recovery.
Identify line and shore signals for search and recovery.
Identify the use of range marks in fixing the “last known point” of the victim prior to submersion.
Demonstrate a line sweep and circular sweep search.
Demonstrate the use of range marks.