Earn while you learn! You’re one click away from starting your journey to become a lifeguard!


The YMCA’s nationally-recognized Lifeguard Certification program prepares you for one of the most highly demanded jobs in the country.

  • Course is free
  • 2024 Participants earn a stipend while taking the lifeguard training course 

  • Get a new hire bonus when you become certified through our course and join our team  

  • YMCA Lifeguard Course allows the use of corrective lenses.

Can I pass the required pretest? See below for the pretest requirements.

What does the Pre-Test Involve?


Pre-Test Requirements

1. Tread water for 2 minutes - use legs only.

2. Swim 100 yards of front crawl.

3. Swim 50 yards of each:

  • Sidestroke
  • Breaststroke
  • Elementary backstroke

4. Complete feet-first surface dive and 15 feet underwater swim.

5. Perform 60-foot sprint, then do an head-first surface dive to retrieve object at the bottom of pool and hold at surface treading for 1 minute.

6. Submerge to the bottom using a foot-first surface dive, replace the object on the bottom of the pool where it was found, and return to the surface.

7. Swim the remaining length to end of pool, and hoist yourself out of water.

8. Perform compressions on an adult manikin and follow directions of the instructor.

*Note: Goggles may be used for sections 1-4, and must be removed for sections 5-8.

Register for the Pre-Test

We regularly schedule pre-tests to confirm your swim ability meets the standard for the Lifeguard Certification Course. Register for your pre-test below.




YMCA BranchesTime
Bed-StuySat. 3-4pm
Coney Island*currently not offering
North BrooklynMon. 12-2pm
Thurs. 2-4pm
Prospect Park*currently not offering
Cross Island*Limited availability
FlushingTue. 2-4pm
Thu. 2-4pm
JamaicaFri. 4:30-5pm
Rockaway*currently not offering
Harlem*currently not offering
McBurney*currently not offering
VanderbiltTue. 11-1pm
West SideSat. 10-10:30am
Staten Island 
BroadwayTue. 4-4:30pm
Fri. 3-4pm
South ShoreTue. 3-3:30pm
Thurs. 3-3:30pm
Sun. 4-5pm
The Bronx 
Castle HillTue. 4-6pm
La CentralMon. 4-6pm
Thu. 4-6pm


Note: To qualify for the Fall I Course (Sept 2nd -  Oct 27th), you must pass your pre-test by August 17th.

Note: To qualify for the Fall II Course (Oct 28th - December 22nd), you must pass your pre-test by October 12th.

Note: To qualify for the December Break Week Course (December 26th - 30th), you must pass your pre-test by December 9th.

Note: To qualify for the Winter 2025 Course (January 2nd - February 23rd), you must pass your pre-test by December 14th.

*Pretest must be taken less than 90 days from the start of the session you would like to attend.

You will need to bring a swimsuit, a swim cap, and a towel to the pretest. Goggles are optional.


Course Dates

After you successfully pass the pre-test, you may participate in our free Lifeguard Certification Course. Below are upcoming courses in New York City. Note: You do not need to take your pre-test in the same location you plan to take the certification course.


Fall I Session

In-Person Class LocationDatesTimes
West Side (Thurs)Sept 5, 12, 19, 26, Oct 3, 10, 17, 2410am-3pm
Cross Island (Sat)Sept 7, 14, 21, 28, Oct 5, 12, 19, 261:00-6:00pm
Castle Hill (Mon & Wed)Sept 2, 4, 9, 11, 16, 18, 23, 25, 30, Oct 2, 7, 9, 14, 16, 21, 234:30-7:30pm
Staten Island  
South Shore (Tue)Sept 3, 10, 17, 24, Oct 1, 8, 15, 224-9:00pm
Bedford-Stuyvesant (Sat)Sept 7, 14, 21, 28, Oct 5, 12, 19, 262-7:00pm


Fall II Session

In-Person Class LocationDatesTimes
Harlem (Mon)Oct 28, Nov 4, 11, 18, 25, Dec 2, 9, 162:00-7:30pm
Jamaica (Thur)Oct 31, Nov 7, 14, 21, Dec 5, 12, 1910-3:45pm
LaCentral (Mon & Wed)Oct 28, 30,Nov 4, 6, 11, 13, 18, 20, 25, 27, Dec 2, 4, 9, 11, 16, 184:30-7:30pm
Staten Island  
Broadway (Sat)Nov 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, Dec 7, 14, 2110-3:00pm
North Brooklyn (Wed)Oct 30, Nov 6, 13, 20, 27, Dec 4, 11, 1811-4:00pm


December Break Session

In-Person Class: Thursday, December 26 to Monday, December 30, 2024.
The course is a 5 Day Intensive Course: All eLearning must be completed prior to 12/23 to attend

HarlemManhattanThur 12/26 - Mon 12/30 9am-5pm
McBurneyManhattanThur 12/26 - Mon 12/30   9am-5pm
Coney IslandBrooklynThur 12/26 - Mon 12/30   9am-5pm


Lifeguard Certification Course Description

Course Components
  • Basic Life Support
  • Adult First Aid
  • Emergency Use of Medical Oxygen
  • Y Lifeguard Classroom
  • Pool/Water Skills Time
  • eLearning Time
  • Course Hours

Introductory e-Learning: 9 hours
Classroom Learning: 13 hours
Water/Pool Skills: 15 hours
Total Time: 37 hours

  • Must attend all sessions. Any lateness exceeding 15 minutes is counted as not attending. Each component has a physical skill and written exam. Completion of the physical skills is mandatory to take the written exam. Passing grade is 80% for written exams.

Open Lifeguard Positions

Are you a certified lifeguard? Apply today to join our team and serve your community!

View Open Jobs



Interested in learning more about our lifeguard certification courses?

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