Lifeguard Training

Dive into a new career! The Lifeguard Training Program at the Simpkins Family Swim Center provides aspiring lifeguards the necessary skills and certifications.

American Red Cross Lifeguard Certification Courses

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About the Course

The American Red Cross Lifeguarding course provides participants with the knowledge and skills to prevent, recognize, and respond to aquatic emergencies and to provide care for breathing and cardiac emergencies and injuries until advanced personnel take over. Participants who successfully complete the course will receive 2-year certification in ARC Lifeguarding, First Aid, and CPR/AED for professional rescuers. This certification is required for employment as a lifeguard with Santa Cruz County Parks.


The course is taught using a blended learning format, with independent online coursework followed by in-person skill sessions. In total, the course takes about 28 hours to complete and is typically scheduled throughout 1 to 2 weeks. We offer the course multiple times throughout October to May.



  • Successfully pass the Pre-Course Swim Assessment

  • Must be at least 15 years of age by the last day of the course.


For more information, please call 831-454-7964 or email

Pre-Course Swim Assessment

The assessment evaluates your endurance, strength, and comfort in the pool.

  • Swim 300 yards continuously, demonstrating breath control and rhythmic breathing using a combination of front crawl (freestyle) and breaststroke techniques.

  • Without the use of goggles, complete the following in under 1 minute 40 seconds: swim out 20 yards, submerge to a depth of 7-10 feet to locate and retrieve a 10 pound object, swim back 20 yards on the surface with both hands holding the object while keeping the face at or near the surface, exit the pool without using ladder or steps.

  • Tread water for 2 minutes using only the legs. Candidates must be able to maintain an upright body position with their head above the surface of the water for the full 2 minutes.

For safety reasons, candidates who cannot complete the pre-course swim assessment before the class begins are not eligible to continue in the American Red Cross Lifeguarding course and will receive a full refund.


Steps to Complete the Course

Step One

Registration & Swim Assessment

  1. Register online or contact us to register.

  2. Contact us to schedule a pre-course swim assessment.

Step Two

Independent Course Work

After passing the swim assessment, you will be given textbooks, study guides, and access to the online course.


The online portion and independent study packet must be completed before attending in-person skills sessions.

Step Three

In-Person Skill Sessions

Full attendance and active participation are required.

To sucessfully pass the course and earn the certification, lifeguarding candidates must:

  • demonstrate the required CPR and rescue skills without coaching,
  • demonstrate sucess in multiple-responder team scenarios, 
  • pass a multiple-choice test with a score of 80% or higher by the course conclusion date.  

Contact Us


(831) 454-7960

Monday – Friday 6:00 AM to 7:45 PM, except holidays

Our physical office is open, but staff availability is limited as some staff members are working remotely.