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
  • 2023 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  

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

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.

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 Branches Time
Bed-Stuy Sat. 3-4pm
Coney Island  
North Brooklyn Mon. 12-2pm
Wed. 12-2pm
Prospect Park  
Cross Island Sat. 1-2pm
Flushing Tue. 2-4pm
Thu. 2-4pm
Jamaica Fri. 4:30-5pm
Rockaway Mon. 10-12pm
Mon. 3-4:30pm
Vanderbilt Tue. 11-1pm
West Side Wed. 3-4pm
Fri. 3-4pm
Staten Island  
Broadway Tue. 3:30-4:30pm
South Shore Tue. 3-3:30pm
Thurs. 3-3:30pm
Sun. 4-5pm
The Bronx  
Castle Hill Mon. 3-5pm
Tue. 3-5pm
La Central Mon. 4-6pm
Thu. 4-6pm

Note: To qualify for the Fall I Course (September 5th - October 29th), you must pass your pre-test by August 19th.

Note: To qualify for the Fall II Course (October 30th - December 24th), you must pass your pre-test by October 14th.

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 2024 Course (January 2nd - February 25th ), you must pass your pre-test by December 16th.

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 Location Dates Times
West Side (Thurs) Sept 7, 14, 21, 28, Oct 5, 12, 19, 26 10:00am-3:00pm
Flushing(Sat) Sept 9, 16, 23, 30, Oct 7, 14, 21, 28 9:00-2:00 pm
Castle Hill (Mon & Wed) Sept 6, 11, 13, 18, 20, 25, 27, Oct 2, 4, 9, 11, 16, 18, 23, 25 4:30-7:45pm
Staten Island    
South Shore (Tues) Sept 5, 12, 19, 26, Oct 3, 10, 17, 24 4:00-9:00pm
Prospect Park (Wed) Sept 6, 13, 20, 27, Oct 4, 11, 18, 25 3:00-8:00pm



Fall II Session

In-Person Class Location Dates Times
Harlem (Mon & Wed) Oct 30, Nov 1, 6, 8, 13, 15, 20, 22, 27, 29, Dec 4, 6, 11, 13, 18, 20 4:15pm-7:15pm
Jamaica (Thurs) Nov 2, 9, 16, 30, Dec 7, 14, 21 9:00-2:45 pm
Castle Hill (Mon & Wed) Oct 30, Nov 1, 6, 8, 13, 15, 20, 22, 27, 29, Dec 4, 6, 11, 13, 18, 20 4:30-7:30pm
Staten Island    
South Shore (Tues) Oct 31, Nov 7, 14, 21, 28, Dec 5, 12, 19 4:00-9:00pm
North Brooklyn (Sun) Nov 5, 12, 19, 26, Dec 3, 10, 17, 24 10:00-3:00pm


December Break Session

In-Person Class: Tuesday, December 26 - Saturday, December 30, 2023
The course is a 5 Day Intensive Course: All eLearning must be completed prior to 12/24 to attend

Branch Borough Dates/Times
Flushing Queens Tue. 12/26-Sat. 12/30 
Coney Island Brooklyn Tue. 12/26-Sat. 12/30 


Lifeguard Certification Course Description

Course Components
  • Basic Life Support
  • Basic First Aid
  • Oxygen administration
  • 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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