Individuals interested in working as a lifeguard in the State of Rhode Island must become certified by the Rhode Island DEM Division of Parks & Recreation as either a Surf or Non-Surf lifeguard to work at a beach or as a Pool Lifeguard (if required by facility operator) to work at a pool.
Lifeguard Certification Testing Dates
Lifeguard Certification Exam Dates
- Surf Certified Lifeguards can work at any type swimming facility in the state.
- Non-Surf Certified Lifeguards can work at non-surf (freshwater or bayside) beaches and pools.
- Pool Certified Lifeguards can work only at swimming pools.
- Note: Non-Conditional State Lifeguard Certification cards expire on September 30th of each year.
Lifeguard Certification Requirements:
- All candidates must be at least 15 years of age and must present a photo I.D. with verification of date of birth every time they apply for certification.
- Applicants under the age of 18, MUST be accompanied by a parent or guardian who must sign the application/waiver form for the minor applying to take the state lifeguard certification test or obtain a waiver from the Division of Parks and Recreation prior to the test date.
- All candidates must have successfully completed courses and hold valid cards in Lifeguard Training, First Aid, and CPR which includes infant, child and adult. All of which should not to be due to expire within 30 days of taking a State test.
CPR Card Notes
- The following CPR cards will be accepted: "CPR for the professional Rescuer" or "CPR for Lifeguards" from the Red Cross and "BLS for the healthcare Provider" from the Heart Association are the recommended level of CPR training. The "Heartsaver CPR for all Ages" from the Heart Association will also be accepted. OR an appropriate Adult, Infant, and Child CPR card from the National Safety Council, American Safety & Health Institute or other accredited organizations.
- Only original, valid up to date cards and certificates from nationally accredited organizations, such as the Red Cross, YMCA, National Safety Council and American Heart Association are accepted. Individuals should not consider any online course without checking with DEM Division of Parks and Recreation prior to registration to verify if any such course would be accepted for lifeguard certification. No photostats, altered, defaced or damaged cards will be honored. No letters from instructors, rosters or other documents will be accepted in lieu of original training cards or certificates from accredited organizations.
- Candidates should contact DEM Division of Parks and Recreation with any questions on their training cards or certificates well in advance of scheduled test dates.
- No candidate will be certified if any of their cards or certificates are due to expire within 30 days. They will not be certified until they have renewed and replaced the expiring card or certificates.
- An EMT license will be honored for the First Aid requirement, but an EMT must still present separate cards in Lifeguard Training and appropriate CPR.
- Lifeguard Training, First Aid, and CPR courses are offered throughout the year by accredited agencies. Candidates should check with accredited agencies for dates and times for these courses and all courses must be completed prior to the start of the State Certification Tests in May.
- There is a $10.00 fee for the State Certification Card which must be paid prior to the card being issued.
Candidates seeking a 2020 pool certification, as may be required by their facility operator, can simply apply at the Division's Main Office at 1100 Tower Hill Road in North Kingstown . The office is open Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and the phone number is (401) 667-6200. Pool certification candidates must show a photo I.D., verification of their date of birth, and valid safety cards. The cost is $10.00. If their credentials are in order, they will be issued a Pool Lifeguard Certification Card.
Surf and Non-Surf Certification
No appointment is necessary, but the required active training cards or certificates, (CPR, First Aid, Lifeguard Training) or equivalent must be presented at the examination along with a photo I.D. and verification of date of birth. Candidates under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to sign the waiver/application form.