Rhode Island State Parks

Lifeguard Certifications

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Lifeguard Certification

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 waterfront facility. The DEM Division of Parks and Recreation no longer certifies pool Lifeguards.

  • 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.
  • 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 legal guardian who must sign the lifeguard certification form for the minor applying to take the state lifeguard certification test or if they are unable to attend the test, the parent or legal guardian can sign the form in advance IF the signature is notarized.
  • 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.

  Requirements CPR Card Pool Requirements Certification

Lifeguard Certification Exam Dates

Lifeguard Certification Requirements:

Lifeguard at Misquamicut State Beach  
  • 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 legal guardian who must sign the lifeguard certification form for the minor applying to take the state lifeguard certification test or if they are unable to attend the test, the parent or legal guardian can sign the form in advance IF the signature is notarized.
  • 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, and CPR. but must still present separate cards in Lifeguard Training.
  • 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
 

Pool Certification

Candidates seeking a 2022 pool certification, as may be required by their facility operator, can simply apply through RI State Parks Headquarters. Please email Tom.Rosa@dem.ri.gov to make an appointment. Note: 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

DEM/Division of Parks and Recreation has implemented changes to the Lifeguard Certification process which we feel increases our ability to keep waterfront properties protected, increase the amount of lifeguard applicants, and make the certification process easier for candidates. This will be a multi-year process, we will be implementing a few of these changes prior to the traditional full certification test this August. Below are the changes:

  • Any lifeguard who presently holds a Full Certification due to expire on September 30, 2022, will be exempt from taking a test this August. The Division will be extending the expiration of their current State Certification until June 15, 2023. These eligible candidates will receive notification for their records.
  • Any lifeguard who presently holds a Conditional Certification is still required to attend the August certification, however, these candidates will only be tested on the swim portion. Candidates will not need to demonstrate the rescue skills at that time.
  • Certification for 2023 will take place in the Spring of 2023 and will require a demonstration of rescue skills and the completion of the endurance swim. The endurance swim may be performed in a pool (see below for additional details) in advance of Certification or may be completed at the time of the Certification Testing in the Spring of 2023. There will no longer be any testing in August moving forward. Below are the changes that have taken effect:
 
  • The allowable endurance swim distance will be 400 METERS or 440 YARDS. The endurance swim still must be completed in under ten (10) minutes or less and with only a forward-facing swim stroke.
  • The endurance swim may be performed in a pool prior to attending a testing date for State Certification. You may perform this endurance swim in any state in which you reside or attend school between March 2023 and the date you intend to attend the State Certification Test. The endurance swim MUST be performed in front of an “Approved Aquatic Examiner” who will attest and complete the Proof of Endurance Swim form. DEM is developing this Proof of Endurance Swim form and will define who may be considered an “Approved Aquatic Examiner”. The form will be located on the Lifeguard Certification Portal.
  • At the time of the State Certification Test, you will be required to present the Proof of Endurance Swim form along with all other required forms and certifications (First Aid, CPR, Lifeguard Training, and the completed Lifeguard Certification Form to DEM.
  • If you do not complete the endurance swim prior to the State Certification Test or if you fail to provide a properly executed Proof of Endurance Swim form you will be required to perform the endurance swim on the State Certification Test date.
  • All candidates will be required to register for a specific testing time via the Lifeguard Certification Portal. Walk-ins will be allowed as testing schedule dictates. If you need to perform the endurance swim at the State Certification Test, we recommend the use of a wetsuit if you have concerns about the water temperature.
  • Starting in the Spring of 2023, State Certification Test dates will be expanded to include later hours, as well as weekend testing dates to better accommodate candidates’ schedules.
 

If you have any questions, please contact the Parks & Recreation Headquarters by calling 401-667-6200 or emailing DEM.RIparks@dem.ri.gov. View Upcoming Dates.

Online Lifeguard certification tests

Online Classroom Training

Due to the closure of most pools, new lifeguards and those who wish to recertify may participate in the American Red Cross Lifeguarding Blended Learning (online classes). Once you complete the course, print out the completion pass and when facilities reopen you will be assigned a time to complete the in-person portion of the ARC Lifeguard Training class. View the ARC Lifeguard Manual Blended learning combines online learning with in-person skills sessions where you will practice skills and demonstrate competency. Please plan to complete all eLearning modules, including the CPR/AED for Professional Rescuers and First Aid final eLearning exam, at least two days prior to your first in-person skills session. Most participants complete the eLearning portion of the course in approximately 7 hours. Your experience may vary widely based on several factors including your computer/device, internet speed and previous training. We recommend beginning the online session as soon as possible to ensure that you are able to complete all eLearning modules prior to the first in-person skill session.

The Certificates of completion for the online courses MUST be printed out and presented to an instructor at the in-person portion.

Access online traning

Questions? Contact American Red Cross Instructor W. James Farrell III at 401-265-2902 or wfarrellii@aol.com

Lifeguard Full Certification Testing

IMPORTANT NOTE: THERE ARE TWO TYPES OF CERTIFICATIONS - FULL SURF & FULL NON-SURF. BE SURE TO SIGN UP FOR THE CORRECT TEST.

UPDATE JUNE 2022: DEM/Division of Parks and Recreation has implemented changes to the Lifeguard Certification process which we feel increases our ability to keep waterfront properties protected, increase the amount of lifeguard applicants, and make the certification process easier for candidates. This will be a multi-year process, we will be implementing a few of these changes prior to the traditional full certification test this August. View Changes

  • If you have Full Certification and fail to maintain certification annually in August, you will be required to perform the full test with swim the following year in the spring at the Conditional Certification.

2022 Full Surf Test

  • Date: Wednesday, August 17, 2022; Time: 9:00am - 2:00pm
  • Sachuest (2nd Beach), 474 Sachuest Point Road, Middletown
  • Card Valid until June 15, 2023

Endurance: Swim 400 meters or 440 yards in ten minutes or less using only front swimming strokes. Rescue: Torp and reel save, three person team. Board: Board rescue 100 yards out, flip board, secure victim on board, paddle board and victim to shore.

No registration is required

Lifeguarding at State Beaches

Lifeguard watches over the shoreline at Scarborough State Beach  

Join our team!

  • Hourly rates are competitive and range from $13.25 to $16.25, based on location and position level.
  • All applicants must be at least fifteen (15) years of age.
  • All applicants must be properly certified as either a Surf or Non – Surf Lifeguard depending on the location they are applying for work.
  • Applicants for employment as lifeguards with DEM Division of Parks and Recreation must apply online at Apply RI.
  • When an applicant is hired, they must fill out other required paperwork and a CS-60 Physical Form before being eligible to start work. This paperwork is completed at the DEM Office of Human Resources, Room 350 in the Foundry Building at 235 Promenade Street in Providence. For more information, call (401) 222-2774.
  • Candidates interested in being considered for a Lifeguard Supervisors (Captains) position shall hold active Instructors cards in Lifeguard Training, First Aid and C.P.R. from an accredited agency. Anyone interested in being a Lifeguard Supervisor/captain and who has a valid instructor’s card should contact the DEM Division of Parks and Recreation so your name may be placed on file for future consideration.
  • For more information on seasonal employment with DEM Division of Parks and Recreation, or for questions about lifeguard certification, please contact us at (401) 667-6200 or dem.riparks@dem.ri.gov.

Lifeguard Certification

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