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USLA Lifeguard Agency Certification Program
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The United States Lifesaving Association is recognized nationally and internationally for our programs that set minimum recommended standards for the training, equipping, and preparedness of those assigned to prevent drowning and other injury in the open water environment. Since 1993, the USLA has certified (accredited) agencies which demonstrate that they meet USLA standards.

The USLA certifies open water lifeguard agencies; and the USLA also certifies aquatic rescue response teams (ARRT) maintained by fire, police, and other public safety providers. The content of the two certification programs differ in some respects. For example, on-site prevention is a primary focus of lifeguards, who typically respond based on observation of emergencies, whereas aquatic rescue response teams typically respond to reports of emergencies from 9-1-1 callers and other sources.

Under the USLA system, the USLA does not conduct training, but instead allows the employer to do so, using its own trainers, in a manner consistent with USLA standards. This system ensures that national standards are met, with a focus on local conditions. It is used by some of the most respected aquatic safety agencies in the US.

All trainees must be provided a copy of Open Water Lifesaving – The United States Lifesaving Association Manual (3rd edition 2017). Certified agencies are provided no-cost access to training materials, including a comprehensive PowerPoint presentation, lesson plans, skill sheets, and quizzes.

Applications for certification are reviewed for completeness and adherence to minimum standards by our national staff. They are then referred to USLA Certification Officers near the applying agencies. The National Certification Committee forwards applications determined to be in compliance to the USLA Board of Directors for final approval.. Final review of applications takes place twice each year in April and November. Certification extends for three years, so long as agencies maintain the standards demonstrated in their application, after which agencies must reapply. Agencies may pay by credit card or request an invoice. The cost is $500.

Before applying for certification, agency representatives should first review the USLA guidelines to ensure that they are compliant with all required elements.

Guidelines for Lifeguard Agencies

Guidelines for Aquatic Rescue Response Teams

One you have reviewed the guidelines, follow the instructions to submit an application

For assistance during the application process, you are welcome to contact the USLA Certification Program Administrator. You may also contact the USLA National Certification Committee Chair.

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