Lifeguard Class FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

How challenging is Lifeguarding Class? Do you think I will pass?

This course is challenging, truly, but with hard work, practice and dedication--both here training at GRCC and at home studying-- we believe every candidate could become a lifeguard.  That said, not everyone passes.

Lifeguard certification is earned, not given.  Each candidate must complete written assignments, skills testing, written tests, and hours of practice to earn the credentials of a lifeguard.

No instructor is able to tell a candidate they will pass or fail a lifeguard course before they have had the chance to teach them the material.

I would like to sign up for a lifeguard class. When should I register?

Right now.  These classes fill up very fast--especially in the spring.  Waiting until a couple weeks prior to a classes start could be too late.

I just completed my registration form for a lifeguard class online. When will my registration be confirmed?

If you completed the registration and payment process online, you're do have a seat in our class. You will receive a confirmation email from a staff member with specifics about the class within a week of the class' start date.  If a class fails to enroll at least 4 participants, that class may be canceled.  Your refund will be issued in the form of a check from GRCC.

I registered for a course several weeks ago but did not complete the online payment portion. I've looked online and now the course is full. Can I still pay for and join the class? 

No.  Seats in class are given to those who have registered and paid prior to the class filling.  If you want to train with us, please complete the online payment process immediately following your registration for the class.  We can't afford to wait for you to decide if you are going to attend and risk leaving a seat in the class empty.  So, if you want to become a lifeguard, please pay as soon as you register.

Do you accept credit card payments online, over the phone or in person?

We accept credit cards online and in the main office of the Ford Fieldhouse.  We are unable to accept credit cards over the phone.

I don't have a credit/debit card. Can I mail in a check?

The preferred way to pay for a class at GRCC's Pool is to pay online. However, if you are unable to pay online, please send Forrest and email after you register to let him know a check is coming. Checks should be made out to "GRCC" with your name and course number in the memo line and mailed to:

Attn: Madeline Dyer
143 Bostwick Ave NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

If you don't want to mail us a check, you may drop your payment off at the Ford Fieldhouse office between 8AM and 5PM. Your place in class is still not guaranteed until your payment is received.  

I want to sign up for a lifeguard class that starts 7 days or less from now. What should I do?

Email our Aquatic Skills Development Specialist, Maddie!  it may not be too late to sign up, but you will need to make sure we have space available and that your payment will be made before class begins. 

I was once a lifeguard.  My certification has expired, but I have been reading the Lifeguard Manual.  Is it possible for me to test out of this course to earn certification?

No. You must take the initial certification course again.

I am a certified lifeguard, and my certification expires soon. Do I have to take the full 16 hour refresher course or can I challenge my certification?

The Lifegaurd Challenge Course is a thing of the past.  Lifeguards with expiring certifications must now complete a refresher course that lasts about 12 hours.  Here at GRCC, that course is between 14-16 hours.  While that may not be the news you want to hear, it is the new standard from the ARC, and it applies to all facilities that train ARC lifeguards. The additional time will allow you to sharpen your skills and hit the stand feeling confident.

Must I provide my current lifeguard certification to complete a lifeguard refresher class?

Yes. Without proof of current certification, we won't know that you're a lifeguard. 

I have CPR/AED certification now.  Do I need to take the entire course even though I have that certificate?

Yes. Even if you hold valid certificates in CPR/AED and/or First Aid, we expect that you will be present for the entire course and refine your skills to an even more impressive level.

None of the courses listed online fit my schedule.  Do you offer one-on-one training?

No. Lifeguarding requires teamwork and mutual aid from fellow lifeguards. We practice and train the way you will work at an aquatic facility.

I want to sign up for a class, but I have a scheduling conflict on one of the days class is being taught.  Should I still register for the course?

Maybe. You are required to attend every minute of every class to become a certified lifeguard. It is never possible to miss a class, not make it up, and become certified, ever. However, it MIGHT be possible to make it up with one of our other classes at different time or with our instructors and staff here at GRCC. If you are in a predicament like this, contact Maddie before you register.  If we can work it out in a manner that is congruent with the high standards we hold for our candidates, we will consider it. If we fell it will affect your ability to perform your duty as a lifeguard negatively in the future, then we will not.

Class starts tomorrow.  I've never been to GRCC's campus.  Where do I park?  Where's the pool? What do I bring?

If this is your first trek down to GRCC's lovely campus, be sure to check out our page "About GRCC's Lifeguard Classes". There are lots of tips about navigating the campus for the first time as well as plenty of helpful bits of information about what to bring, where to park, what to expect, etc. If you have more questions, email or call us. We're happy to tell you whatever you need to know.

I've signed up and paid for class, but now I can't take it.  Can I get a refund?

A full refund will mailed to candidates who email us to cancel their enrollment no later than 30 days prior to the first day of the course in which they have enrolled.  Refunds will not be issued after that period of time. All refunds will be issued in the form of a check.

If a candidate does not pass the prerequisite tests do they get their money back?

No.  Each candidate who enrolls in class should be aware of the skills required to begin the course as they are posted clearly on our website.  100% of candidates who are unable to complete the prerequisite testing successfully will be dismissed from class without a refund.  It is a candidate's responsibility to ensure that they are able to perform those tests successfully before class begins.  We have no way of knowing prior to the start of class if any person is able to complete those tests.  We are, however, staffed with instructors and prepared with the appropriate materials and supplies to train every person who is enrolled regardless of their ability. So, if you have questions about those requirements, then please contact us prior to registering for class.  If you're still unsure if you can pass those tests, please practice!  We want everyone who registers to succeed, but we will not compromise the ARC's standards.

I just finished the course, but did not pass.  What can I do?

For a host of reasons, some candidates do not pass this course the first time they attempt it.  Considering the nature of lifeguarding, we are very strict to ensure that each candidate is fully capable to performing with excellence when on duty following a course's completion at GRCC.

Candidates who do not pass will be given appropriate feedback from their instructor about what they need to improve upon and will be  allowed to retake the course during the next session offered at no additional cost.

How long will it take to receive my cards once I complete the course?

Certification cards have gone digital!  Once a course is completed, we submit paperwork to the ARC showing that each candidate who has successfully completed our course has passed.  If you provide us with an email address, a digital certificate of completion will be sent to your inbox as soon as that course record is processed.  Usually that happens within a couple business days of the last day of class.

I lost my American Red Cross Certificate.  How can I get a new one?


The ARC will verify your certificate and be able to send you a digital copy after you provided your First and Last name, GRCC's zip code (49503), and the last day of the course.  Once your record has been located, simply provide your email address and your certificate will be emailed to you!

I have more questions! May I ask someone?

Yes! Please send me an email (  I'm more than happy to reply to your message and usually respond in less than 24 hours.  Be as specific as you can about your questions.  I will respond with as much information as I can.   You may also call my office phone at 616-234-2233.  When leaving a message, be very specific about what information you would like for me to provide you.  This ensures that when I return your call, I can deliver that information even if you are unavailable to answer my return call.