Bronze Medallion is the first course that must be completed before progressing. In the Bronze Medallion course there is a strong emphasis on building the basics for fitness, stroke mechanics, simple rescues, and first aid. This course is usually taught over 2 weekends, about 35 hours in length. Many times this course is combined with Emergency First Aid & level B CPR course, but it is recommended that candidates have first aid training prior to taking the Bronze Medallion course.
There are clearly established bench marks which must be met for one to pass this courses, which include relavent knowledge, fitness, and rescue skills.
Candidates must be 14 years of age in order to complete this course. Completion of this course does not qualify one as a lifeguard, but allows them to progress to the next course.
Although this is not a prerequisite, it is strongly recommended that you be a good swimmer and physically fit prior to the course. Most courses are fairly intensive and if you are not ready you will suffer and not be able to keep up.