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City of Philadelphia

How to Become a Lifeguard

Any candidate, 16 years of age or older, may attend any one of the screenings. Once the screening is passed, the candidate may move on to Lifeguard and CPR Training. 

Steps to Becoming an American Red Cross Certified Lifeguard

  1. Must be 15 years or older to attend a lifeguard screening at one of our 3 indoor training facilities. (See list below)
  2. Screening is free of charge and no appointment is necessary. Be sure to attend a screening on the days and times listed below. (See below)
  3. For the screening, an interested candidate must wear a bathing suit, bring a towel and bring a pair of goggles if you desire.
  4. The lifeguard screening consists of the following skills: 
    • Swim 12 lengths of the pool using both freestyle and breaststroke without stopping. This is not a timed swim, but you must continuously swim the 12 lengths and not stop or you will be need to start over.
    • Tread water for two minutes using only your legs with your hands out of the water. 
    • Retrieve a 10lb brick from a deep well (12ft). You will return to the surface and swim 20 yards back with to the starting point with the brick using only your legs. The brick must be out of the water with both hands and this has to be completed within 1 minute and 40 seconds.
  5. If you pass the screening, the Water Safety Instructor will enroll you in the next course at that specific training facility. The course date depends on the number of candidates who have passed the screening.
  6. If you fail the screening, you can try again until you pass. The Instructor will give you tips on what you can do to improve.
  7. Once enrolled in the course, you will complete the required 21 hours of Lifeguard Training including lifeguarding, CPR and First Aid. 
  8. Once you finish the course, you will take a final skills assessment and written examination. If you pass, you are now a certified ARC Lifeguard.
Please note that while the screening is free of charge, the lifeguard training course is $110 if the you commit to working for Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, and $175 if you will work somewhere other than PPR.

Steps to Securing a Job at a PPR Swimming Pool

The starting salary for PPR lifeguards is $12.33 per hour, with a salary cap of $14.60.

  1. Candidates must be 16 years or older to work as a lifeguard for the City of Philadelphia.
  2. Candidate will go to a PPR facility with a pool and apply for the position at that site.
  3. If the facility has an opening, the facility supervisor will supply the candidate with the application packet and instructions on filling out all of the paperwork. All applications are returned to the site where it is obtained for employment.
  4. Once all of the paperwork is completed and accepted, you will receive a call from the Aquatics Office to schedule a drug screening (if 18 years or older) and employment approval.
For information not listed above, you can contact Lisa Whittle at Lisa.Whittle@phila.gov or by calling (215) 683-3663. Email is preferred.

Training Facilities for Philadelphia Parks & Recreation (PPR)
  • Sayre Morris Swimming Pool (located at 59th and Spruce Streets, 19139 in West Philadelphia)
  • Pickett Swimming Pool (located on the Mastery Charter Campus at Wayne and Chelten Avenue, 19119 in Germantown)
  • Lincoln Swimming Pool (located within the Lincoln High School at Rowland and Shelmire Streets, 19136 in the Northeast)
Lifeguard Screening Days and Times
  • Sayre Morris Swimming Pool: Monday and Friday between 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
  • Pickett Swimming Pool: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday between 7:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
  • Lincoln Pool: Monday and Wednesday between 7:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. (through March 16th); after March 20th, Tuesday and Thursday between 7:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.

Lifeguard Re-certification Dates

If you are a certified ARC Lifeguard and your certification has not yet expired, you can enroll in a re-certification class. The cost of the course is $65 unless you do not have your own book or mask. The cost is $10 per mask and $35 per book for a total of $110.

The Lincoln Pool will be conducting courses runs June 1st, 2nd and 3rd from 10 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.(must attend all four days).

Lincoln Pool
Rowland and Shelmire Streets
Philadelphia, PA 19136

Screening Days and Times

  • Sayre Morris Swimming Pool: Monday and Friday between 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
  • Pickett Swimming Pool: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday between 7:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
  • Lincoln Pool: Monday and Wednesday between 7:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. (through March 16th); after March 20th, Tuesday and Thursday between 7:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.