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City of Philadelphia

How to Become a Lifeguard


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 or by calling (215) 683-3663. Email is preferred.

Training Facilities for Philadelphia Parks & Recreation (PPR)
  • 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)
  • Sayre Morris Swimming Pool, located at 59th and Spruce Streets, 19139 in West Philadelphia, is currently closed until further notice.
Lifeguard Screening Days and Times
  • Pickett Swimming Pool: Monday through Friday between 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
  • Lincoln Pool: Monday through Friday between 7:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. 
Upcoming Classes
  • Lincoln Pool Full certification ($100)
    December 26th - December 29th 12:00pm - 6:00pm
  • Lincoln Pool Recertification ($50)
    December 26th - December 27th 12:00pm - 6:00pm

Are you currently hiring?

Parks & Rec will begin hiring lifeguards in 2018. Get started on the hiring process today at one of our indoor pools.
  • Pickett School Pool 5700 Wayne Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19144
  • Lincoln Pool 7437 Rowland Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19136
Check back for updates in the spring or view our employment page for any open positions.