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Working & jobs

Become a lifeguard

Philadelphia Parks & Recreation hires hundreds of lifeguards each summer. The starting salary for all Parks & Rec lifeguards is $16 per hour. Lifeguards typically work 35 hours per week from June through August.

Lifeguard trainings take place throughout the year. If you’re interested in serving as a Parks & Rec lifeguard, follow the process below.

Returning lifeguards: Please complete the process detailed below for recertification.


You must be 15 years or older to attend a lifeguard screening at one of our two indoor training facilities. However, you must be 16 years or older to work as a lifeguard for the City of Philadelphia.


To be considered for a position, you must:

  1. Contact a city pool supervisor to begin the application process (see below).
  2. Attend a lifeguard screening given by a Parks & Rec Water Safety Instructor.
To pass the screening you must:
  • Swim 300 yards non-stop.
    • 12 laps of freestyle or breaststroke in a 25-yard pool.
    • This is not a timed swim.
    • If you stop, you will need to start over.
  • Tread water for two minutes without using your arms.
  • Retrieve a 10-pound brick from a 12 foot-deep well. Return to the surface and swim 20 yards back to the starting point with the brick, using only your legs.
    • The brick must be held out of the water with both hands.
    • You must complete this task within one minute and 40 seconds.
For the screening, wear a bathing suit and bring a towel. You may also wear swim goggles.

Where and when

Lifeguard screenings and skills trainings take place at:

  • Northeast Philadelphia: Lincoln High School – 3201 Ryan Ave., 19136.

Monday through Friday evening.
Reserve a time slot at the Northeast Philadelphia location.


Screenings and trainings are free of charge. Sign up in advance to secure your spot.

The lifeguard certification course fees for 2022 are:

Lifeguards ages 16–24 who commit to and work at a Parks & Rec pool:

  • Certification: FREE. 
  • Recertification: FREE.

Lifeguards ages 25+ who commit to and work at a Parks & Rec pool:  

  • Certification: $110. 
  • Recertification: $65.


Lifeguard certification

Any candidate who has the skills needed to pass the screening and is 16 years old and over should:

Take the screening test

Complete the lifeguard screening detailed in the Requirements section, above. If you pass the screening, advance to the certification course (see next step).

If you do not pass the screening, you can:

  • Try again until you pass.
  • Attend a lifeguard skills training. This will help you:
    • Get tips on what you can do to improve.
    • Practice the skills needed to pass the screening.

Lifeguard skills trainings run at the same time as lifeguard screenings.
See times and locations in the “When and where” section, above.

Complete lifeguard certification course

After you pass the screening, a Water Safety Instructor will enroll you in a lifeguard certification course. This course includes classwork and hands-on, in-pool training.

You will learn how to:

  • Prevent and respond to water emergencies.
  • Prepare for a variety of scenarios in and around the water.
  • Prevent drownings and injuries.
  • Recognize and care for a variety of first aid, breathing, and cardiac emergencies involving adults, children and infants.
Pass the exam

Once you finish the course, you will:

  1. Take a final skills assessment.
  2. Complete a written examination.

If you pass, you will be a certified American Red Cross Lifeguard. Certification is valid nationwide for two years.

Application process

Note: You should work on the application and screening/certification process at the same time.

You do not need to complete one to start the other.

Go to a Parks & Rec pool

Apply for a position at the site where you want to work.

  • Contact the supervisor at a pool where you would like to work. Do this before or during the screening/certification process detailed above.
  • If you have not identified a pool where you would like to work:

Use our Finder to search for pool locations, address, and contact information.

Fill out an application
  • If a pool needs a lifeguard the facility supervisor will give you an application and instructions.
  • You must return the application to the site where you obtained it.
Complete Process
When all paperwork is complete and accepted the Aquatics Office will call you to:
  1. Schedule a drug screening (if 18 years or older).
  2. Set up an employee processing appointment. At this appointment you will:
    • Complete other important paperwork.
    • Have your photo taken.
The pool supervisor will let you know when you can begin work. They will receive approval from the Parks & Rec Human Resources team and Aquatics Office.
  • Clearance for employment can take from three to six weeks.
  • To make sure you can begin work on time, please complete all required paperwork as early as possible.