Skip to main content

Working & jobs

Become a lifeguard

Philadelphia Parks & Recreation lifeguards make summer safe and fun for thousands of Philadelphia children and families. Pay starts at $16 per hour.

Lifeguards typically work 35 hours per week from June through August. Free training takes place throughout the year. Here is how to get started.


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


To become a City lifeguard, you must:

  • Be 16 years old.
  • Pass the lifeguard screening test (see below).
  • Complete a Red Cross Lifeguard Certification Course (free for those 24 and under).

Lifeguard screening test

To pass the Parks & Rec lifeguard 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.

Free training is available year-round to prepare candidates to pass the screening.

For the screening, wear a bathing suit and bring a towel. You may also wear swim goggles.

Training and screening

Free training and screening are available at:

Reserve a time slot for Lifeguard Swim Skills Training.

Candidates who pass the screening will be enrolled in lifeguard certification or recertification courses through Parks & Rec.


Certification and recertification are free for lifeguards ages 16–24 who work at a Parks & Rec pool.

Costs for candidates aged 25 and over are:

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


Choose where you want to work, and contact the supervisor to begin the application process.
Start training with Parks & Rec Aquatics staff to pass the screening test.
Work with Parks & Rec staff to complete your Red Cross certification and all pre-employment requirements.