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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, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
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.