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Working & jobs

Become a lifeguard

Philadelphia Parks & Recreation hires dozens of lifeguards for the summer. The starting salary for all Parks & Rec lifeguards is $14.75 per hour, with a salary cap of $16.97 per hour.

Note: The lifeguard screening and certification process has changed due to COVID-19 safety protocols. Please review the information below carefully.

  • Lifeguards who have valid certifications must still complete a screening to work during the summer of 2021.
  • Class space is limited due to COVID-19 safety guidelines.
  • Reservations are required for all classes and screenings. No walk-ins are allowed.

Who

You must be 15 years or older to attend a Parks & Rec lifeguard screening.

Please note: you must be 16 years or older to work as a lifeguard for the City of Philadelphia.

Requirements

To be considered for a position, you must pass a lifeguard screening given by a water safety instructor. For the screening, wear a bathing suit and bring a towel. You may wear swim goggles.

You must be able to complete the following skills to pass the screening:

  • Swim 300 yards non-stop. (12 laps of freestyle or breaststroke). This is not a timed swim, but you must continuously swim the 12 lengths and not stop or you will need to start over.
  • Tread water for two minutes using only your legs with your hands under your armpits.
  • Retrieve a 10-pound brick from a deep well (12 feet). 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.

Cost

Screening is free of charge.

The lifeguard training course fees are:

Lifeguards ages 25+ who get a job at a Parks & Rec pool:  

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

Lifeguards ages 16–24 who get a job at a Parks & Rec pool: 

  • Certification: FREE. 
  • Recertification: FREE.

Recertification process for returning lifeguards

Any candidate who has a Lifeguard Certification that expired between March 15, 2020 – June 30, 2021, should:

1
Register for optional lifeguard skills practice

Take the optional Lifeguard Skills Practice to prepare for the Lifeguard Screening. This course is optional.

There are two options:

2
Register for screening

Register for Lifeguard Screening to qualify to take a recertification class.

There are two options:

3
Complete online class

After passing the screening, Parks & Rec lifeguard instructors will register candidates for the online American Red Cross Lifeguard Recertification class. 

Note: there is no fee for this class for applicants who:

  • Are age 24 or under.
  • Work at a Parks & Rec pool.
4
Register and complete in-water recertification

When the online training is complete, candidates will be directed to register for the in-water portion of the American Red Cross Lifeguard Recertification Course

5
Receive your recertification

After successful completion of the water portion of the Recertification Course, candidates will receive a two-year Lifeguard Certificate.

Candidates age 18 and over must also pass a drug screening. Parks & Rec staff will arrange the drug screening.

Certification process for new lifeguard candidates

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

1
Register for optional lifeguard skills practice

Take the optional Lifeguard Skills Practice to prepare for the Lifeguard Screening. This course is optional.

There are two options:

2
Register for screening

Register for Lifeguard Screening to qualify to take a full training class.

There are two options:

3
Complete full training class

After passing the Screening, candidates will be directed to register for a Blended Learning Lifeguard Certification (Full) Class.

Note: there is no fee for this class for applicants who:

  • Are age 24 or under.
  • Work at a Parks & Rec pool.
4
Register and complete in-water certification

Once the online training for the Blended Learning Lifeguard Certificate is complete, candidates will be directed to register for the in-water portion of the Lifeguard Certification Course.

5
Receive your certification

Candidates will need to provide a certificate from ARC Blended Learning Lifeguard Course. They will receive this once the online portion is successfully completed.

Candidates age 18 and over must also pass a drug screening. Parks & Rec staff will arrange the drug screening.


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