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Working & jobs

Become a lifeguard

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

Lifeguard screenings and certification courses are underway. Use our Finder to search for times and locations.

Sign up to receive information about the lifeguard certification and hiring process.


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 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 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 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.

Where and when

See screening and lifeguard certification course times below.


Screening is free of charge and no appointment is necessary. The lifeguard training course fee is $110 if you commit to working for Parks & Rec or $175 if you decide to work somewhere else.

Applicants ages 16-24 who work at a Parks & Rec pool this summer do not have to pay the training and certification fees. These fees will be waived while funding lasts.


Lifeguard screening

Take the screening test

You must be able to complete the lifeguard screening outlined in Requirements above.

Screenings take place weekly at our indoor training facilities. Search for the next screening time in our Finder.

If you pass the screening, the water safety instructor will enroll you in the next lifeguard training course at that specific training facility. The course date depends on the number of candidates who have passed the screening.

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.

Complete lifeguard training course

Search for the next lifeguard certification course in our Finder.

After enrolling in the course, you must complete 21 hours of Lifeguard Training including lifeguarding, CPR, and First Aid.

The 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 take a final skills assessment and written examination.

If you pass, you will be a certified American Red Cross Lifeguard. Certification is valid nationwide for 2 years.

Application process

The starting salary for Parks & Rec lifeguards is $14.75 per hour, with a salary cap of $16.97 per hour.

Go to a Parks & Rec pool

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

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

Fill out an application

If a pool has an opening, the facility supervisor will supply the candidate with the application packet and instructions. All applications must be returned to the site where they were obtained.

Complete Process

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.