If you're looking for a summer job that allows you to spend the days near water you should consider becoming a Lifeguard. As summer comes, the beaches and pools will be overrun with people looking to cool down and have some fun. Yet, sometimes those aquatic activities can become a lifesaving situation for a lifeguard. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) drowning is the number 6 cause of unintentional injuries deaths in the United States. Almost 4,000 people a year die from drowning, that's nearly 11 people a day in the United States alone. It's no surprise with statistics like that there are laws established to provide Lifeguards in certain situations. Each state may have different laws in regard to Lifeguard requirements and training. It's important to do your due diligence and confirm you are meeting the necessary standards set by the state you work in.
The primary role of a Lifeguard is to provide safety to swimmers at pools, water park attractions, lakes or public beaches. Their duties not only include safety in the water but often the general surrounding area too. Working as a Lifeguard requires good physical health and attention to detail. You will constantly be surveying your surroundings and must be able to react quickly when necessary.
A Lifeguard certification can be obtained as early as 15 years old through the Red Cross. In many cases receiving your Lifeguard certification from an established organization such as the Red Cross or the YMCA will meet most state requirements. The job you seek very well may have age and education requirements beyond your certification. Again it's important you thoroughly review the job posting to make sure you meet the criteria. Nonetheless Lifeguard jobs are a great option for even high school students to find work during the summer. In some situations an individual 15 years of age can perform poolside lifeguard duties. Individuals 16 years and older can work in additional settings such as lakes and beaches. Again check your local laws for age requirements.
To qualify for your Lifeguard certification you should be a strong swimmer. Your certification process will consist of a swimming skill pre-test to ensure you are able to meet the minimum swimming requirements. This may include:
- Swimming 300 yards continuously while demonstrating proper breath control
- Treading water for 2 minutes using only your legs
- Completing a timed event that includes swimming, surface dives, underwater object retrieval and exiting the pool without ladders or steps.
If you are able to complete these swimming tasks you can qualify for the learning part of your lifeguard certification. The learning portion may include an in-person course or a combination of online learning and in-person training. Course length may vary yet you can generally expect over 20+ hours of training. Entry-level training will teach you the basic skills to prevent, identify and respond to aquatic emergencies. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), First Aid training, equipment-based rescues and decision-making skills are additional skills learned during the certification courses. Lifeguard certifications are good for 2 years before you are required to participate in a recertification process.
There are different settings in which a Lifeguard might need additional training to provide adequate lifesaving skills. Examples include water parks in which and individual may require aquatic attraction lifeguarding skills and/or shallow water lifeguarding skills. These courses focus on facilities where water depths don't exceed 3 to 5 feet.
Working as a seasonal lifeguard pay rates will typically fall in the minimum wage range up to about $20 per hour. This will vary depending on your geographic location and the facility you are providing Lifeguarding services for. If you're considering Lifeguarding as a career average salaries can range from $20,000 to $30,000 a year. Working at beaches often pays higher than working poolside as a Lifeguard. Regardless if you're a seasonal or full time lifeguard the lifesaving skills you will learn are invaluable knowledge that you will always have.