Life Guarding

There is always a need for lifeguards in bodies of water regulated by the government, from beaches and lakes in national parks to the local city swimming pool. The requirements are pretty much standard across federal, state, and local lines, so the following description draws from the New York City public pools as an example.

Of course, you have to know how to swim — very well. You have to be in good physical condition.

Lifeguard jobs are usually seasonal, unless you work at an indoor pool that is open year-round. The season is usually between Memorial Day and Labor Day, although seasons may vary in other parts of the country. In Florida, for example, the climate is conducive to swimming most of the year.

In the New York City public pools, lifeguards work a forty-eight-hour week, and the pay is $10.71 an hour for the first year, with raises after that. The Parks Department's Lifeguard School administers a test to candidates. The minimum requirements to pass the test are the following:

  • You must be able to swim 50 yards in 35 seconds.

  • You must have a minimum of 20/30 vision in one eye and 20/40 in the other.

  • You must be at least sixteen years old when the position begins.

  • You must be able to provide a certificate of good health on doctor's stationery.

  • You must successfully complete thirty-five hours of training and a CPR course to become certified as a New York City lifeguard.

  • You can also take advantage of conditioning classes offered by the city in order to get you in shape to pass the test. These classes are conducted at the city's public pools. If you pass the test and meet the requirements, you will be given free training and are guaranteed a steady job for the summer. New York City lifeguards may work in one of the city's fifty-two outdoor pools or on any of fourteen miles of beach property.

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