Average Lifeguard Salary Nationwide

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Overview and Basic Information


If Michael Phelps and Wonder Woman had a baby, that kid would probably make a great lifeguard! Seriously, though, who doesn’t want to have the opportunity to save lives (translation: be a hero) and get a tan at the same time? Lifeguard jobs aren’t just found at your neighborhood pool. They could have you touring the world on a cruise ship or living out your beach bum fantasy all summer long.

Most lifeguards are part-timers. Depending on where you work, you might be working nights and weekends. And, unless the pool is indoors, the work is largely seasonal, so it’s not a job for everyone.

Being a lifeguard means you’re trusted with the lives of others. So, you’ll need to be responsible, attentive and patient. You’ll also need to practice yelling, “No running! Slow down!” For your hard work, you’ll be rewarded with all the popsicles and microwave pizza you can eat. Plus, you get a shiny whistle, which is pretty awesome.

Example lifeguard job description

We’re currently hiring for an observant lifeguard to help ensure the safety of visitors to our aquatic facility. The lifeguard is responsible for explaining safety rules to patrons, warning them about unsafe situations and enforcing pool policies. You’ll play an instrumental role in maintaining orderliness by inspecting the swimming pool area, locker rooms and restrooms. You’ll also be responsible for maintaining pool equipment and monitoring and recording pool temperatures.

To ensure success, you need to have the ability to quickly assess situations and make judgment calls regarding the safety of our patrons.

Typical duties include:

  • Maintain constant surveillance of pool patrons and act immediately in the event of an emergency

  • Provide emergency care and treatment as required until the arrival of emergency medical services

  • Present a professional appearance and attitude at all times

  • Perform various maintenance duties as directed to maintain a clean and safe facility

  • Prepare and maintain activity reports


  • Ability to react calmly and effectively in emergency situations

  • Skill in the application of lifeguarding surveillance and rescue techniques

  • Ability to pass a pre-employment physical skills evaluation

  • CPR certification and first aid training

  • Certification by a recognized lifeguard training program

  • Excellent communication skills

Common questions about lifeguard jobs

How much does a lifeguard make?

The average lifeguard makes about $10.50 an hour. They typically work part-time, and a lot of them work evenings, weekends and holidays.

What are the education requirements?

A high school diploma or GED is typically not required for most lifeguard jobs. Most employers require their lifeguards to pass a certification test. So, you will need certification from the Red Cross or another lifeguard training program. The test includes physical challenges and a written exam to ensure you can perform the necessary duties. Training and certification details vary depending on where you live, but you can find out exactly what the requirements are from your local parks and recreation department.

Career paths for lifeguards

Being a lifeguard can be a great way to get your foot in the door to become a first responder. You’ll already know how to perform CPR. You’ll also have the training and experience that enables you to keep calm in stressful situations.

The future of lifeguards

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of lifeguards is projected to grow 7% from 2018 to 2028, which is faster than the average for all occupations.

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