Lifeguard Job Description

According to the lifeguard job description by the American Red Cross, a lifeguard is “responsible for ensuring the safety of facility patrons by preventing and responding to emergencies.”


  • Lifeguard certification
  • First aid
  • Any other certifications that are required by local law in your state
  • In certain cases, previous lifeguarding experience will be required such as at a popular beach where there are lots of tourists during peak season.


  • Scans the area of surveillance to make sure that patrons are safe and behaving according to the rules.
  • Acts in emergency situations and provides rescue and first aid assistance up to his or her training level until medical personnel arrive.
  • Inspects the aquatic facility for unsafe conditions and cleanliness to prevent accidents and reports any hazards to the supervisor.
  • Enforces rules consistently and fairly.
  • Fills out reports for incidents or other records for reference.


  • Renews required certifications when they expire.
  • Stays fit to perform job adequately which requires swimming endurance and strength.
  • Maintains a professional appearance.
  • Interacts politely with facility patrons and acts as a role model for young children.
  • Attends all meetings and training sessions for the aquatic facility staff.

Employment Outlook

  • Opportunities for seasonal jobs are good whereas opportunities for long-term, year-round positions are fair.
  • Additional certifications or training improve the individual’s employment opportunities by providing room for advancement.

Salary and Benefits

  • According to the lifeguard job description in the 2010-2011 Occupational Outlook Handbook, the lowest paid earn an average lifeguard salary of $7.64 an hour and the highest paid earn $13.74 or more an hour.
  • Lifeguards hired as full-time employees have the opportunity to earn paid vacation time, sick leave, and health insurance.

Working Conditions

  • Working conditions for a lifeguard vary depending on the water environment where he or she is employed.  Due to the heat and direct sunlight, lifeguards monitoring a beach area or an outdoor pool or water park will have less comfortable working conditions than a lifeguard at an indoor pool.
  • Many lifeguards are required to work nights, evenings, and/or holidays because of the facility hours where they are employed.

Advancement Opportunities

  • Lifeguards have the foundational skills necessary to advance their careers by branching into other areas of aquatic recreation.  Many go on to become supervisors of other employees, swimming instructors, or pool operators.
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