A lifeguard is necessary for many public and private pools to operate. The primary lifeguard job description responsibility is to keep patrons safe and perform various lifesaving measures in the event of an emergency. The lifeguard could work by themselves or as part of a team depending on the work environment.

The lifeguard job description will invariably include details about what they do. However, this specific job description goes beyond these measures to emphasize necessary skills, required education, typical working schedule, and the career outlook.

What Does a Lifeguard Do?

Lifeguards must undergo training and intense professional development in order to be equipped to save lives. They are responsible for opening the aquatics area, monitoring the water for people in trouble, provide medical assistance when necessary, and answer any questions that a guest may have. Their work environment will dictate what kind of water they protect. For example, lifeguards on the beach will be trained for open water saves while lifeguards at a country club may have a less stressful job in monitoring a still body of water.


The only required education to be a lifeguard is a certification. The pay varies depending on where they work. However, the prototypical lifeguard at the summer pool makes around $9.00 an hour. There is no required experience unless you desire to be a head lifeguard.

Lifeguard Job Description for Resume – Responsibilities

Everything a lifeguard does is to ensure the safety of the guests. The following resume starters are often part of a lifeguard job description.

  • Participate in annual training to become first aid and CPR certified.
  • Conduct regular training to test search and rescue procedures and sharpen skills.
  • Participate in morning meetings where the supervisors review what happened yesterday and what to expect today.
  • Monitor water using the 10/20 rule. The whole area needs to be scanned in 10 seconds and this gives 20 seconds to rescue someone.
  • Rescue people when they are in trouble.
  • Backboard guests as part of a team when a spinal injury is suspected.
  • Greets guests with a smile and answers questions while still paying attention to the water.

Lifeguard Essential Skills

  • Focusing skills. Lifeguards must be able to focus on the area they are guarding for the entirety of their shift. Sometimes, this involves standing up and walking around the body of water.
  • Rescuing skills. It is not easy to rescue someone. The lifeguard must use the proper rescue technique to keep the swimmer and themselves safe.
  • Teamwork skills. A lifeguard will almost always work as part of a team. They must communicate effectively and confirm actions from other lifeguards in order to make sure that they covered the entire pool.
  • Medical skills. A lifeguard could potentially have to save someone, administer first aid, or call 911 for additional medical resources. They need to know how to assess each situation and determine the right course of action.

How to Become a Lifeguard

Lifeguards need to be at least 16 years old in many states. There is no required degree but they do need to be certified in first aid and CPR as well as a lifeguarding certification.

 Education & Training Requirements

Lifeguarding is an entry-level position. There is no required education in terms of formal schoolwork. All lifeguards have to take a course in first aid and CPR. In addition, they need to complete a certification program. These programs are offered by different organizations. Lifeguards who work at water parks will frequently be licensed by Ellis & Associates. The American Red Cross also offers lifeguard certification courses. Frequently, these courses are offered by the aquatics center that is hiring.

The training to become a lifeguard consists of a swimming test, a strength test, learning rescuing techniques, and mastering the medical skills necessary. They will have to tread water with their hands above water for two minutes and retrieve a weighted object from the bottom of a pool.

Work Experience

Becoming a lifeguard is an entry-level position. This means there is no need for previous work experience. Sometimes, a lifeguard will work with a more experienced lifeguard when they begin their career. Lifeguards who work in water parks will frequently start on the top of a slide or in the kid pool. As they show they can handle more responsibility, they will be assigned to areas where an accident or rescue is more likely to occur.

Some lifeguards can advance to head lifeguard or to a supervisory position.

Work Schedules

For the most part, the job of a lifeguard is weather dependent. Naturally, there are exceptions to this rule. There are lifeguards who work indoors and are able to work year-round. In most parts of the United States, lifeguards will work in the summer months. In areas like Hawaii, however, they need to work year round.

Many lifeguards are minors. This means that they have regulations around how many hours they can work in a week and in a day. They have to have a break and can’t work more than a certain period of time in the summer and a different maximum during the school year.

Career Prospects

The job outlook for lifeguards is not specified. Therefore, the outlook for recreation employees is used for the purposes of this article. Their job outlook is 10 percent through the year 2024. Pools are an important part of childhood and of encouraging active and healthy behavior. Therefore, lifeguards will be needed to work in these pools. In addition, there is a high amount of turnover for this position because most lifeguards are teenagers who are working in summer or college.

The 10th percentile of lifeguards will earn $8.21 an hour and the 90th percentile will earn $15.31 an hour.


Lifeguarding is a great job for teenagers or for teachers who have the summer off. You need to be in some level of physical shape in order to rescue people and engage in the training to become a lifeguard. The median pay is relatively low. However, there is no educational investment nor prior experience needed to become a lifeguard. If helping people in need is something you’d wish to do, then another position for you to consider is that of a social worker.