Lifeguards and Swimming Instructors

Lifeguards and swimming instructors watch over and teach swimmers at public and private pools, beaches, health clubs, summer camps, private resorts, and public parks. Lifeguards enforce local laws and the particular regulations of their facility, and provide assistance to swimmers in need. One of their greatest responsibilities is preventing injuries and fatal accidents in or around water. Instructors hold group or individual swimming lessons. Most of their students are children, though instructors teach swimmers of all ages. Both lifeguards and instructors are trained professionals in the techniques of water rescue, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and first aid. There areĀ 130,700 lifeguards, ski patrol, and other recreational protective service workers employed in the United States.

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Quick Facts
Alternate Title(s) None
Duties Watch over and teach swimmers at public and private pools, health clubs, summer camps, beaches, private resorts, and public parks; rescue swimmers who are drowning or in other distress while in the water; administer first aid when needed
Salary Range Below $25,000 to $50,000
Work Environment Indoors/Outdoors
Best Geographical Location(s) Opportunities exist in all regions with highest demand in warm climates and coastal areas with year-round swimming
Minimum Education Level
  • High School Diploma
School Subjects
  • Health
  • Physical Education
  • Speech
Experience Junior lifeguard experience
Personality Traits
  • Athletic
  • Helpful
  • Realistic
  • Interpersonal
  • Leadership
  • Teaching
Certification or Licensing Required
Special Requirements Must be age 16 or older and pass physical tests
Employment Prospects Good
Advancement Prospects Good
Outlook About as Fast as the Average
Career Ladder
  • Aquatic Specialist
  • Aquatics Manager or Instructor Supervisor
  • Head Lifeguard/Swimming Instructor
  • Experienced Lifeguard/Swimming Instructor
  • Entry-Level Lifeguard/Swimming Instructor

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