Career Development

What Does a Lifeguard Do?

Find out what a lifeguard does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a lifeguard.

Lifeguards are on the front lines of public safety. They watch over swimmers at pools, beaches, and other recreational areas to ensure that everyone stays safe in the water. Lifeguards may also be responsible for monitoring other activities at their assigned location (such as swimming lessons or water aerobics classes) to ensure that no one gets into trouble while they’re enjoying their day.

Lifeguard Job Duties

Lifeguards typically have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Monitoring the safety of swimmers by scanning the pool area for potential hazards, such as strong currents, shallow areas, or sharp objects on the ground
  • Performing water rescues when necessary to save a swimmer who is in danger of drowning or has already drowned
  • Conducting swim lessons to teach children swimming skills and to provide basic water safety information to parents
  • Observing swimmers in order to detect any potential problems or dangers, such as signs of fatigue or distress
  • Determining when a swimmer has reached their physical limit and should get out of the water
  • Monitoring the condition of the pool to ensure that the water is clean and safe for swimming
  • Instructing and supervising swim classes for children or adults
  • Ensuring that all lifeguard equipment is in good working order and ready for use at all times
  • Preparing reports on accidents or near misses involving swimmers so that any necessary changes can be made to prevent future incidents

Lifeguard Salary & Outlook

The salary of a lifeguard can vary depending on their level of experience, the type of facility they work at, and the location of the job.

  • Median Annual Salary: $25,000 ($12.02/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $41,500 ($19.95/hour)

The employment of lifeguards is expected to grow much faster than average over the next decade.

The number of people who swim regularly is expected to increase, which should lead to an increase in the need for lifeguards. In addition, more people are expected to take up swimming as a way to stay fit and control their weight.

Lifeguard Job Requirements

To become a lifeguard, one typically needs to have the following:

Education: Most employers require lifeguards to have at least a high school diploma or equivalent. Some employers prefer candidates who have completed a first aid course and CPR certification. Lifeguards who want to advance their careers can pursue an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in lifeguarding or a related field.

Training & Experience: Most employers require lifeguards to complete a training program before they begin working. These programs teach lifeguards how to swim, how to perform CPR and how to use the equipment they will use on the job. They also teach lifeguards how to handle emergency situations and how to interact with swimmers.

Some lifeguards choose to take training courses on their own to improve their skills. These courses can help lifeguards learn how to perform CPR, how to rescue swimmers and how to handle emergency situations.

Certifications & Licenses: Lifeguard jobs require certain certifications like first aid and CPR certification. It can be helpful to earn these before looking for a job so you can include them on a resume. Some pools and recreation departments offer certification classes to lifeguards before the summer season begins.

Lifeguard Skills

Lifeguards need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication: Communication is another skill that lifeguards use to perform their duties. They use communication to relay messages to other lifeguards, supervisors and swimmers. They also use it to explain safety rules to swimmers and to answer questions about pool safety.

First aid: First aid is another important skill for lifeguards to have. They should know how to handle emergency situations and know how to treat injuries. This can help save lives and prevent further injury. Lifeguards should be familiar with CPR and how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED).

Confidence: Confidence is another important skill for lifeguards to have. They should be able to remain calm and composed in any situation. This can help them to better assess a situation and make the right decision. It can also help them to better lead others and keep everyone safe.

Stamina: Stamina is the ability to work for long periods of time without getting tired. Lifeguards often need stamina to be able to stand for long periods of time and to be able to swim long distances to save swimmers in distress.

Attention to detail: A lifeguard’s attention to detail can help them notice any potential hazards or safety issues at a pool. They can use their attention to detail to check the pool for any potential dangers, such as sharp objects or chemicals that may harm swimmers. They can also use their attention to detail to check for any medical conditions that may affect a swimmer’s ability to be in the water.

Lifeguard Work Environment

Lifeguards work at beaches, lakes, pools, and water parks. They may work in all weather conditions, including extreme heat and cold. They work long hours, often in shifts, and may work weekends and holidays. Some lifeguards are employed year-round, while others work only during the summer months. Lifeguards must be able to swim well and have good physical stamina. They must also be able to rescue swimmers in distress and administer first aid.

Lifeguard Trends

Here are three trends influencing how lifeguards work. Lifeguards will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

More Focus on Water Safety

As the world becomes increasingly more dangerous, the need for lifeguards will continue to grow. This is because people are becoming more and more comfortable in the water, which means that they are also becoming more likely to get into trouble.

Lifeguards can capitalize on this trend by becoming certified in additional areas, such as CPR or first aid. They can also focus on developing other skills, such as communication and conflict resolution. In addition, lifeguards should be prepared to work in a variety of settings, such as pools, beaches, and lakes.

More Swimming Lessons

Swimming lessons are becoming more popular among parents as a way to keep their children safe in the water. This is due to the fact that swimming is one of the best ways to prevent drowning, which is a leading cause of death among children.

As swimming lessons become more common, lifeguards will need to be familiar with different teaching methods. They will also need to be able to manage large groups of students effectively.

Emergency Preparedness Becomes More Important

As emergency preparedness becomes more important, lifeguards will need to develop new skills in order to be successful.

In order to be prepared for any type of emergency, lifeguards will need to be familiar with basic first aid techniques, how to use emergency equipment, and how to handle various types of emergencies. Additionally, they will need to be able to communicate effectively with other members of the team in order to provide the best possible care for those who need it.

How to Become a Lifeguard

A career as a lifeguard can be both rewarding and challenging. It’s important to consider all the aspects of this job before you start your training.

One of the most important things to think about is where you want to work as a lifeguard. Do you want to work at a beach, pool, or water park? Or do you want to work in a hospital or nursing home? There are many different options available, so it’s important to find one that suits your needs and interests.

You should also think about what kind of hours you want to work. Some jobs have longer hours than others, so it’s important to find one that fits with your lifestyle.

It’s also important to consider the requirements for becoming a lifeguard. Most employers require candidates to be certified in CPR and first aid, so make sure you meet these requirements before applying for any jobs.

Related: How to Write a Lifeguard Resume

Advancement Prospects

With experience, lifeguards can advance to positions with more responsibility, such as head lifeguard, supervisor, or aquatics director. Some lifeguards may become instructors or trainers for new lifeguards.

Those interested in management may become assistant managers, recreation directors, or park and recreation managers. Some lifeguards may become interested in other occupations, such as teaching, coaching, or physical therapy, and may decide to pursue additional education in these areas.

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