With the end of school fast approaching, you’re likely starting to plan for summer. Right now, you probably just want to relax after a tough school year. But let’s be real: you have to do something this summer. Will you take extra classes, visit family, pursue an internship, or find a job and collect a paycheck?
Each spring and summer, American Pool hires thousands of high school and college students for lifeguard positions at pools close to where they live or go to school. Lifeguarding can be a great summer job for a number of reasons. For one, you’ll earn money, and whether you plan to spend or save it, you’ll take steps toward financial independence. You’ll also gain valuable work experience and have something to put on your resume for future jobs or school applications — all while making friends, soaking up sun, and having fun.
Does a summer lifeguard job sound ideal to you? Use these seven questions to find out if you’re a fit.
1. Am I comfortable around water? Can I swim?
This may come as a surprise, but pool lifeguarding doesn’t require extensive swimming experience. Sure, you need to know how to swim, and you need to feel comfortable around water and spending your days (or evenings) outdoors. But don’t shy away from lifeguarding because you never mastered the butterfly stroke. Few of us have!
2. Am I willing to get trained?
Getting a job as a lifeguard involves more than just filling out an application. You’ll need to complete the American Red Cross Lifeguarding course to learn things like surveillance techniques, first aid, and CPR. While the traditional class takes 25.5 hours to complete, American Pool can place you in an accelerated training course that lets you get certified over a couple of weekends or even on a short break from school. So don’t think you can’t lifeguard because you don’t have time to do the training. There are ways to make it work. Plus, once you complete the course, it’s good for two years.
3. Do I want a job that builds skills, or am I satisfied with just collecting a paycheck?
If you’re looking for a job with an opportunity to learn, take ownership in your work, and assume more responsibility as you go, lifeguarding is an excellent fit. Remember: lifeguards protect the safety and well-being of anyone who comes to the pool. Few summer jobs can top that in responsibility.
4. Do I enjoy the outdoors?
Do you shudder at the thought of a summer indoors? Do you like sunshine and the outdoors? Fresh air and a tan are hard to come by in the modern work world, but they’re basically guarantees if you decide to lifeguard. Plus, if you anticipate a long-term career that leaves you mostly in an indoor office, why not take advantage of the window of opportunity lifeguarding brings?
5. Am I looking for a fun, positive environment?
Few people go to the pool to sulk or stress over their workload. Instead, the pool is where kids, parents, and people of all ages go to kick back, splash around, and leave things like deadlines and responsibilities behind. As a lifeguard, you’ll get to spend your day with these happy people — and likely catch some of the positive vibe. Does this sound ideal?
6. Am I willing to help with things that aren’t very glamorous?
On the opposite end of the spectrum, sometimes you’ll need to be on trash patrol or fish something out of the pool that isn’t supposed to be there. Are you on board with these less glamorous parts of the job?
7. Do I need part-time or full-time work? What about flexibility?
Since pool season peaks during the summer, lifeguarding is a natural fit for anyone on break from school. It can be really hard to find work as a student when your potential employer knows you are only available for a few months, so swimming pools may actually be an ideal fit for your schedule since that’s their timeframe, too. On top of that, lifeguarding positions typically provide a good amount of flexibility. Whether you’re looking to teach a few swimming lessons to earn some side money, lifeguard part-time, or try for a pool manager position that might allow you to work on a full-time basis, most pools have a range of job options to fit your schedule and needs.
So, what do you think? Is lifeguarding the right summer job for you? If you’re interested in spending the summer building important skills, earning money, and having fun, then visit American Pool’s Guard for Life website to sign up for training and apply for jobs. With pool partnerships nationwide, we can match you with a local pool — and set you off on a summer you’ll never forget.