Lifeguarding Opportunities for High School and College Students — Morale, Welfare and Recreation Pools

School's out and summer is in full swing — pools are open, day camp schedules are set — and your high school or college-aged child needs a job. Check with your installation Morale, Welfare and Recreation office about lifeguarding jobs for the summer.

Requirements for lifeguarding

Lifeguards are responsible for the safety of all swimmers and pool visitors while on duty. Consequently, rigid work requirements and pre-requisite skills are required for lifeguard applicants with MWR. Work requirements may include the following:

  • Perform work in the swimming program, including instructing swimmers with various skills and of various ages
  • Perform rescue work
  • Render cardiopulmonary resuscitation or emergency first aid and call for medical assistance as necessary
  • Enforce safety and pool regulations
  • Report safety hazards
  • Complete incident reports and assist in maintaining routine documents and reports
  • Perform necessary maintenance work required for sanitation, cleanliness and safety of the pool areas

Prerequisite skills include the following:

  • Must be a minimum of 15 years of age
  • Ability to swim 300 yards
  • Ability to retrieve a 10 pound weight from the bottom of the pool and hold it with both hands while swimming 25 yards on your back
  • Dexterity to handle a person in the water who may panic or be unconscious

Lifeguards must have an approved and current nationally recognized certification as well as basic first aid and CPR certification. The American Red Cross, Boy Scouts of America and the YMCA offer courses for lifeguard certifications recognized across the United States. National and state background checks are also required for employment positions working with youth programs.

What it takes to be a certified lifeguard

Lifeguard certification courses require a time commitment of more than 25 hours of mandatory attendance. Each segment of the course is structured with face-to-face or online instruction and a written test requiring a score of 80 percent or higher. Candidates must also demonstrate and pass all water skills tests to be eligible for a certification. Course instruction includes the following components:

  • Injury prevention and facility safety
  • Patron surveillance
  • Rescue skills
  • Victim assessment
  • First aid
  • CPR training
  • Automated external defibrillators, or AED, training
  • Care for head, neck and spinal injuries

Successful completion of the American Red Cross Lifeguard course results in a two-year certification that includes first aid, professional-level CPR and AED in one certificate.

To find out about employment opportunities at MWR aquatics and recreation centers, visit each service branch's MWR website:

You can also visit MilitaryINSTALLATIONS to get information about your local installation's MWR facilities.

Have a summer of sun, fun and safety with Morale, Welfare and Recreation facilities and opportunities.


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