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The Chicago Park District is actively recruiting residents, ages 16 and older, to fill Summer positions, including seasonal lifeguards.  New incentives for seasonal lifeguards:  $600 retention bonus, year-round employment for eligible lifeguards, $500 referral bonus to existing employees, plus we're temporarily waiving the city residency requirement.  Click here to learn more and apply now.
The Chicago Park District is actively recruiting residents, ages 16 and older, to fill Summer positions, including seasonal lifeguards.
Photo: Chicago Park District

Chicago Park District Raises the Bar on Incentives to Attract Summer Lifeguards
Boosts Retention Bonus to $600, Offers Year-Round Employment to Eligible Guards, and Temporarily Relaxes City Residency Requirement for Seasonal Applicants
District increases the retention bonus to $600 for seasonal and year-round lifeguards and offers  $500 lifeguard referral bonus
 In an effort to attract additional lifeguards for this Summer, the Chicago Park District announced it will increase the recruitment and retention bonus to $600 for new seasonal lifeguard applicants, and existing lifeguards and will also extend a $500 bonus for existing District employees who refer qualified candidates to work as lifeguards this Summer. Seasonal guards, who qualify, will have the opportunity to secure year-round employment status after the summer ends. Additionally, the District will temporarily relax the residency requirement for non-city residents who apply for seasonal lifeguard positions this summer.  
“Chicago families rely on our park programs during the summer, so we are not giving up.  We need lifeguards NOW and are offering great incentives to anyone who is a strong swimmer and interested in keeping the public safe,” said General Superintendent Rosa Escareño. “The regional and national lifeguard shortage is real and our goal is to increase lifeguard coverage, incentivize qualified seasonal employees this summer and build a pipeline for year-round workers. We hope the retention and referral bonuses along with a path to permanent employment attract qualified candidates to support our Summer programing. 
The Chicago Park District is actively recruiting residents, ages 16 and older, to fill Summer positions, including seasonal lifeguards. These positions are vital to fully staffing and keeping city’s beaches and park pools safe. The current hourly wage for lifeguards is $15.88/hour. The $600 retention bonus would raise the average current wage to an equivalent of $17.08/hour and would be shared with all new hires, returning seasonal and year-round lifeguards.  
To incentivize Park District employees to tap into their professional networks and help recruit qualified lifeguards, the District is offering a $500 bonus to employees that makes a successful lifeguard referral. All non-management level employees are eligible for the referral bonus and can make up to five referrals. Current park employees are a vital resource for recruitment and serve as great ambassadors for the important and fulfilling work lifeguards do to contribute to our communities and city.    
The Park District also announced that it will temporarily waive its city residency requirement for seasonal lifeguards. The District hopes this extraordinary move to attract qualified applicants from neighboring suburbs.  It has been widely reported that other cities have adjusted pool hours or announced that pools will be closed to the public this Summer. 
At the end of the Summer, seasonal lifeguards who complete their job duties with a favorable, supervisory review, will be eligible for a seamless transition to year-round employment as a Chicago Park District lifeguard. This provides a great opportunity for individuals who want to work on our parks part-time or looking to pursue lifeguarding as a full-time career. Retaining skilled and dedicated guards is vital to the District’s commitment to providing continuous services throughout the city’s 77 neighborhoods.     
To combat the national shortage and boost lifeguard recruitment, the Chicago Park District launched “I am a Chicago Lifeguard”, a campaign highlighting the skilled and dedicated lifeguards who make aquatics programming and recreational opportunities in our great city possible. While the District has received a favorable number of qualified applicants for seasonal lifeguards and many have completed the required testing, only a small percentage of candidates have followed through with the onboarding process. 
Seasonal Lifeguards must be 16 years of age, fully vaccinated, pass specific skill tests and be properly certified. For more information on how-to Become a Chicago Lifeguard, visit