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Being a lifeguard is one of the more rewarding jobs you'll ever have.  You'll learn life skills & help save lives, earn lifesaving certifications (First Aid, CPR, AED), gain unparalleled work experience for future careers, engage in fulfilling work, and make a positive impact on our city. 

Candidates must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 16 years of age by July 1, 2022
  • Be a resident of Chicago
  • Be fully vaccinated
  • Pass the swim test
  • Become American Red Cross certified

JOIN OUR TEAM!  APPLY TODAY.

Apply by completing the tasks below.  Tasks vary for new applicants and returning lifeguards.  

 


FOR NEW APPLICANTS

Submit Your Application

Apply online for the Lifeguard-Seasonal position.  

APPLY NOW 
 

Take the Lifeguard Skills Test

Lifeguards hired by the Chicago Park District must demonstrate that they possess the physical ability that is required for the job.  Those physical abilities are:

  • 200-yard swim in less than 3 min., 30 sec.  (4 min., 30 sec. for Shallow Water Attendants)
  • 20-yard underwater swim
  • Retrieval of a 10-pound object from a depth of 10-14 feet
  • Approach stroke 25 yards, retrieve a submerged manikin in deep water, and tow 25 yards

You must pass all portions of the test to be considered for the position.

Results will be provided on-site at the completion of the test.  

 Advance online registration is required.   You must attend the test on the day and time you select.  

New test dates to be added soon.  

Important to Note: 
- Candidates must provide a picture ID at the door in order to be admitted to the test.
- Only applicants will be allowed inside the building, no spectators are allowed at the test. Once the doors close no one will be admitted into the test.

Take an American Red Cross Lifeguard Training Course

Lifeguards hired by the Chicago Park District must possess the following current certifications:

  • American Red Cross Lifeguarding / First Aid / CPR / AED (or equivalent)
  • American Red Cross Waterfront Skills (or equivalent)
  • American Red Cross Administering Emergency Oxygen (or equivalent)
  • Chicago Park District Lifeguard Certification (awarded at completion of the swim test)

These certifications are received by attending an American Red Cross Lifeguard Training Course.  The following areas are covered in this training: Lifeguarding, First Aid, CPR, AED, Waterfront Skills, Administering Emergency Oxygen, Bloodborne Pathogens Training, Asthma Inhaler Training, and Epinephrine Auto-Injector Training.  The course fee is $80 ($48 for course materials to the Chicago Park District, and $32 for certification to the American Red Cross) and includes the coursebook, hip pack, and CPR mask. Advance online registration is required. Courses are offered at various parks throughout the city.  Completion of this course is required to be considered for the lifeguard position.
 

New training course dates to be added soon.  

Courses are also available to CPS High School students through the After School Matters Lifeguard Training Program.  View those courses: After School Matters.

View the American Red Cross Lifeguarding Manual: www.redcross.org/participantmaterials


What to wear/bring: 
Please bring a mask and fins with you to the course. 
 

Attend the New Lifeguard Training Academy

The New Lifeguard Training Academy is a three-day course on the safe operation of a beach or swimming pool.  This course allows trainers to assess a candidate’s ability to be on time and prepared to work, follow directions, perform rescue and life-saving skills, and complete tasks under supervision. Testing occurs on the final day of the academy.  Applicants must pass all requirements of the academy to be considered for the lifeguard position. Pass/fail information will be provided on-site at the completion of the academy.  

Only applicants who have passed the qualifying Lifeguard Skills Test will be admitted to the academy. 

The New Lifeguard Training Academy dates are listed below.  Candidates will register for a training academy session at the lifeguard skills test.

  • New Lifeguard Training Academy #1:   April 8 – April 10, 2022
  • New Lifeguard Training Academy #2:  May 13 – May 15, 2022
  • New Lifeguard Training Academy #3:  May 20 – May 22, 2022
  • New Lifeguard Training Academy #4:  May 27 – May 29, 2022
  • June 2022 Date - the new lifeguard training academy will take place with the American Red Cross Lifeguard Training Course, from June 27 - July 1, 11am - 7pm at Eckhart Park.  Applicants must pass the lifeguard skills test prior to attending the the   


What to wear/bring: 
The New Lifeguard Training Academy is a comprehensive training program that will include a basic fitness component. Workout clothes are required for Saturday and Sunday, and a swimsuit is required on Friday.  An American Red Cross Lifeguarding Book (r. 2017) is recommended, and a CPR Pocket Mask is required for all training days.  

 

NEW LIFEGUARD GRADUATION 
Candidates who successfully complete the New Lifeguard Training Academy will be invited to attend the New Lifeguard Graduation.  At the graduation ceremony, candidates will receive their interview date and time, based on their class ranking.  Graduation will take place on Sunday, June 5, 2022.
Note: Guards hired after June 5, 2022, will not participate in a formal graduation ceremony.
 

Complete the Pre-Employment Processing

All applicants seeking employment with the Chicago Park District must complete Human Resources screening and processing.  These steps may include:

  • Verification of Residency (current Driver’s License or State ID with a Chicago address)
  • Settlement of outstanding debts to the City of Chicago
  • Fingerprint/Background Check (for candidates 17 and over)
  • Drug Testing (may be conducted prior to employment and randomly throughout the summer)
  • Verification of 20/20 Vision (Driver’s License or Vision Test)
  • Employment Paperwork, including I-9 and W-4 paperwork, completed and submitted

Instructions for additional processing will be provided by phone or e-mail from the Chicago Park District.  Any processing that you are directed to do must be completed before you can be hired.
 

Attend Your Interview

After completing all of the previous steps, candidates will be invited to a final interview.  New lifeguard applicants will receive an interview date and time at the New Lifeguard Training Academy graduation ceremony.  

At the completion of the interview, viable candidates will be offered a position.  Location assignments will be discussed at this time.

COMPLETION OF THE PRE-EMPLOYMENT PROCESSING IS REQUIRED BEFORE LIFEGUARDS CAN BE ASSIGNED TO A LOCATION. 

Please keep in mind the following:

  • The 2022 season runs from June 17th to September 5th.
  • Positions are assigned based on staffing projections, seniority, and scoring from all previous steps.  
  • Extended absences will not be permitted during the summer season.


All lifeguards should have a thorough knowledge of indoor pool, outdoor pool and beach locations, along with travel routes and options.
 

 

FOR RETURNING LIFEGUARDS

Submit Your Application

Apply online for the Lifeguard-Seasonal position.  

APPLY NOW 
 

Take an American Red Cross Lifeguard Training Course

Lifeguards hired by the Chicago Park District must possess the following current certifications:

  • American Red Cross Lifeguarding / First Aid / CPR / AED (or equivalent)
  • American Red Cross Waterfront Skills (or equivalent)
  • American Red Cross Administering Emergency Oxygen (or equivalent)
  • Chicago Park District Lifeguard Certification (awarded at completion of the swim test)

If you are a returning lifeguard applicant with a valid certification, you may skip this step.  To find your certification cards visit www.redcross.org/take-a-class/digital-certificate

Applicants that need to update their certification must take the American Red Cross Lifeguard Training Course. The following areas are covered in this training: Lifeguarding, First Aid, CPR, AED, Waterfront Skills, Administering Emergency Oxygen, Bloodborne Pathogens Training, Asthma Inhaler Training, and Epinephrine Auto-Injector Training.  The course fee is $80 ($48 for course materials to the Chicago Park District, and $32 for certification to the American Red Cross). The fee includes the coursebook, hip pack, and CPR mask. Advance online registration is required. Courses are offered at various parks throughout the city.  Completion of this course is required to be considered for the lifeguard position.
 

VIEW CLASS DATES & REGISTER
Schedule subject to change.

Courses are also available to CPS High School students through the After School Matters Lifeguard Training Program.  View those courses: After School Matters.
 

View the American Red Cross Lifeguarding Manual: www.redcross.org/participantmaterials


What to wear/bring: 
Please bring a mask and fins with you to the course. 
 

Take the Lifeguard Skills Test

Lifeguards hired by the Chicago Park District must demonstrate that they possess the physical ability that is required for the job.  Those physical abilities are:

  • 200-yard swim in less than 3 min., 30 sec.  (4 min., 30 sec. for Shallow Water Attendants)
  • 20-yard underwater swim
  • Retrieval of a 10-pound object from a depth of 10-14 feet
  • Approach stroke 25 yards, retrieve a submerged manikin in deep water, and tow 25 yards

You must pass all portions of the test to be rehired.

Results will be provided on-site at the completion of the test.  

The test is offered at various parks throughout the city.  Advance online registration is required.   You must attend the test on the day and time you select.  

VIEW TEST DATES & REGISTER

Candidates can only sign up for one test.


Important to Note: 
- Candidates must provide a picture ID at the door in order to be admitted to the test.
- Only applicants will be allowed inside the building, no spectators are allowed at the test. Once the doors close no one will be admitted into the test.

 

Attend the Returning Lifeguard Training Academy

The Returning Lifeguard Training Academy is an online and in-person review of knowledge and skills for the safe operation of a beach or swimming pool.  The training is designed to assess the retention of basic skills. It is open to returning lifeguards who possess a current Red Cross Waterfront Lifeguard certification and who worked for the Park District as a lifeguard within the last two years (2020 or 2021).  Candidates must complete the online training prior to the one-day in-person testing. In-person testing will consist of two written tests, a CPR skills test, and a rescue skills test.  Candidates must pass all American Red Cross Waterfront Lifeguarding skills, including the written test,  in order to be hired.  Pass/fail information will be provided on-site at the completion of the academy.

Online Training Links:

Only applicants who have passed the qualifying Lifeguard Skills Test will be admitted to the academy. 

The Returning Lifeguard Training Academy dates are listed below.  Candidates will register for a training academy session at the lifeguard skills test.  At registration, candidates’ certification status will be checked and additional instructions may be provided.

  • Saturday, December 18, 2021
  • Sunday, December 19, 2021
  • Monday, December 20, 2021
  • Saturday, March 19, 2022
  • Sunday, March 20, 2022
  • Saturday, March 26, 2022
  • Sunday, March 27, 2022
  • Saturday, April 2, 2022
  • Sunday, April 3, 2022
  • Saturday, April 16, 2022
  • Sunday, April 24, 2022
  • Saturday, April 30, 2022
  • Sunday, May 1, 2022
  • Saturday, May 7, 2022
  • Sunday, May 15, 2022


What to wear/bring:  Candidates must bring a swimsuit, hip pack with pocket mask, and a pen or pencil.  Please arrive on time.

The American Red Cross is in the process of updating its registration system.  Information for candidates who need to be recertified through the Returning Lifeguard Training Academy will be available at sign-up.  
 

Complete the Pre-Employment Processing

All applicants seeking employment with the Chicago Park District must complete Human Resources screening and processing.  These steps may include:

  • Verification of Residency (current Driver’s License or State ID with a Chicago address)
  • Settlement of outstanding debts to the City of Chicago
  • Fingerprint / Background Check (for candidates 17 and over)
  • Drug Testing (may be conducted prior to employment and randomly throughout the summer)
  • Verification of 20/20 Vision (Driver’s License or Vision Test)
  • Employment Paperwork, including I-9 and W-4 paperwork, completed and submitted

Instructions for additional processing will be provided by phone or e-mail from the Chicago Park District.  Any processing that you are directed to do must be completed before you can be hired.
 

Attend Your Interview

After completing all of the previous steps, returning lifeguard applicants will be invited to a final interview.  Applicants will receive an interview date and time at the Returning Lifeguard Training Academy.  

At the completion of the interview, viable candidates will be offered a position.
Location assignments for returning lifeguards are filled on a first-come, first-served basis.  Every attempt is made to assign locations for all returning lifeguards before new lifeguards are assigned. 

COMPLETION OF THE PRE-EMPLOYMENT PROCESSING IS REQUIRED BEFORE LIFEGUARDS CAN BE ASSIGNED TO A LOCATION. 

Please keep in mind the following:

  • The 2022 season runs from June 17th to September 5th.
  • Positions are assigned based on staffing projections and seniority.
  • Extended absences will not be permitted during the summer season.

Returning lifeguards may be eligible for early season staff, which begins May 28th.  Early season staff positions are assigned on a first-come, first-serve basis.

All lifeguards should have a thorough knowledge of indoor pool, outdoor pool and beach locations, along with travel routes and options.
 

 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FOR ALL APPLICANTS

COVID Guidelines & Limitations

Beach and pool operations up to and including Summer 2022 will be subject to some uncertainty due to COVID health and safety guidelines.  Please be aware of the following:

  • For summer 2022, all Seasonal employees with the Chicago Park District are required to be fully vaccinated, as defined by the CDC.
  • Applicants are encouraged to start the hiring process as soon as possible as this schedule is subject to change based on evolving health and safety guidelines.
  • Candidates must demonstrate compliance with health and safety protocols throughout the hiring process. Refusal to wear a mask or maintain safe physical separation when asked can be grounds for dismissal from any portion of the hiring process.  Masks are required in all public indoor park settings.  Learn more: Chicago Park District COVID-19 Response
  • Work as a Park District lifeguard will require interaction with the public and enforcement of COVID health and safety guidelines. If you are uncomfortable with that, this position may not be right for you.
  • Capacity for most hiring components will be limited, so certain offerings may fill up quickly. We have increased the number of offerings at every level to accommodate lifeguard candidates.
     
Additional Information
  • Applicants must pass all pre-employment testing and requirements before an assignment for employment can be offered.
  • If an applicant is offered an assignment and chooses not to accept that assignment for any reason, they have the option of refusing employment or requesting to be placed on a decline list. After all eligible applicants have been offered a position; the applicants on the decline list will be offered any remaining positions. Specific location requests cannot be accommodated.
  • Applicants hired are expected to work the summer season, which ends on Labor Day.  Applicants who resign their position prior to Labor Day MUST provide documentation for the early resignation.
  • Employees are evaluated on job performance, including attendance, and are rehired based on these evaluations.  ALL hired employees must review and sign their evaluations every payday.
  • Employees MUST submit Leave Requests when time off is needed and MUST provide documentation for the leave.  Accumulating more than 24 hours of unexcused absence will affect future employment.
     

Completion of the application and training process does not guarantee employment or guarantee a specific location.

 


 



For questions about the Chicago Park District’s Lifeguard Hiring and Training process, please contact the Chicago Park District Aquatics office at (773) 363-2225.