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New initiative to streamline application process, build swim capacity of future lifeguard candidates, and further support “Your Perfect Summer Job” recruitment efforts; 
Interested candidates must register for crucial training dates in April and May to complete the lifeguard application requirements. 

CHICAGO – The Chicago Park District introduces a newly revitalized Lifeguard Training Academy with enriching training initiatives to strengthen our workforce pipeline, connect qualified candidates to unique, summer job opportunities, and build the capacity of future lifeguards at local park pools. 

The launch of the “Your Perfect Summer Job” campaign coupled with early access to training sessions, and the elimination of financial barriers for specialty training for potential lifeguards aims to maximize hiring results and support interested lifeguard candidates through the application process. 

“Providing Chicago families with fun and active recreational activities throughout the summer relies upon a strong workforce. As one of the largest employers of youth, we are making important investments in building our seasonal workforce pipeline disrupted by the pandemic,” said Rosa Escareño, General Superintendent and CEO of the Chicago Park District. “We are investing in youth by reducing cost barriers on training and building robust workforce and life-skills training.” 

After applying for the lifeguard position, candidates will join a Lifeguard Training Academy, which will consist of a qualifying lifeguard skills test, an American Red Cross Waterfront Lifeguard Certification course, and a Park District Safety Operations Lifeguard Training class.  Applicants that complete the programs successfully, will formally qualify to be onboarded as Chicago Park District lifeguards.  

The new training initiatives will galvanize future lifeguarding opportunities, and revitalize the recruitment pipelines disrupted by the covid-19 pandemic. These initiatives are key to the recruitment strategies for hiring great employees, building the capacity of future lifeguards, and providing valuable life-saving, transferable skills for lifeguards interested in employment opportunities as first responders.  

Building workforce opportunities into the future, and strengthening the skills of our own workforce is an important investment in our aquatics department. These new recruitment avenues, in addition to the thriving Junior Lifeguard program, which will open for registration starting May 1, will introduce participants to an important profession vital for every beach and pool, and prepare them to apply to be guards not only for this summer, but for many future seasons. 

Furthermore, seasonal jobs at the District are pathways to professional growth, and careers in aquatics, and civil service. In 2022, more than 80 seasonal lifeguards moved into full-time position with the District after fulfilling their summer commitment.  

Chicago’s lifeguards are among the best trained in the industry. In Chicago, lifeguards are essential members of the summer team that demonstrate extraordinary physical condition, and pledge to uphold the safety of swimmers in pools and beaches.  

The first step of the process in becoming a lifeguard and serving across the city to make Chicago’s vibrant aquatics recreation and programming possible is applying for the position online.  Summer lifeguards start as early as May. The season runs through early September.

Swimmers interested in applying for the Lifeguard Training Academy, should visit for more information. 

Academy Programs: 

1.    Lifeguard Skills Test 
Lifeguard Skills Test is an assessment of the lifeguard candidates’ ability to demonstrate the capacity to complete necessary life-saving tasks, including swimming 20 yards underwater, and 200-yards in less than 3 minutes and 30 seconds, as well as retrieving a 10-pound object from a depth of 10 to 14 feet. Test dates are available at various park pool locations and times to accommodate lifeguard applicants’ schedules. The test is offered at no cost to the participant. The next skills tests are scheduled for April 28, May 5, May 6 and May 13.

2.    American Red Cross Waterfront Lifeguard Certification 
The District is covering the $85 cost for the required American Red Cross Waterfront Lifeguard Certification training, and making classes available during evenings and weekdays. During the valuable Red Cross training classes, lifeguard candidates are trained in first aid, CPR and AED, waterfront skills, bloodborne pathogens, asthma inhaler, epinephrine auto injector, and in administering emergency oxygen. Upcoming sessions start April 24 and 25, and May 9 and 15. 

3.    Lifeguard Training Academy 
The District is also compensating qualified lifeguards for attending the final three-day Lifeguard Training Academy, where candidates learn about the safe operation of a beach or swimming pool. 

“Your Perfect Summer Job” Campaign 

Last month, the Park District announced the “Your Perfect Summer Job” marketing campaign to inform job seekers of the more than 2,500 seasonal employment opportunities available at parks citywide this summer. Qualified candidates must be ages 16 and up to apply for summer jobs, including recreational leader, lifeguard and junior laborer. Actively recruiting vital employees earlier in the year allows the District to reach a wider audience before summer employment plans are solidified. 

The “Your Perfect Summer Job” campaign focuses on informing job-seeking Chicago residents about the variety of employment opportunities available at the District to help them find a profession that suits their interests, schedules and experience levels.  The District’s summer jobs offer competitive wages, life-skill building opportunities, flexible work schedules and pathways to careers and full-time employment. For a complete list of summer job opportunities, interested applicants should visit