Become an NYC Parks Lifeguard

Try out now for a chance to become a lifeguard for summer 2021!

lifeguard on a beach

Tests are offered in January

Help us keep millions of New Yorkers safe at NYC's beaches and outdoor pools this summer. As one of just 1,400 NYC Parks Lifeguards, you will be part of an elite group that is committed to serving the public. 

One of the best jobs in New York City, lifeguarding gives people the opportunity to work in a rewarding and challenging environment during the busy summer months. It requires split-second decision making that could mean the difference between life and death and helps develop valuable skills—a strong work ethic, teamwork, leadership, and communication—that will last a lifetime in any profession. 

Lifeguards work 48 hours each week and first-year lifeguards earn a minimum of $15 an hour, for a weekly salary of about $800. Parks’ beaches open on Memorial Day weekend, and pools open in late June; both close the Sunday after Labor Day. 

Become a lifeguard and help build on the exemplary safety record our lifeguards have set over the years!

How to Join

Before joining our lifeguard training program, applicants must pass the Qualifying Test, a set of vision and swim exams. Tests are offered by appointment in January at indoor pools across the city. You must register in order to take the qualifying test. You may take the qualifying test for the summer 2021 season at one of the locations below. All candidates are tested by Parks’ Lifeguard School to ensure that they meet the highest standards. 

Once you've passed the qualifying test, you're able to join the Lifeguard Training Program. Upon completion of the training program, you must pass final swimming tests and a written test to become a lifeguard. 

Please note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we've put safety protocols in place to keep participants and staff safe. Face coverings must be worn in the building and on the deck, and social distancing is required. To reduce capacity, testing groups and appointments may be limited. A temperature check and health screening questionnaire may be required to enter the facility. For more information, please call the Lifeguard School at (212) 397-3157.

Qualifying Test Locations and Dates

Qualifying tests for the Summer 2021 season take place in January 2021. Please check back for test dates and test locations.

Registration is required. You may try out as many times as you would like until you've passed the test. Please make sure to bring a bathing suit, a towel, and a lock (for your locker), and wear a face covering in the building and on the deck but not in the water. Goggles are optional.

Qualifying Test Requirements

To qualify, you must:

  • Be at least 16 years of age by the start of employment.
  • Have at least 20/30 vision in one eye and 20/40 in the other - without corrective lenses. 
    Glasses and contact lenses may not be worn during the eye exam.
  • Be able to swim 50 yards in 35 seconds or less, with proper form.
lifeguards by poolside

Know someone who wants to become a lifeguard?

Invite a friend or three to become a lifeguard as well. Download [PDF] our poster and share it. Your summer could be double—or triple—the fun with a friend!

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