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International Lifeguards Wanted

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Thank you for your interest in the New York City Municipal Lifeguard Training Program. Due to the success of our local recruitment efforts, we will suspend our International Lifeguard Program for new candidates for the 2011 summer season. Please visit our website again this fall if you are interested in receiving information for the 2012 season.

Come to New York City and join a team of skilled lifeguards who safeguard our 14 miles of ocean beaches. Be part an organization of over 1,200 dedicated New York City Lifeguards with the Parks Department this summer who watch over 20 million swimmers. Although lifeguarding in New York City is challenging, it is also extremely rewarding. Lifeguards watch over skilled and unskilled swimmers and are called upon to make split second decisions that can mean the difference between life and death. As a New York City Lifeguard, you learn to work as part of a team in a variety of high pressure situations. Our beach season runs from Memorial Day weekend until Labor Day.


To become a New York City Lifeguard, previous lifeguard experience is essential. Upon arrival in New York, candidates will be required to pass a qualifying test.  Those who qualify must then successfully complete the Municipal Lifeguard Training Program, which includes 40 hours of training in swimming and rescue techniques, first-aid, and CPR. It is crucial that candidates already have previous lifeguard experience, advanced swimming skills, and be in excellent physical condition when they arrive in New York City. Qualifications are:

  • Lifeguards must be at least 18 years old.
  • Vision must be at least 20/30 in one eye and 20/40 in the other, without corrective lenses. Glasses and contacts may NOT be worn during the eye exam.
  • Beach Lifeguards must be able to swim 0.25 miles (402 meters) in 6 minutes and 40 seconds.

It is strongly recommended that candidates have an eye exam prior to coming to New York to ensure they meet the vision requirements. Currently, we are only hiring lifeguards on J-1 visas, and candidates must be enrolled in college. Non-students may be eligible to apply soon.


As a first-year lifeguard, you will be paid $13.57 an hour and work 48 hours (6 days) each week, for a weekly salary of over $650.00.  Our lifeguards are paid every two weeks.  Beach season runs from Memorial Day weekend (last weekend in May) until Labor Day (first weekend in September).  Pools are open from late June until Labor Day.

Getting the J-1 Exchange Visitors Visa and Coming to New York

If you meet the above criteria and you would like to come to New York to become a lifeguard this summer, the first step is to obtain a J-1 visa. The J-1 visa allows foreign students to visit the United States to work. J-1 visa holders can stay in the United States for up to four months and part of the time can be used for traveling. Most students who come to the United States on a J-1 visa use an expediting service to help obtain the visa, provide insurance, locate a position, and assist with housing. Below is a listing of organizations that can help you obtain a lifeguard job in New York City.

Visa Assistance Links


Although we cannot offer housing or transportation, housing may be available through the International Student Support Center.