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NYC Lifeguard: A Summer Job for Teens

NYC Lifeguard: A Summer Job for Teens

The NYC Department of Parks and Recreation just announced qualifying testing for the city lifeguard program will run Jan. 31 to Feb. 19.

We're still deep into winter, but it's never too early to start planning for summer! Warm weather will be here before you know it, making now a great time for teens to start thinking about a summer job. While many teens opt for jobs in retail and food service, here’s another option: Becoming a NYC lifeguard! 

The NYC Department of Parks and Recreation just announced qualifying testing for the city lifeguard program will run Jan. 31 to Feb. 19. Applicants must be at least 16 years old by the start of employment and register online to take the test. Testing locations are available in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens. 

“Being a lifeguard is a rewarding and challenging job that requires split-second decision making and develops valuable skills that can last a lifetime,” the NYC Parks Dept. wrote in a press release. “NYC Parks is looking for New Yorkers who have the physical and the mental discipline to become part of our team for summer 2022.”

Lifeguards work five to six days each week and first-year lifeguards earn a minimum of $16 an hour, for a weekly salary of about $800, according to the NYC Parks Dept. Each summer, city beaches open Memorial Day weekend, and outdoor pools open in late June. Both pools and beaches close the Sunday after Labor Day. 

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How to Become a NYC Parks Lifeguard 

According to NYC Parks, lifeguards are tested to meet the highest standards to ensure that they can keep New Yorkers safe. All potential lifeguards must pass the Lifeguard Qualifying Test, a series of vision and swim exams. To qualify, applicants must:

  • 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. 
  • Individuals must be vaccinated to take the qualifying test.

In addition to having fun in the sun and staying in shape with all that swimming, teens can expect plenty more from this summer job opportunity. Being a NYC Parks lifeguard allows teens to:

  • Develop Job Skills: Learn valuable leadership and communication skills that will last a lifetime in any profession.
  • Become Part of a Team: Make friends for a lifetime who are also committed to serving the public. 
  • Get Their Certification: Earn an NYC Parks lifeguard certification, and learn CPR, first-aid, and rescue techniques. 
  • Practice Your Swimming: Get access to all of the city's indoor pools to strengthen swimming skills. 

Once applicants pass the qualifying test, lifeguard training begins. During the 40-hour training, future lifeguards will further develop their swimming skills, learn life saving techniques, and receive their certification to become a NYC Parks lifeguard. Once the training is completed, candidates must pass a written test and final swimming test to become a lifeguard.  For more information about becoming a NYC Parks lifeguard, visit, or follow NYC Parks on Facebook or Instagram.   

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Barbara Russo

Author: Barbara Russo is a freelance writer who holds a bachelor's degree in communications from the City University of New York. She enjoys playing guitar, following current events, and hanging out with her pet rabbits. See More

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