How Much Do Lifeguards Make For Saving Over 1,000,000 People Annually?

There is a saying, “When you feel like you’re drowning in life, don’t worry. Your lifeguard walks on water”. Did you know that lifeguards rescue over 1,000,000 people each year? Would you like to contribute your part to this over 1 million number? That’s right, it’s you, water lovers! Especially in the summer, involving in a lifeguard job brings an extra source of income, which can add up to a total of your 6 Figures Salary. So how much do lifeguards make? How old do you have to be to be a lifeguard? All answered in this post. 

Lifeguard Job Description

Lifeguards, as their job title says, are those employed at a beach or a swimming pool to ensure people’s safety and rescue them if they are in danger.

In general, the day-to-day responsibilities of a typical lifeguard include:

  • Supervise all activities at the aquatic facility.
  • Monitor designated areas to recognize and detect signs of danger.
  • Maintain cleanliness and orderliness in swimming areas.
  • Assist with swimming lessons.
  • Explain and enforce regulations, rules, and policies to guarantee the patrons’ safety.
  • Perform first-aid emergency procedures and treatment as required (in danger of drowning) until the emergency medical services arrive.
  • Record daily participation numbers and document any incidents or injuries.
  • Perform other duties as required.

Enjoy a physically demanding job? Maybe our Well-Rounded Review Of Strength And Conditioning Coach Jobs would help you explore.

Lifeguard Job Description

When you feel like you’re drowning in life, don’t worry. Your lifeguard walks on water – Source: 

Lifeguard Job Outlook In The Next Decade

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the projected job growth from 2019 to 2029 is 9% for lifeguards, ski patrol, and other recreational protective service workers.

How Much Do Lifeguards Make?

As of August 2021, the typical lifeguard salary in the United States is about $12 hourly. 

So $12 an hour is how much a year? It depends on how many hours a lifeguard can work per day. The average lifeguard’s working time varies among states and aquatic facilities. Some work in an 8-hour shift, but some can be on duty for up to 14 hours! Obviously, you will get a bonus for working overtime according to the labor laws in your state or province.

Anyway, let’s do a simple calculation. Assuming you work 37.5 hours a week (perhaps this is the minimum), then your annual salary would be 12 x 37.5 x 52 = 23,400 dollars.

How Much Do Lifeguards Make?

How much do lifeguards make annually? $12 an hour is how much a year depending on your working hours – Source:  YMCA of Greater Williamson County

Pay Rate Variety Among States

To answer ‘How much do lifeguards make in each state?’, let’s look at the following salary map drawn by to see the fluctuations among states in the U.S.  (Note: The base rate is the national average.)

Pay Rate Variety Among States

US lifeguard salary map – Source: 

5 Most Earning Jobs Related To Lifeguard: Pay Rate Difference Among Positions And Workplaces

In general, there are many jobs related to lifeguards out there. Some of them pay more than a typical pay rate. Let’ see how much do lifeguards make in the list of top 5 highest-paying lifeguard-related jobs in the U.S:

Job TitleAnnual SalaryMonthly PayHourly Wage
Work From Home Private Lifeguard$58,287$4,857$28.02
Work From Home Lifeguard Opening$57,944$4,829$27.86
Work From Home American Lifeguard Association$57,822$4,818$27.80
Work From Home Shallow Water Lifeguard$57,661$4,805$27.72
Work From Home YMCA Pool$57,269$4,772$27.53

Top 5 highest paying related lifeguard jobs in the US – Source: 

How To Get Started In A Lifeguard Career: Not As Hard As Your First Thought

To qualify, how old do you have to be to be a lifeguard? The American Red Cross has set the minimum age of 15 for you to undergo lifeguard training. Anyone over the age of 15 can earn a lifeguard certification and start this career. So how to get started?

Step 1: Determine Which Lifeguard Certification To Get

Before enrolling in a course, first, decide which type of certifications you need to get. Let’s look at the most common ones:


Lifeguarding is the most common type of certification. With this certification, you can work at pools.

Shallow Water Attendant

This allows you to work in areas where the water does not exceed four feet deep, such as kiddie pools.

Waterpark Lifeguarding

A Waterpark Lifeguarding certification certifies you to work at waterparks.

Waterfront Lifeguarding

This certification allows you to work in open-water areas such as lakes and ponds. Keep in mind that Waterfront Lifeguarding certification excludes surf areas like the ocean.

Surf Lifeguarding

This is the most rigorous kind of lifeguarding certification to get, in comparison with the other four. Hence, as long as you can pass this test at specialized centers, you can work on the beachfront with surfs.

Note: Actual names of certification vary depending on locations and the companies offering the certificate.

how much do lifeguards make

Once choosing the type of lifeguarding certification to earn, enroll in a course – Source: Salford Community Leisure

Step 2: Enroll In A Course

Once you know which certification to get, the next step is to enroll in a certification course. Generally, the American Red Cross is the most well-known provider. We also recommend other organizations such as “Ellis and Associates” and “Nasco Aquatics”. Yet, the American Red Cross certification is valid for two years, whilst Ellis and Nasco’ are only for one.

Each course’s length can vary between 15 and 30 hours depending on which state you take the course and which company that provides the course. Some courses are even online. The cost of the courses can also vary, but the common range is usually from $100 to $300.

Step 3: All Preparations Are Done. Now Sit The Exam And Get The Certification!

The exam includes a swim part besides the CPR/AED test and the First Aid test. Practice makes perfect, so don’t be afraid as it won’t be too tricky to pass if you follow all the course’s instructions closely and do a little practice.

Step 4: The Hardest Part Is Done. Now Find A Job To Start Your Career! 

Once certified, ask around at your local community centers, pools, or local water parks to find a job. Don’t forget to upload your profile on job hunting sites. Check out the 20 Best Job Searching Sites On the Net.

If you have a surf certification, check nearby beaches that have lifeguard vacancy posts. When applying for a job, pay attention to this Brief Guide On Job Application Email Subjects.

Have You Made Up Your Mind Yet?

Hope that our catalyst has made you more determined to follow a lifeguard profession. Get tan and enjoy your noble work!

If you want to consider other paths as well, check our Job Overview section. Visit Jobandedu for more.

Emma Anderson

Emma Anderson is a career consultant and freelance writer for JobandEdu by night. Layla assists students, and new hires in determining a suitable career path and walk them through the application process. She decides to pursue writing since she thinks everyone should have access to information about potential careers, such as the application process and the company's culture. She's into writing, driving her with stuff that interests her in all her good reads.