May 4, 2017

5 Reasons You Should Become a Lifeguard

Have you ever thought about lifeguarding? While at times challenging, lifeguarding is a very rewarding job – and could be perfect for those who love the water. Here are 5 great reasons why you should consider becoming a lifeguard.

1. Lifeguards save lives

All lifeguards save lives. Sometimes, this looks exactly how you might imagine: a dramatic entry into the water, followed by a successful rescue and return to safety. Other times, the reality is less dramatic: spotting a dangerous situation on deck followed by a quick conversation with the patrons to prevent an accident. Much of a lifeguard’s time is focused on prevention. Each shift is spent watching, anticipating, and then moving to prevent potentially dangerous or life-threatening situations. Without any dramatic splashing, an outside observer may not notice people being protected, but every moment of a lifeguards’ time on the deck is worthwhile in potential lives saved.


But just what does the day-to-day of this look like? Well, for lifeguards at MIT Recreation, this may include closely watching children on the pool deck during swim lessons, teaching parents to fit an appropriately sized lifejacket, monitoring athletes during swim practices and competitions, or enforcing safety measures among crowds of spectators at events. Our pools are almost always busy, and our guards are also.

2. The jobs are plentiful

Did you know there is a lifeguard shortage? In the Boston area, many Aquatics Facilities are reporting a decrease in lifeguard applications. Employers, including MIT Recreation, are actively recruiting lifeguards on a continuing bases. If you are thinking about becoming a lifeguard, rest assured, many facilities around your area are hiring!


3. Work at a place that shares the love of swimming

If you love the water and everything that goes along with it, lifeguarding could be an ideal fit for you. Your definition of a fun aquatic facility may differ from others, but no matter what type of water you love to be around, most likely there are lifeguards on duty. If you’re a competitive swimmer, maybe you would like to work at a college with a nice competition pool. Maybe you like Cape Cod, or would love to spend the summer at a waterpark, or even on a cruise ship! Some of your favorite destinations might have a potential job opportunity.


Lifeguards don’t just get to work near what they love. Most employers often offer additional benefits which could include free facility memberships and discounted access to local attractions; these are often added advantages to working where you want to play. At MIT Recreation, our guards are given free membership not only to the pools, but to all of our Recreational Facilities. Most other multi-use facilities offer free membership for their lifeguards as well. Not only could you be making extra money this summer, you could be saving some as well.

4. Flexibility in work schedule

Lifeguarding is a Recreation job, with most facilities offering an extensive operational schedule. While most people think of lifeguards working full time during the summer, in New England the majority of a lifeguard’s work year round is part time. Many facilities offer early morning shifts, leaving your summer days open to recreate. Or, perhaps you’re a night owl and prefer to work late at night. Many facilities are happy to offer later shifts as well. Even if you are only available on the weekends, there is a spot for you. Lifeguards are in high demand on Saturday’s and Sunday’s.


5. Skills that will last a lifetime

During a lifeguarding class, you will learn skills that can be used outside the workplace. In fact, most lifeguards use their First Aid and CPR skills while off duty to save a loved one, family member, or even a complete stranger. Lifeguards also learn how to interact with the public and how to be a role model in their community. The ability to take control of an emergency situation, make quick and decisive decisions and be a leader, are all skills that transfer well into almost any other field of work.


From ample job openings to transferable life skills, lifeguarding is a job worth considering. If you are interested in training to become a guard, the process has two main steps. First, you must qualify your swim skills via an in water pre-test. Check out what that usually entails, here. Next, you must obtain a certification – a process which includes class time in the water, an exam and a fee.

If you are looking to work at an MIT Recreation pool, we can help you get certified! We are currently offering our applicants a no-experience, free training through the American Red Cross. For more information on Lifeguard Classes at MIT, contact Kevin Bailey at