Parks & Rec boosts lifeguard pay to ensure city pools open

Philly Pool 1
Joe O’Connor / Philadelphia Parks & Recreation.

Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell joined Deputy Mayor Cynthia Figueroa, Office of Children and Families, and members of City Council to announce a pay increase for first year city lifeguards. The starting pay for rookie lifeguards will be $15.25 an hour, with returning guards earning up to $17.47 an hour. The pay boost will support ongoing recruitment efforts to ensure city pools are staffed to safely open this summer.

The lifeguard certification is free for applicants ages 16-24 who commit to working at a city pool. The Red Cross lifeguard certification free is $110 for all other candidates.

Parks & Rec aims to hire between 350-400 lifeguards this summer to open 68 outdoor pools. A detailed list of requirements can be found at The first step for interested candidates is to brush up on swimming skills, and prepare for the lifeguard screening.

“Being a lifeguard is not just a great summer job. It’s also an incredible way for Philadelphians to give back to their community and to regain a sense of normalcy after this past year,” said Ott Lovell. “From retirees and school teachers to teens and young adults, anyone can be a lifeguard and help make this a summer to remember for Philly kids.”

Candidates interested in brushing up their swimming skills or completing the lifeguard screening must register in advance. Due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols, space is limited.

Learn more and apply at