How do I become a Lifeguard?
Life guarding for the Milwaukee County Parks is an ideal job for anyone who wants to make good money while spending the summer outdoors. As a lifeguard, you will deal with life-saving issues and be responsible for the safety and well-being of thousands of people on a daily basis. You must have good public relations skills and be able to work under pressure, keeping in mind that the public will look to you as a role model.
Skills you will acquire working as a Milwaukee County lifeguard will transfer to future positions. Good communication skills, working cooperatively with a diverse group of co-workers and patrons, and a responsible attitude are among the qualities you will develop.
Qualifications for Training
To qualify for training as a lifeguard for the Milwaukee County Parks, you must be:
- at least 16 years old by July 2021
- in good physical condition
- able to swim 100 meters in less than 1 minute 45 seconds
The Lifeguard Training Program
All lifeguards are required to complete their training and testing through the Parks. The Parks Dept. does NOT accept outside certifications, such as those by the Red Cross or YMCA.
The program has 4 parts:
- In-Water Training
- Civil Service Physical Performance Exam
- Emergency Medical Responder Course
- On Site Training
Because of our in-depth and extensive training program, lifeguards are not fully certified until the end of the summer season.
During the 12-hour, FREE in-water training session, you will learn all rescues and releases required to pass the Physical Performance exam. There is no need to pre-register for training classes. Registration takes place at the first class.
2021 Training Sessions
The Milwaukee County Lifeguard Corps is developing training dates for 2021. Please check back soon
Civil Service Physical Performance Exam
After mastering all the skills presented in the In-Water Training Program, you will be well prepared for the Physical Performance exam. First of all, you must be able to swim 100 meters in less than 1 minute and 45 seconds. You will then have to demonstrate and pass the rescues and releases taught in the class.
You will want to do well on this exam because you will be ranked according to your score. This score and ranking will determine if you will be hired and assists in assigning you to a location. Passing the exam does not guarantee employment.
Emergency Medical Responder Course
After passing the Physical Performance exam, you will take an Emergency Medical Responder training course. With this 40-hour course, you will be prepared to perform CPR and other emergency first aid. This course goes above and beyond other first aid training, such as Red Cross training, and is required. There is a cost associated with this course, but if you are hired as a lifeguard and complete the summer season, you will be paid for your 40 hours of classroom training at your hourly rate.
On Site Training
After you have been assigned to a location, you will utilize all the skills you have learned from the in- water course and Emergency Medical Responder and apply them to site specific policies and procedures. Time will be scheduled for crews, as a whole, to teach, learn, and practice these procedures. Before July 4th, each crew will be assessed showing that they can appropriately react and provide care following the procedures in different scenarios. Every member of the crew will have a role in at least one of the scenarios.
After successfully completing the Physical Performance exam and Emergency Medical Responder training, your name will be placed on the eligible list and you will be ranked according to your Physical Performance exam score. The Parks Department will hire from this list as lifeguard vacancies occur. All new lifeguard hires occur in the spring, with new employees starting work in the summer.
First and foremost, lifeguards work for the Milwaukee County Parks and are assigned to a specific location. Ultimately this means that all lifeguards are needed to assist in staffing all locations from Memorial Day to Labor Day, regardless of where they are assigned for the summer season.
The department makes assignments to cover every day of the week. The normal schedule includes 6-8 hour shifts covering 5-6 days a week. You will be expected to work more or fewer hours if the weather dictates. Milwaukee County pools and beaches are open 7 days a week and holidays.
Pool or Beach Assignments
If you are hired, you will be assigned to work at one pool or beach location for the summer season. Up to 5 locations may be requested. Requests cannot be guaranteed, but we do our best to place all staff at one of their requested locations.
You will be expected to purchase other equipment, such as shirts, sweatshirts, helmets, swim suits, trunks, sunglasses, whistles and whistle lanyards from the department. The department furnishes locations with jackets and rain slickers for employees as needed.
You will be required to furnish your own sunglasses. They must have black or brown frames with reflective lenses. There should be no metal or color (including the arms) on the frames. We recommend that you invest in a pair of polarized sunglasses. You may also want to have a spare pair of sunglasses for practice.
As a returning lifeguard, you MUST pass a reinstate test and complete CPR re-certification every spring.
If you are returning for your second or third season, we recommend that you refresh your lifeguarding skills before taking the reinstate test. To refresh your in-water lifeguarding skills, feel free to attend one of the free lifeguard training classes.
You will need to pre-register with the Aquatics Office for a reinstate exam. Reinstate Exams will start at 7 a.m. and run until about 11 a.m. Plan to arrive early to complete mandatory paperwork.
Emergency Medical Responder Refresher
You must refresh your Emergency Medical Responder certification every 3 years. Pre-registration is required for the refresher. Please contact the Aquatics Office to register for a refresher course.
For more information, call the Aquatics Office at (414) 257-8098 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.