How do I become a Lifeguard?

Milwaukee County Lifeguard Corps

Established in 1946, Milwaukee County Lifeguard Corps (MCLC) has a rich history serving the Greater Milwaukee Area. Our program develops young leaders who have a strong work ethic and sense of pride and responsibility.

As a lifeguard, you will deal with life-saving issues and be responsible for the safety of thousands of community members 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. 

The skills you acquire while working as a Milwaukee County Parks Lifeguard are the building blocks for any future career endeavors. Among the qualities you will develop are good communication skills, working cooperatively with a diverse group of co-workers and patrons, and a responsible attitude. Many MCLC alumni use their experience and skills to pursue careers in the medical field, police, fire, military, and more. 

2024 Lifeguard Pay: starting at $17.13/hour plus incentives

4-Part MCLC Training Program (Required)

  1. Pre-Registration of Qualified Applicants

To qualify for training, you must be at least 15 years old (and at least 16 by the time of hire), able to swim 100 meters in 1 minute 45 seconds or less and be in good physical condition.


  1. In-Water Training

Sessions available January - April

In this 12-hour course, MCLC instructors will teach you 6 rescue skills and ways to strengthen your swimming. Upon course completion, you must show proficiency in each skill during the Civil Service Exam. Passing the exam does not guarantee employment, but it does qualify you for the next step.

  1. Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) Course

Sessions available early June

Instructed by the Office of Emergency Management, this 40-hour course is tailored specifically for MCLC applicants. The course prepares you to perform CPR and other emergency first aid, above and beyond what is taught in other first-aid programs. You will pay a fee for the course, but if you are hired as a lifeguard and complete the summer season, you will be paid for the 40 hours of classroom training at your hourly rate.

  1. On-the-Job Training

Training continues throughout the summer

In our extensive training program, you are not fully certified as a lifeguard until the end of the summer season. During the season, you will shadow experienced lifeguards and will attend weekly jump practices to become familiar with emergency procedures at your assigned location.

More About Being Hired as a Lifeguard

Work Schedule

Lifeguards are assigned to one of our many locations throughout the county. You may be asked to assist in staffing at other locations from Memorial Day to Labor Day, regardless of where you are assigned for the summer season.

Facilities are open 7 days a week, including holidays. Your schedule will typically include 5 to 6 shifts, up to 8 hours per day. You are expected to have generally open availability during the summer; however, part-time work may be available upon request. You will be expected to work more or fewer hours as the weather dictates.


If you are hired, you will be assigned to work at one location for the summer season. You may list up to four location preferences. We cannot guarantee requests, but we do our best to place all staff at one of their preferred locations.


Milwaukee County Parks provides one uniform set for free. The set includes a helmet, whistle, lanyard, swimsuit/trunks, jersey, t-shirt, and sweatshirt. You will need to purchase any duplicate equipment. Jackets and rain slickers are available for use at your assigned facility.   

You will be required to furnish your own sunglasses, which must have black or brown frames with reflective lenses. More information about recommended sunglasses and other necessary personal items, such as water bottles and sunscreen, will be provided by your Head Guard upon your hiring.

Returning Lifeguards

Reinstate Test

You MUST pass a reinstate test and complete CPR recertification every spring. The Aquatics Office will be contacting you via email with more information regarding dates and times.

If you've been a member of the MCLC for less than 3 years, we recommend that you refresh your in-water lifeguarding skills before taking the reinstate test. To refresh your skills at one of the free lifeguard training classes, contact the Aquatics Office at (414) 257-8077 or Class sizes are limited!

Emergency Medical Responder Refresher

You must renew your Emergency Medical Responder certification every 3 years. The Aquatics Office will contact you via email with more information regarding dates and times.

For More Information

Contact the Aquatics Office at (414) 257-8077 or

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