Aquatic Careers: Enhancing Your Resume While Saving Lives

Alan Cohen


Aquatics Careers: Enhancing Your Resume and Saving Lives

For young individuals venturing into the workforce, composing the initial line under the "Experience" section can pose a challenge. Many have yet to step into the realm of employment, making the acquisition of job experience a daunting task. This raises a timeless question: how can one secure a job without prior work history?

The answer lies in taking the plunge—quite literally.

A substantial number of individuals have embraced this approach. Nearly 40,000 Americans are currently employed as lifeguards and swim instructors across various settings such as local government parks and recreation departments, beaches, fitness centers, sports centers, hotels, resorts, country clubs, YMCAs, JCCs, and camps, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Surprisingly, very few of them possessed prior experience when they landed their first position. However, having adequate swimming skills and good interpersonal skills proves beneficial.

Moreover, to pursue a career as a lifeguard, certification is imperative. This certification is attainable through the Red Cross, as well as from community Parks & Recreation Departments, county offices, or similar institutions. Additionally, mastering CPR techniques is a requirement, and local classes are typically available through the Red Cross or at county offices. Certification can also be obtained at local YMCAs or JCCs.

Securing certifications as a Professional Rescuer and Water Safety Instructor through the Red Cross further enhances your qualifications.

Notably, previous work experience is not a prerequisite for these positions.

Simultaneously, these roles equip you with exceptional qualities to enrich your resume. Firstly, you hold a position of trust. Employers highly value trustworthy employees, and lifeguards embody this characteristic. Responsibility is another quality demonstrated in this role, given the duty to safeguard swimmers' lives. It epitomizes a high level of responsibility.

Furthermore, punctuality, affability, and professionalism are attributes that are intrinsic to a lifeguard’s role—qualities that every employer seeks in potential hires.

A career in aquatics extends beyond pool and beach supervision. Opportunities encompass roles like pool manager, swim instructor, aquatic instructor, and even teaching entry-level sailing and boating courses. Remarkably, age and experience are usually not barriers to entry for these positions.

This might explain the 10 percent annual growth in recreational job opportunities, exceeding the average growth rate for all occupations, as per the Bureau of Labor Statistics. You can discover many of these opportunities listed on prominent websites like and Anticipate a rising demand for employees in the coming years, fueled by the increasing emphasis on the importance of exercise. Salaries in Florida as an example, in this field ranging from $10-$20 per hour to over $22,000-$30,000 annually.

While many of these jobs are part-time, primarily during the warmer months when beaches and pools are bustling, they often pave the way to full-time positions. This progression is particularly noticeable in regions like Florida, where junior lifeguards frequently return each year and progress to becoming full-time lifeguards and safety officers.

In conclusion, these roles offer more than just a line on a resume—they have the potential to shape meaningful and fulfilling careers.

Alan Cohen, a distinguished expert in the health and fitness industry, boasts over 35 years of experience in health and fitness. He is the founder and president of and Alan can be contacted via email at or by phone at 602-334-7898.


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