City seeking to hire 75 lifeguards, offering free certification

Published on February 14, 2024


An American Red Cross lifeguard certification is valued at $275

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The City of Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation Department plans to hire 75 lifeguards this summer to staff the three City-owned pools. The department hopes to reduce barriers to becoming a certified lifeguard by offering free American Red Cross courses for applicants who are not already certified. The certification–which is valid for two years–has a value of $275.

To be eligible for the free certification, participants who successfully pass the two to three-day courses must work as a lifeguard at one of the City’s three public pools at Briggs, Martin Luther King and Richmond Park for the 2024 pool season. City lifeguard wages begin at $15 per hour.

This is the third year the department has offered the free certifications and they appear to be paying off. Despite a nationwide lifeguard shortage since 2020, the City has been able to fully staff its pools without disruption to operations.

“By offering free lifeguard certification, we’re opening the doors to a new segment of potential lifeguards who may not have had the means to apply in the past,” Parks and Recreation Director David Marquardt said.

Pre-application is required to be eligible for the certification courses. Prospective lifeguards, who must be 15 years old or older, can apply online HERE. An aquatics manager will work with applicants to schedule a certification course if needed.

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