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Career and Education Opportunities for Lifeguards in Chicago, Illinois

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for lifeguards in the Chicago, Illinois area. There are currently 8,760 jobs for lifeguards in Illinois and this is projected to grow by 16% to about 10,160 jobs by 2016. This is better than the national trend for lifeguards, which sees this job pool growing by about 11.2% over the next eight years. Lifeguards generally monitor recreational areas, such as pools, beaches, or ski slopes to provide assistance and protection to participants.

Lifeguards earn approximately $8 hourly or $17,800 yearly on average in Illinois. Nationally they average about $8 per hour or $18,450 annually. Jobs in this field include: gamewell operator, rescue worker, and aquatics director.

The Chicago area is home to 180 schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can get a degree as a lifeguard. Lifeguards usually hold less than a high school diploma, so you can expect to spend only a short time training to become a lifeguard if you already have a high school diploma.


Lifeguard video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, lifeguards monitor recreational areas, such as pools, beaches, or ski slopes to provide assistance and protection to participants.

Lifeguards patrol or monitor recreational areas such as trails and swimming areas, on foot or from towers. They also contact emergency medical staff in cases of serious injury. Equally important, lifeguards have to rescue distressed persons, using rescue techniques and equipment. They are often called upon to examine injured persons and administer first aid or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, if needed, using training and medical supplies and equipment. They are expected to instruct participants in skiing or other recreational efforts and furnish safety precaution data. Finally, lifeguards complete and maintain records of weather and beach conditions, emergency medical treatments performed, and other relevant incident data.

Every day, lifeguards are expected to be able to evaluate problems as they arise. They need to articulate ideas and problems. It is also important that they understand events and object details at a distance.

It is important for lifeguards to examine recreational equipment, such as rope tows, T-bars, J-bars, and chair lifts, for safety hazards and damage or wear. They are often called upon to observe efforts in assigned areas, using binoculars, to uncover hazards or safety infractions. They also furnish assistance with staff selection and supervision. They are sometimes expected to operate underwater recovery units. Somewhat less frequently, lifeguards are also expected to furnish assistance in the safe use of equipment.

Lifeguards sometimes are asked to examine recreational facilities for cleanliness. And finally, they sometimes have to rescue distressed persons, using rescue techniques and equipment.

Like many other jobs, lifeguards must be reliable and have strong self control in the face of challenging situations.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Chicago include:

  • Animal Attendant. Handle animals for the purpose of investigations of mistreatment, or control of abandoned, dangerous, or unattended animals.
  • Correctional Officer. Guard inmates in penal or rehabilitative institution in accordance with established regulations and procedures. May guard prisoners in transit between jail, courtroom, or other point. Includes deputy sheriffs and police who spend the majority of their time guarding prisoners in correctional institutions.
  • Fire Code Inspector. Inspect buildings and equipment to detect fire hazards and enforce state and local regulations.
  • Fire Fighter. Control and extinguish municipal fires, protect life and property and conduct rescue efforts.
  • Forest Firefighter. Control and suppress fires in forests or vacant public land.
  • Private Investigator. Detect occurrences of unlawful acts or infractions of rules in private establishment, or seek, examine, and compile information for client.


Lewis University - Romeoville, IL

Lewis University, One University Parkway, Romeoville, IL 60446-2200. Lewis University is a medium sized university located in Romeoville, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 5,536 students and an admission rate of 71%. Lewis University has a bachelor's degree program in Security and Protective Services, Other Specialties.


ACA Instructor: As an ACA Instructor, you are certified to teach a body of knowledge including all the skills, maneuvers and information required in canoeing, kayaking, and rafting.

For more information, see the American Canoe Association website.

Oxygen Administration: Prepares laypersons and professional rescuers with the knowledge and skills needed to know when and how to use supplemental oxygen and breathing devices.

For more information, see the American Red Cross website.


Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois photo by Dschwen

Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.