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Career and Education Opportunities for Lifeguards in Seattle, Washington

If you want to be a lifeguard, the Seattle, Washington area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. There are currently 2,230 working lifeguards in Washington; this should grow by 18% to about 2,630 working lifeguards in the state by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for lifeguards are expected to grow by about 11.2%. Lifeguards generally monitor recreational areas, such as pools, beaches, or ski slopes to provide assistance and protection to participants.

Income for lifeguards is about $9 per hour or $19,950 annually on average in Washington. Nationally, their income is about $8 per hour or $18,450 yearly. People working as lifeguards can fill a number of jobs, such as: cafeteria monitor, recreation director, and swim instructor.

There are sixty-five schools of higher education in the Seattle area, including two within twenty-five miles of Seattle where you can get a degree to start your career as a lifeguard. The most common level of education for lifeguards is less than a high school diploma. You can expect to spend only a short time training to become a lifeguard if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Lifeguard

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 Seattle include:

  • Animal Attendant. Handle animals for the purpose of investigations of mistreatment, or control of abandoned, dangerous, or unattended animals.
  • Casino Surveillance Officer. Act as oversight and security agent for management and customers. Observe casino or casino hotel operation for irregular activities such as cheating or theft by either employees or patrons. May utilize one-way mirrors above the casino floor, cashier's cage, and from desk. Use of audio/video equipment is also common to observe operation of the business. Usually required to provide verbal and written reports of all violations and suspicious behavior to supervisor.
  • 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.
  • Fish and Game Warden. Patrol assigned areas to prevent fish and game law violations. Investigate reports of damage to crops or property by wildlife. Compile biological data.
  • 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.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Lifeguard Training

Renton Technical College - Renton, WA

Renton Technical College, 3000 NE Fourth St, Renton, WA 98056-4195. Renton Technical College is a small college located in Renton, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,708 students. Renton Technical College has a less than one year program in Security and Protective Services, Other Specialties which graduated twelve students in 2008.

Clover Park Technical College - Lakewood, WA

Clover Park Technical College, 4500 Steilacoom Blvd SW, Lakewood, WA 98499-4004. Clover Park Technical College is a medium sized college located in Lakewood, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 3,781 students. Clover Park Technical College has a less than one year program in Security and Protective Services, Other Specialties which graduated three students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

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.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington
Seattle, Washington photo by Dschwen

Seattle is located in King County, Washington. It has a population of over 598,541, which has grown by 6.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Seattle, 126, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Seattle are valued at $206,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, five hundred ninety-five new homes were built in Seattle, down from seven hundred seventy-five the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Seattle are health care, professional, scientific, and technical services, and educational services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, construction, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 25 minutes. More than 47.2% of Seattle residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 17.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Seattle is 7.8%, which is less than Washington's average of 8.7%.

The percentage of Seattle residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Seattle is home to the Berth 5 and the Akli Point Lighthouse as well as Lincoln Park and Myrtle Edwards Park. Shopping centers in the area include Lake City Shopping Center, Westwood Village Shopping Center and Oak Tree Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Seattle can choose from A-1 Motel, Arlington Suites and Marriott Sea-Tac Airport for temporary stays in the area.