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Local lifeguard shortage has the City of Huntsville looking to hire

While many pools do not have a lifeguard, many others require one. Huntsville is currently facing a lifeguard shortage.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Summer continues, and so, too, does a nationwide lifeguard shortage that is still being felt in the Tennessee Valley.

While many of those pools do not have a lifeguard, many others require one. Here in Huntsville we currently face a lifeguard shortage. 

"We have had an ongoing shortage of lifeguards and it just didn't impact us this weekend, obviously. Some of the outdoor pools, but for us, it's an ongoing issue we've been dealing with for about two years, actually," said City of Huntsville's Parks & Recreation Director, James Gossett. 

The city has been able to make it work for the most part but with this shortage comes the possibility of having to close a pool down for a day or two because there is simply not enough staff.

"Honestly, for us to be able to use the pools in a safe and effective manner, we have to have minimum numbers of lifeguards. You know, we would love not to have to close pools and keep the public out of certain pools just because we don't have enough staff. We've done that pretty well so far. But we do occasionally reach a time where we have to shut a pool down because we just don't have enough staff," said Gossett. 

There are some requirements you have to meet but if you're interested in getting the job, those requirements are absolutely feasible. 

"One of the basic requirements is the lifeguarding class from Red Cross, and that's the first thing we look at that when we do a skills test. And if they give them a skills test, then we can employ them at that point," said Gossett. 

Pay starts at around $12.20 per hour with the opportunity to grow, making this the perfect summer job for your teen, with a minimum starting age of 16.

"First off, you get to interact with the public and you get to provide a safe atmosphere for the public to swim in. You know, most people, when they come to a pool, it's usually a happy situation. Typically, they don't come down here, you know, angry about things, looking forward to swimming and lap swimming and those kind of fun things. And so you get to interact with people on that level which is very positive," said Gossett. 

For more information and to apply for a lifeguard position, click here.

This is specialized recreation work in monitoring swimming activities and enforcing water safety rules and regulations at a public pool. Work involves responsibility for observing swimmers, leading swimming activities, and enforcing water safety rules and regulations in accordance with standard practices. Work also involves instructing patrons and performing routine cleaning and maintenance duties. Work is performed under immediate supervision and is reviewed by a supervisor through discussions and observations.  Monitors swimming activities and enforces water safety rules and regulations; observes swimmers; rescues swimmers in distress; administers first aid; teaches water exercise classes; assists in setting up and preparing for swim meets and events.  Answers inquiries and provides information pertaining to the pool, its facilities, schedules, and fees.  Assists in pool cleaning and maintenance; checks and adjusts chemical balance of pool water; keeps the pool deck and adjoining areas clean and free of potential hazards.  Performs routine janitorial duties to include, but not limited to, cleaning mirrors, windows, blinds, counters, furniture, sweeping, mopping, dusting, emptying trash, picking up litter, replenishing paper products, cleaning restrooms/shower areas, etc.  Requires regular and prompt attendance plus the ability to work well with others and work well as a team.  Assists in maintaining life-saving equipment; answers the telephone; operates the cash register and receives fees; keeps attendance records.  Performs related work as required.


Work requires frequent physical effort such as sitting, walking, standing, climbing, swimming, and lifting and carrying light to heavy objects. Work also requires physical dexterity in the frequent use of hand-to-eye coordination and manipulative skills using fingers, limbs, and body in swimming and operating pool equipment. Work is performed at a public aquatic facility. Work exposes employee to potential chemical hazards and physical hazards.


High school diploma from a school accredited by a regional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or GED certificate issued by the appropriate state agency; or any combination of education, training and experience that demonstrates the following listed knowledge, skills, and abilities: Knowledge of the methods, principles and techniques involved in lifesaving, first aid and water safety.  Ability to swim proficiently and effectively perform lifesaving duties.  Ability to communicate clearly and effectively, both orally and in writing.  Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with superiors, other employees, patrons who use the pool, and the general public.  


Lifeguarding/First Aid/CPR/AED Certificate

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