Need a summer side hustle? Try lifeguarding

May 25, 2023, 12:00 PM | Updated: May 26, 2023, 10:46 am

Consider lifeguarding for your summer side hustle. Lifeguard shortages are still a thing this year, but it's not as dire in Utah as it is elsewhere. (SL County Parks and Recreation)

(SL County Parks and Recreation)

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah — Last year at this time, about a third of the 309,000 public swimming pools in the country could not find enough lifeguards to open for regular hours. Salt Lake County suffered along with the rest of the country, facing the option of closing pools or limiting hours because of a shortage of lifeguards. So if you need a summer side hustle, this could be it. 


Is it as bad this year?

B.J. Fisher, director of Health and Safety for the American Lifeguard Association, said it will be as bad or worse this year.

The news is not as grim in Utah.

Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation has openings this summer, but they are in a much better position than last year.

“We are not experiencing a large shortage this year,” said Callista Pearson, communications manager for Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation. “We have 1,200 lifeguards for the summer season. Right now we are only short 160 lifeguards across 19 different pools in the county.”

Lifeguarding as a summer side hustle?

In Salt Lake County, “we have everything from 15-year-old lifeguards to much older, non-traditional lifeguarding staff,” Pearson explained.

Pool managers are promoting these positions to stay-at-home moms and retired individuals who have time and want to make some extra money.

“Unless we start looking differently at lifeguarding, not as young teenagers who don’t have to pay rent or buy food, but as a career, we will have a shortage,” Fisher said.


In Salt Lake County, there are four job requirements for lifeguards.

  1. They need to be at least 15 years old.
  2. They need to be able to swim 100 yards.
  3. They need to be able to pick up a 10-pound brick from the bottom of the pool.
  4. They need to be able to tread water for 30 seconds.

How’s the pay?

You may be surprised.

“We pay between $14 and $18 an hour,” Pearson said. “We also pay them for the training. Our swim instructors get between $16 and $19 an hour.”

If lifeguarding isn’t your thing, Salt Lake County is also looking for park caretakers, referees for various spots from rugby to soccer, swim instructors and camp support staff.

For more information on the county’s opportunities for a summer side hustle, stop by your local recreation center or go to its website.

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Need a summer side hustle? Try lifeguarding