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Lifeguarding has been seen traditionally as a summer job for teenagers, but did you know Durham Parks and Recreation employs lifeguards year-round? Campus Hills Pool and Edison Johnson Aquatic Center are two of the City of Durham’s Indoor year-round facilities. Regardless of the season, the pool is always 84 degrees and open for the community with lifeguards always present in case of an emergency. Durham Parks and Recreation is continually recruiting, training, and hiring lifeguards to keep pools open and swimmers safe.

In our recruitment efforts, Durham Parks and Recreation is offering FREE American Red Cross Lifeguard Training classes through our Durham Aquatic School (DAS). These training classes, normally a $190 cost, are offered in the hope that class participants will take their hard-earned lifeguarding certification and work for Durham Parks and Recreation. Additionally, by providing the training at no cost, the City of Durham aims to remove the barrier for entry and make the class accessible to all, helping increase knowledge of water safety in the community. The pay rate for Lifeguards with the City of Durham starts at $17.99/hour and comes with opportunities for advancement and additional certifications in the Aquatics field. These classes are offered to high school students, 16 years of age and beyond. The open range of offering this opportunity beyond the traditional teenage employee is to expand to adults looking for part-time jobs for supplemental income or job reduced, flexible hours.

Following the American Red Cross training, those interested in becoming a lifeguard must pass prerequisites that include the following:

  1. Swim 300 yards (6 times down and back the pool length) continuously demonstrating breath control and rhythmic breathing. You may swim using the front crawl, breaststroke or a combination of both but swimming on the back or side is not allowed. Swim goggles may be used.
  2. Tread water for 2 minutes using only the legs. You should place your hands under your armpits.
  3. Complete a timed event within 1 minute, 40 seconds.
    • Starting in the water, swim 20 yards. Your face may be in or out of the water. Swim goggles are not allowed.
    • Surface dive, feet-first or head-first, to a depth of 7 to 10 feet to retrieve a 10-pound object.
    • Return to the surface and swim 20 yards on your back to return to the starting point with both hands holding the object while keeping your face at or near the surface so you are able to get a breath. You should not swim the distance under water. Exit the water without using a ladder or steps.

This required assessment will be offered prior the start of the Durham Aquatics School Lifeguard course. We will be offering three DAS Lifeguard Pre-course Swim Test, register open now at

DAS-Lifeguard Pre-course Swim Test

All Pre-course sessions are on Wednesday evenings from 7:00 p.m-8:00 p.m. at the Edison Johnson Aquatic Center (500 W. Murry Ave. Durham, NC 27704).

Those who complete the prerequisites will be register for move on to the Durham Aquatics School Lifeguarding course where they learn how to prevent, recognize and respond to aquatic emergencies as well as how to provide care for breathing and cardiac emergencies, injuries and sudden illnesses until emergency medical services personnel take over.

DAS-Blended Learning Lifeguard Course

Participants must complete the 7-hour online portion of the course prior to the first class. All courses are offered over 3 days that must be attended. You will have the opportunity to select the course you plan to attend after the pre-course swim test.

Friday-5:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.

Saturday-9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

Sunday-9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

  • September 10-Septmeber 12
    • Register Online
    • Location: Campus Hills Pool (2000 South Alston Ave. Durham, NC 27707)
  • October 8-October 10
  • November 5-November 7

Acceptance into this program is first come, first served, so register as soon as possible for any of the DAS Lifeguard Pre-course Swim Test options you are interested in attending.

For more information about Durham Aquatics School, or lifeguarding employment with the City of Durham, please contact Ashley Harris at Campus Hills Pool by phone at 919-560-4444 ext. 27262 or by email at



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Become a Certified Lifeguard…for Free!  was originally published on