lifeguard short

The city of Austin is offering lifeguard bonuses this year. Pam LeBlanc photo

Austin pools need lifeguards – and the city just added a carrot in the form of up to $1,250 in lifeguard bonuses for those who work the stand this summer.

Applicants get an initial bonus of $500 to be paid mid-season. If they stay on through the entire summer, they get an additional $500. Employees with advanced certifications in open water lifesaving, swim instruction, or lifeguard instruction qualify for $250 more.

Applicants must attend a formal lifeguard training program. For more information about requirements, go here.

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The lifeguard shortage is so bad this year that Barton Springs is closed during the day on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. (The pool remains open for unguarded swimming from 5-9 a.m. daily. Check the schedule here.)

Lifeguards aren’t the only ones who can get bonuses. Summer camp staff can earn up to $750 in incentives. Qualification criteria varies by position.

Lifeguarding jobs were highly coveted when I was a teen-ager. I got certified as a lifeguard when I was in high school.

Pay starts at $15 per hour for entry level positions and increases with experience. Staff get paid sick leave, a free bus pass, and flexible scheduling, according to a press release from the City of Austin.

Austin Parks and Recreation is hiring hundreds of candidates from diverse origins, orientations, identities, and abilities.

Find details about lifeguard bonuses and information about how to apply at

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