Employment Opportunities

The aquatic programs at Penn State University offer a variety of employment and educational opportunities for University and high school students and experienced adults as well. All of our employment positions include both work-study and wage payroll opportunities.  Preference will be given to students with a work study award.

If you are interested in working as a lifeguard during the Summer of 2015, please email: Meredith Stille for more information!



Lifeguarding at Penn State aquatic facilities is a great way to maintain your water safety skills and certifications while also earning some extra money. 

Applicants must be currently certified in lifeguarding, first aid, CPR/AED for the Professional Rescuer, and Oxygen Administration. (We offer reduced cost training in Oxygen Administration for those needing this certification).

Acceptable lifeguarding certifications include only the following programs.  If you were certified by a different program (e.g. Beach Rescue, USLA, RLSA), you would have to first complete one of the following approved courses in order to be eligible to work.

      • American Red Cross Lifeguarding / First Aid / CPR/AED
      • YMCA Lifeguarding
      • StarGuard Lifeguarding
      • Ellis & Associates Lifeguarding Certification**

        ** Note: E&A "Licenses" may not be automatically transferable There may be a process to "release" your license or issue you a certification at an additional fee. You will need to speak with E&A or your employer/instructor if you have an E&A license rather than an E&A Certification.

Our expectations for all Penn State lifeguards are very high. Our lifeguards are highly trained and work to polish their skills and abilities throughout the course of their employment. Once hired, lifeguards undergo a pre-service training program before assuming lifeguarding responsibilities. Then all lifeguards participate in an ongoing program of in-service training, for a total of four hours of training per month. Completion of this training is a condition of employment. It is this commitment to excellence that separates Penn State lifeguards from others. Please review our Code of Conduct as well as our Lifeguard Evaluation to get a better understanding of lfieguard expectations.

If you think you have what it takes to become a Penn State lifeguard, please download and review our Lifeguarding Information Packet. You will then need to:

  • Complete the required background check process (see below)
  • Return the completed Information Sheet to Meredith Stille at the McCoy Natatorium
  • Sign up for and complete a Pre-Employment Knowledge and Skills Assessment
  • Complete Penn State's online application at http:\\psu.jobs.


Required Background Checks for Lifeguard Applicants

All applicants must complete a variety of background checks before we can offer you a position. Because lifeguards may be working around or with minors, Pennsylvania law requires that you obtain the following three clearances: 

  • Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Background Check (SP-164)

  • Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance Form (CY-113)

  • Federal (FBI) Fingerprint Criminal Background Check (Criminal History Report)

If you are interested in working during the Summer or Fall semesters, we strongly recommend that you begin working to obtain these clearances as soon as possible. It can take up to 4-6 weeks to process each clearance following your online submittal, so time is of the essence.  The fastest way to complete the clearances is to do so electronically. To process the clearances electronically, you will need to use a credit card.

The FBI Fingerprint Criminal Background Check requires you to visit an approved fingerprint testing location.  If you are under 18 years of age, you will need a parent/guardian to accompany you to the fingerprint location after you’ve first registered online. 

Once your clearances have been processed, you will receive via U.S. Mail a hard copy of your results.  (In some cases you may also receive an email with your clearance attached.)  It is important that you list you current mailing address so that the results get to you in a timely fashion.  If the results are sent to your permanent residence (e.g. parent’s home) someone will need to forward them to you at your school mailing address. Please keep in mind that we are not able to hire you until after all three clearances come in and after our Human Resources office reviews the results. We, therefore, recommend that you start the process as early as possible otherwise half the semester could go by before we can put you to work.

If we do offer you a position, we will be able to reimburse you for the costs of the clearances provided you submit receipts for each. If the results of these checks are such that we are not able to offer you a position, or if you do not print out receipts, we will not be able to reimburse you for the costs of the clearances.

For more information on how to obtain these clearances, please visit: http://www.universityethics.psu.edu/UniversityEthics/upload/Penn-State-Information-for-Completing-Publicly-Available-Background-Clearances_REVISED_3-25-2015.pdf

Pre-Employment Skills & Knowledge Test

Those applicants that meet our eligibility requirements will be invited to participate in a skills and knowledge evaluation (written exam) which includes lifeguarding and CPR/AED skills in addition to timed swimming events. This evaluation may take up to 3 hours to complete. We will then select our strongest applicants for individual interviews with our management team before a final selection is made.

Please come to the pre-employment test prepared with:

  • Original Lifeguarding / First Aid / CPR / AED certificate(s). Copies of certificates or letters from instructors are not acceptable. We must see the original certification / license.
    • If you completed a class but your certificates have not arrived, we will make every effort to work with you to see what options are available. However, we must maintain a copy of your certificate on file.
  • Proof of Eligibility to Work in the U.S. (Federal I-9 Form explained below)
  • Cancelled check or banking information - If offered a position you be asked to complete the Automatic Payroll Deposit Form for payroll purposes.
  • Bathing Suit
  • Towel
  • CPR Pocket Mask
  • Uniform deposit ($20 Cash/Check) - If offered a position, lifeguards will be required to contribute about 50% ($20) toward their Penn State lifeguard uniform. Each September thereafter, lifeguards will receive a $30 "Guard Cash" allowance to be applied to the purchase of additional uniform items.

To schedule a pre-employment skills test, please contact Meredith Stille Assistant Director of Aquatics.

Proof of Eligibility to Work in the U.S.

If offered a position, you will need to provide proof of your eligibility to work in the U.S. Various documents can be used to verify your eligibility to work in the U.S.  Most frequently, persons offered a postion will show an ORIGINAL

  • U.S. Passport (Current); or
  • BOTH a Driver's License AND Social Security Card.

Other documents are also acceptable.  For a list of other documents that the government will accept as proof of your eligibility to work in the U.S. please see the federal I-9 form which you will be asked to complete upon hire.

According to federal law, without ORIGINAL documents, employers are not allowed to hire you. Please come to school prepared with ORIGINAL documents. Photocopies or scanned images are not accepted.


Prepare for your skills test and written exam!


Many lifeguard applicants can perform the required swimming skills, but are very challenged with passing the knowledge components of the written exam. First Aid and CPR/AED seem to be areas where lifeguard applicants tend to be very weak. We strongly encourage you to review your lifeguarding and CPR textbooks in preparation for your written exam. This is even more important if you haven't looked at the books since the first time you took your lifeguarding class.

Below are free digital copies of the current American Red Cross lifeguarding participant manual as well as the NEW CPR/AED for the Professional Rescuer and Healthcare Provider course. The pre-hire exam is based upon the new ECC 2010 CPR Standards, in which there are a few significant differences from the old ECC 2005 Standards. Please review all materials carefully to maximize your test score.

Link to the NEW American Red Cross Lifeguarding participant manual:


Link to the NEW American Red Cross CPR Professional Rescuers and Health Care Providers workbook:




If you have questions about working as a Penn State lifeguard, please contact Meredith Stille, Assistant Aquatics Director.