DEM Announces That State Lifeguard Certification Testing Begins This Weekend

Published on Tuesday, May 14, 2024

PROVIDENCE, RI – The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is announcing that state lifeguard certification testing begins this weekend. Individuals interested in working as a lifeguard in the State of Rhode Island must become certified by DEM’s Division of Parks and Recreation as either a Surf or Non-Surf lifeguard to work at a waterfront facility. Surf state lifeguard certification testing begins at Scarborough North State Beach, Narragansett on Saturday, May 18 from 9 AM – 3 PM. Non-Surf state lifeguard certification testing beings on May 21 at Lincoln Woods State Park Beach from 12 – 5 PM.

Full-time lifeguard positions are available at all state swimming areas, including surf beaches such as Roger Wheeler and Misquamicut, non-surf beaches such as Goddard Memorial State Park, and freshwater beaches such as Burlingame Campground and Lincoln Woods State Park. Lifeguard pay ranges from $17.75 to $19 an hour based on location, experience, and position level. All lifeguard candidates must receive state certification and hold valid cards in lifeguard training, first aid, and CPR, including infant, child, and adult. Lifeguards hired by June 28, 2024, can receive a one-time, $500 sign-on bonus. Lifeguard staff who remain in good standing throughout their employment, have not taken more than five unapproved days off over the summer, and stay employed until Sept. 2, 2024, will be eligible for a one-time, $500 retention bonus. DEM lifeguards oversee the safety and rescue of swimmers while spending time outdoors in the sunshine and fresh air at some of the Ocean State’s most beautiful places. For a full list of state lifeguard certification testing dates and more information about becoming a DEM lifeguard, please visit:

“Rhode Island’s state beaches and parks provide some of the best outdoor experiences in the state, including many great swimming spots,” said DEM Director Terry Gray. “One of our top goals at DEM is promoting outdoor recreation for all Rhode Islanders and providing visitors with excellent experiences at our amazing network of parks, beaches, and campgrounds. We need a great team — and finding and hiring qualified, enthusiastic workers is essential to delivering on this promise. Working outside, building lifelong friendships with workmates, and serving their community are also the big benefits of spending the summer working at our beaches, parks, and campgrounds.”

DEM strongly recommends that all lifeguard candidates pre-register for a timeslot. Walk-in registrations will be accepted up to one hour prior to the last time slot, but candidates will be required to wait until an opening is available and are not guaranteed a timeslot on that testing day. Candidates must also bring a photo ID, documentation of lifeguard training, CPR, and First Aid certificate, a completed Lifeguard Certification Form, and if applicable, candidates must also bring their signed proof of endurance swim form. Candidates under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian who must sign the Lifeguard Certification Form for the minor applying to take the state lifeguard certification test. If they are unable to attend the test, the parent or legal guardian can sign the form in advance if the signature is notarized. Upon successful completion of the test, there is a $10 fee for the State Lifeguard Certification Card – cash, check, or credit cards are currently accepted. 

DEM has currently hired 65 lifeguards to staff state beaches, parks, and campgrounds as the summer workforce recruitment momentum continues. DEM is continuing to recruit to fill a wide range of seasonal jobs for critical summertime positions like lifeguards, park rangers, visitor services assistants, natural resource operations assistants, and other key staff to work at state beaches, parks, and campgrounds during the busy outdoor recreation season. With only 52 full-time employees managing 22 major parks, eight surf beaches, and dozens of other properties, DEM’s Division of Parks and Recreation relies hugely on seasonal employees. Being active outside, building lifelong friendships with workmates, and serving our communities are some of the big benefits of spending the summer working with Rhode Island DEM. Hundreds of talented seasonal employees work hard each summer alongside our full-time staff to make it possible for millions of people to enjoy Rhode Island's beautiful natural places.

Although slightly down from historically high levels over the past few years, the current number of national job openings remains high at 8.9 million, according to the United States Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Related, DEM and other employers are also contending with long-term labor force data revealing that the share of teens participating in the workforce peaked 40 years ago and has declined ever since. Today, just over one-third, or 36%, of teens between 16 and 19 are part of the workforce. BLS data suggests that year-round schooling and summer classes are a significant cause, with the percentage of 16- to 19-year-olds enrolled in summer school tripling in the last 20 years. DEM participates in employment fairs at local colleges and high schools to recruit for seasonal summertime positions.

For more information on DEM programs and initiatives, visit Follow DEM on Facebook, Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM), or Instagram (@rhodeisland.dem) for timely updates.