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St. Louis County bumps up lifeguard salaries to $15 an hour

The County will also pay for training and certification.

ST. LOUIS — Among a nationwide lifeguard shortage, St. Louis County is now hiring lifeguards for $15 an hour. It will also pay for training and certification.

The County will also give a $200 incentive to lifeguards who work 30 or more hours between July 1 and August 21, and a $50 incentive to lifeguards who work one shift a day the last two weekends of pool season.  

Starting Saturday, all four St. Louis County Parks and Recreation pools will be open. 

North County Recreation Complex’s Manager, Adam Bliley, said it’s taking the national lifeguard shortage head on. 

RELATED: All 4 St. Louis County pools to open this weekend

“It was slow going, in the beginning, to try to find enough lifeguards and be able to recruit them but we really ramped up our efforts. We hit the schools, we hit swim teams around the area, and we offered to pay for their training because all of our guards are trained before they ever hit the stands,” Bliley said. “Beyond that, the County council was able to pass an increase in pay raise to make it a little more enticing for them to be able to come work for us.”  

Bliley said some of the St. Louis County pools are filled with lifeguards, but others are still itching to hire. He said lifeguarding is a challenging but important job. 

“Lifeguarding is a difficult job. It’s hot, it’s not easy, and you’re responsible for protecting other people’s lives. It’s something where we look to find the best people we can find.”  

North County Pool Manager Raniesha Casson says all people need to do once they apply and pass training is go through a background check, drug test, and of course, prove they know how to swim. As a longtime lifeguard herself, she says it’s a job well worth it. 

“I think it’s more for the thrill of saving lives,” Casson said. “I remember my first save, and I was scared but I did it without hesitating. I was like okay, I got it. So if I can do it, anyone can.”  

People who are interested can still apply. 

“This is a family at the end of the day, not just a job,” she said. 

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