Rhode Island DEM Announces Lifeguard Certification Testing Begins This Weekend

The Rhode Island DEM has announced that lifeguard certification testing will commence this weekend. This initiative is critical for those seeking lifeguard positions at various state waterfront facilities. The certification, provided by DEM’s Division of Parks and Recreation, is divided into Surf and Non-Surf categories.

Testing for Surf state lifeguard certification will begin on Saturday, May 18, at Scarborough North State Beach in Narragansett from 9 AM to 3 PM. Non-Surf state lifeguard certification will follow on May 21 at Lincoln Woods State Park Beach from 12 PM to 5 PM.

Full-time lifeguard roles are available across numerous state swimming areas, including surf beaches like Roger Wheeler and Misquamicut, non-surf beaches such as Goddard Memorial State Park, and freshwater locations like Burlingame Campground and Lincoln Woods State Park. Lifeguard salaries range from $17.75 to $19 per hour, varying by location, experience, and position level.

Candidates must be certified by the state and possess valid lifeguard training, first aid, and CPR certifications, covering infant, child, and adult protocols. Lifeguards hired by June 28, 2024, will receive a one-time $500 sign-on bonus. Additionally, those who maintain good standing, with no more than five unapproved absences, and stay employed until September 2, 2024, will be eligible for a $500 retention bonus.

DEM Director Terry Gray emphasized the value of Rhode Island’s beaches and parks for outdoor recreation and the essential role of a dedicated team in ensuring visitors have excellent experiences. “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,” Gray stated.

Candidates are encouraged to pre-register for a testing timeslot, though walk-ins will be accepted up to one hour before the last slot. Walk-in candidates may have to wait for an available slot and are not guaranteed testing on that day. Candidates must bring a photo ID, proof of lifeguard training, CPR, and first aid certification, a completed Lifeguard Certification Form, and, if applicable, proof of endurance swim. Minors must have a parent or guardian present to sign the certification form, or the form must be pre-signed and notarized.

Upon passing the certification test, there is a $10 fee for the State Lifeguard Certification Card, payable by cash, check, or credit card.

DEM has already recruited 65 lifeguards for the summer season but continues to seek additional staff for a variety of roles, including park rangers, visitor services assistants, and natural resource operations assistants. These seasonal employees are vital to the DEM, which manages a wide array of parks, beaches, and other properties with a small full-time staff.

Despite a decline in teen workforce participation over the past 40 years, DEM is actively recruiting through employment fairs at local colleges and high schools to fill these essential summer positions.

For a complete list of lifeguard certification testing dates and more information about becoming a DEM lifeguard, visit




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