Lifeguards, Ski Patrol, and other Recreational Protective Service Workers combine into a job family that we associate with the Strong Interest Inventory® Realistic theme. In this category, individuals view themselves as highly reliable. The second most dominant theme associated with the Lifeguard, Ski Patrol, and other Recreational Protective Service Workers is the Social theme, which explains their elevated concern for others. These careers create an environment that is highly reliant on individuals with a work style that focuses on adaptability and dependability. The Strong Interest Inventory® measures interests in various aspects of their personal and professional lives. Using this analysis, it matches individuals to careers which will be enjoyable for them. Careers in the Realistic Theme Code Category generally involve working with tools, or using one’s hands to accomplish a specific goal. People with a proclivity for Realistic Theme careers prefer concrete tasks or initiatives.
Recreational Protective Service Workers include Life Guards, Ski Patrol, Pool Attendants, and others who help people enjoy recreational establishments safely. They provide a wide range of services, including patrolling or monitoring the areas on foot, in motor vehicles, or from towers. They sometimes lead instructional classes that teach participants how to ski, swim, or do other activities. On a day-to-day basis, Life Guards, Ski Patrol, and others may inspect equipment or facilities, monitor weather conditions, and otherwise ensure that their facility is safe, clean, and fully functional for the entertainment of their patrons. For instance, if there is lightning near a pool, Lifeguards escort swimmers to a sheltered area away from water. If the issue is a facility malfunction, they will need to report the issue in a timely and clear manner, and also ensure that patrons avoid the affected area.
Life Guards and Ski Patrollers are the first point of contact for those who need help. If an individual is injured or in danger, the Life Guard or Ski Patrol quickly assess the situation, removes the victim from immediate danger, provides emergency medical services such as CPR, and contacts medical professionals. Their quick actions save lives in emergency situations. In order to be successful in such high-stress contexts where timing is essential, they need to be able to make and execute decisions quickly and precisely. They also should be physically fit, and have acute vision to spot issues as soon as possible.
Expertise in using a wide range of different tools is also beneficial. For instance, those who patrol large tracts of land may need to be able to drive ATVs or other four-wheel drive vehicles, as well as use GPS systems, compasses, and other orienteering equipment. Those who work with pools may need to be familiar with life rings, goggles and fins, pool vacuums, reach poles, or PH indicators. Those who work on ski slopes, may utilize ice picks, safety harnesses, or snowmobiles. Most importantly, all workers must be comfortable using first-aid equipment, including air splints, handheld thermometers, and rescue stretchers or toboggans, as well as communications devices like two-way radios and walkie-talkies. In case of an emergency, this expertise can save lives.
People interested in Recreational Service careers like Life Guarding or Ski Patrol benefit from a strong attention to detail, active listening, and monitoring skills. They must keep their wits about them when others’ well-being is on the line and make quick judgments to save lives in high-stress situations. Being able to communicate quickly, fluently, and confidently is very important.
Most Recreational Service Worker’s, Ski Patrol Workers and Life Guard salaries are approximately $30,000, as a national average. However, in states with higher costs of living, such as California and New York, Recreational Service Workers, Ski Patrol Workers and Life Guards salaries can be up to $45,000 annually, though at the lower end, their salaries can be closer to $20,000. Their salaries may also be higher in states that depend on tourism. For instance, the best paid Recreational Service Workers salaries in Hawaii are over $50,000 annually. Their rates of employment are also rising nation-wide, often up to 8%. In Maryland, Utah, and Texas, rates are over 20%.
Below are some employment trends for Ski Patrol Workers, Life Guards and Recreational Service Workers:
- Median Salary: $9.18/hour; $19,100 annually
- Employment: 141,000 employees
- Projected growth (2014-2024): Average (5% to 8%)
- Projected job openings (2012-2022): 29,400
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- Bureau of Labor Statistics wage data and 2012-2022 employment projections Onetonline.org