It may say February on the calendar, but East Valley communities are starting to hire for summer - and some year-round - aquatics jobs.
Lifeguards, swim team coaches and swim lesson instructors are all needed - and they're very sought-after positions.
With pools open year-round in Chandler, when students take aquatics jobs they often stay through high school and even college.
Eventually, they seek employment elsewhere.
That's happening en masse this year, opening the doors for possibly 150 new lifeguards in the city, said Sheri Passey, aquatics superintendent for Chandler.
"We started recruitment back in October," Passey said. About 75 to 80 kids have resigned their positions this year for other opportunities. "It's a rebuilding year for us."
The city will also be hiring about 50 water safety instructors, she said. Last year, more than 200 applications were submitted.
Chandler, along with Mesa and Gilbert, is offering required lifeguard training classes and water safety instructor classes this month and next. Lifeguards need the Red Cross lifeguard certification, but anyone who wants to be a water safety instructor (which pays more) needs both.
Besides the certification, "Really, they need to have a love for teaching and really like to engage with people," Passey said.
All are temporary, part-time positions in Chandler (and most East Valley cities). Chandler's aquatics workers are year-round, with employees working up to 40 hours a week during the summer. Those hours are cut back the rest of the year.
Once someone signs up for a class, it's time to fill out an online application for the job, Passey said. The city will conduct testing on March 24.
Gilbert's aquatics jobs will go online Feb. 17, said aquatics director Sean Carlin. Public pools in Gilbert open the weekend of Memorial Day. Every year, the city needs about 20 to 30 new seasonal staff members, he said.
Positions include pool managers and assistant managers, as well as lifeguards and coaches. Last year, 1,400 children participated in summer swim teams - the largest figure ever, Carlin said. More than 7,500 children took swimming lessons.
Mesa also allows job candidates to apply online prior to completing training courses, but they must list when they are taking the classes.
Carlin pointed out that classes can be taken anywhere, not just the city where a job candidate hopes to work.
"I just recommend folks apply in any city once they take classes," he said.
Pay ranges between about $9 and $17 an hour, depending on the job and the city, with pool managers at the higher end of the scale.
Check city websites for information.
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