What Do Crossing Guards Do?
Crossing Guards play an important safety role of controlling traffic on streets, at schools, construction sites and rail crossings. Crossing guards often work at times of peak traffic, such as drop-off and pick-up times at schools. While not a highly technical job, crossing guards need a variety of skills to do the job well. Demand for crossing guards increases 4 percent each year, amounting to nearly 1,400 openings to be filled in the United States each year. The vast majority of those jobs are in local government and at schools.
Crossing Guards Skills and Abilities
An ideal person for this position is a good communicator, sharp-eyed, perceptive and interested in helping others. Being able to read and understand others’ reactions is beneficial for promoting safety. As a crossing guard, you should have knowledge local traffic laws and regulations. Other beneficial attributes for this position include:
- Problem-solving ability
- Good vision
- Good hearing
- Decision-making ability
- Ability to multi-task
- Assertive personality
Crossing Guards Duties
The primary duty of this position is to either escort or direct pedestrians, often school children, across the street safely when there are gaps in traffic. As a crossing guard, you are always the first person into the street, and then you remain there until all pedestrians are safely across. While doing this job, you will also be responsible for stopping traffic when necessary, reporting unsafe behavior of pedestrians and recording and reporting infractions on the part of drivers – though it is not the job of a crossing guard to enforce traffic laws. In many jurisdictions, motorists can face tickets and fines for failing to obey a crossing guard. Other crossing guard duties include:
- Directing and controlling traffic, when properly trained and authorized
- Using signs, hand signals or flags to warn drivers of traffic hazards
- Informing both kids and adults of traffic rules
- Guiding vehicles at rail crossings and construction sites
- Informing drivers of detours
- Acting as role models to help children learn the skills needed for safely crossing the street, even in the absence of a crossing guard
Crossing Guards Tools and Technology
Crossing guards rely on a variety of tools to do their job. One of the main tools typically is a sign or flag used to control, direct or stop traffic. Other tools you may use in this position include whistles, reflective clothing and two-way radios. As far as technology goes, crossing guards may be expected to use:
- Digital camcorders
- Laser printers
- Scheduling software
- Word processing software
- Human resources software
Education and Training for Crossing Guards
Most crossing guards have a high school diploma or the equivalent. The skills required for the position are acquired on the job once you begin. No prior training is necessary. However, having knowledge of local traffic laws, as well as the extent of your authority for enforcing them, will be helpful.
Crossing Guards Salary
Even among the lowest-paid 10 percent, crossing guards make more than the federal minimum wage at $8.42 an hour. The top-paid 10 percent earn more than $18.50 an hour, while the median wage is $11.90 per hour. At a median wage of $8.71 per hour, crossing guards in Arkansas are among the lowest paid in the United States. A median hourly wage of $21 makes crossing guards in Washington the highest paid in the country.
Crossing Guards Jobs by Geography
Demand for crossing guards to fill new or vacated positions is highest in Washington, Wyoming and Kentucky. However, the need for crossing guards in general is in decline in several states, including Michigan, Illinois and New Jersey. Even in these states, though, individual cities and town may still require crossing guards.