Crossing guard

A crossing guard


Crossing guards direct pedestrians in public places like streets nearby schools or railways to cross public roads and intersections by observing traffic and holding a stop sign towards the vehicles to allow the crossing of pedestrians in a safe and orderly manner.

The duties of a crossing guard include, but are not limited to:

  • Monitoring traffic to ensure that vehicles stop at crosswalks and that pedestrians obey traffic laws
  • Helping children across busy streets or standing at school bus stops to ensure that children arrive safely at their destination
  • Providing first aid to individuals who are injured or assisting them until emergency responders arrive
  • Directing traffic in the event of an accident or other road closure
  • Maintaining order in public areas where there is a heavy flow of pedestrian traffic, such as near schools and government buildings
  • Ensuring children are picked up from school on time by providing supervision during afternoon recess periods or walking children home if needed
  • Reporting hazards such as cracks in the sidewalk or street damage to city officials for repair
  • Determining safe routes for students to take to and from school, including identifying unsafe intersections or behavioral issues of other pedestrians or drivers

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to crossing guard:

school crossing guard
school crossing patrol officer

Working conditions

Crossing guards typically work outdoors, in all weather conditions, near busy streets. They typically work part-time hours, although the specific hours may vary depending on the school schedule and the needs of the community. Some crossing guards may work only a few hours a day, while others may work up to eight hours a day. Many crossing guards are required to work early morning and afternoon hours when children are going to and coming from school. Some may also work during lunchtime, recess, and special events. Crossing guards typically work on a regular schedule, although their hours may vary depending on the needs of the community.

Minimum qualifications

Most crossing guards are required to have at least a high school diploma or equivalent. Some crossing guards may have completed some college courses or have an associate’s degree.

Many countries require crossing guards to complete a training program before they begin working. These programs typically last between one and three days and teach guards how to safely direct traffic, how to respond to emergency situations and how to interact with children.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Crossing guard is a Skill level 2 occupation.

Crossing guard career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to crossing guard.

civil enforcement officer
street warden
baggage flow supervisor
armoured car driver
life guard

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of crossing guard. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of crossing guard with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

hand luggage inspector
road maintenance technician
court bailiff
aviation safety officer
immigration officer

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of crossing guard.

  • Traffic signs: The signals and road signs used in traffic, their meaning and what to do or not to do when you come across them.
  • Road traffic laws: Understand road traffic laws and the rules of the road.
  • Local geography: The range of physical and geographical properties and descriptions of a local area, by street names and not only.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of crossing guard.

  • Use signalling equipment: Utilise signalling equipment, like traffic signs or signalling lights, to regulate traffic or transport.
  • React calmly in stressful situations: React quickly, calmly, and safely to unexpected situations. Provide a solution that solves the problem or diminishes its impact.
  • Stay alert: Stay focused and alert at all times; react quickly in the case of unexpected events. Concentrate and do not get distracted performing a task over a long period of time.
  • Regulate traffic: Regulate the flow of traffic by using assigned hand signals, assisting travellers on the road, and aiding people to cross the street.
  • Escort pedestrians across streets: Help pedestrians who have difficulties crossing streets across the street, stopping traffic if necessary.
  • Interpret traffic signals: Observe lights on the road, road conditions, nearby traffic, and prescribed speed limits to ensure safety. Interpret traffic signals and act accordingly.
  • Monitor traffic flow: Monitor the traffic that passes by a certain point, like for instance a pedestrian crossing. Monitor the amount of vehicles, the speed at which they go by and the interval between the passing by of two successive cars.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of crossing guard. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Act as contact person during equipment incident: Act as the person to be contacted when an equipment incident occurs. Participate in the investigation by providing insights.
  • Provide first aid: Administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation or first aid in order to provide help to a sick or injured person until they receive more complete medical treatment.
  • Write signalling reports: Write accurate communications and reports about signalling operations and safety procedures. Perform record keeping and event recording.
  • Assist emergency services: Assist the police and emergency services where needed.
  • Record license plates of violators: Write down license numbers of vehicles of drivers who disregard traffic lights who violate traffic laws in any way. Report the infractions to the appropriate authorities.
  • Ensure public safety and security: Implement the relevant procedures, strategies and use the proper equipment to promote local or national security activities for the protection of data, people, institutions, and property.
  • Work in shifts: Work in rotating shifts, where the goal is to keep a service or production line running around the clock and each day of the week.
  • Manage major incidents: Take immediate action to respond to major incidents that affect the safety and security of individuals in private or public places such as road accidents.
  • Educate public on road safety: Develop and execute educational and promotional plans to educate the public on road safety in order to raise awareness and tackle issues such as the proper attitude to adopt as a pedestrian, cyclist or driver and the ability to identify hazards.
  • Handle conflicts: Mediate in conflicts and tense situations by acting between parties, such as service users, important others like families, and institutions, striving to effect an agreement, reconciliate, and resolve problems.
  • Report unsafe behaviour: Report unsafe behaviour of children to parents, supervisors or school officials, depending on the location or situation.
  • Stop speeding vehicles: Stop people who drive too fast or ignore traffic signs to make them aware of traffic laws.
  • Instruct public: Give instructions to the public during situations where they behave in a manner which is not compliant with laws and regulations, or to guide them during abnormal situations.
  • Tolerate stress: Maintain a temperate mental state and effective performance under pressure or adverse circumstances.
  • Inform drivers of detour routes: Give directions to drivers to use detour routes through construction sites or roads that are blocked due to emergency situations or events.
  • Deal with aggressive behaviour: Respond promptly to adverse behaviour in a professional manner by taking appropriate and legal action to prevent further aggressiveness, such as verbal warning, lawful removal from the premises or apprehension of the person involved. Report details of adverse behaviour in line with the organisation’s procedures.

ISCO group and title

5419 – Protective services workers not elsewhere classified

  1. Crossing guard – ESCO
  2. Crossing Guard Job Description: Salary, Duties, & More – Climb the Ladder
  3. Featured image: Photo by Mathias Reding
Last updated on November 19, 2022

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