How to become a lifeguard

You can get into this job through:

  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • training with professional bodies


You can complete a leisure team member intermediate apprenticeship to get into this role.

Entry requirements

To get onto an apprenticeship, you'll find it useful to have:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship

More Information


You may be able to work as a pool attendant or assistant, for example in a leisure centre, and take lifeguard qualifications on the job.

Other Routes

If you want to work as a pool lifeguard you'll need one of the following qualifications:

To be a beach lifeguard, you'll need to complete the National Vocational Beach Lifeguard Qualification (NVBLQ).

You can complete the qualifications by:

  • joining a local club as a volunteer and training with them
  • training with a professional body

Once you're qualified, you can also apply to work with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

More Information

Career tips

You may find it helpful to have a first aid qualification when applying for jobs.

Further information

You can find out more about training to be a pool or beach lifeguard from:

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • customer service skills
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • the ability to work well with others
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • to enjoy working with other people
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and Requirements

You'll need to:

To qualify as a pool lifeguard, you'll need to:

  • be able to swim 50 metres in less than one minute
  • be able to swim 100 metres on your front and back without stopping
  • surface dive to the deepest part of the pool

To qualify as a beach lifeguard you must have a good level of fitness and be able to swim in the sea to take the National Vocational Beach Lifeguard Qualification. You'll also be expected to meet more standards, such as:

  • completion of a 400m pool swim in less than eight minutes
  • making a surface dive to a depth of 1.5 metres
  • treading water for two minutes
  • climbing out of deep water unaided

You'll have to demonstrate these skills as part of an assessment.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

As a pool or beach lifeguard you'll supervise swimming areas and help people in trouble. For your main tasks you will:

  • make sure swimmers follow safety rules
  • make sure people stay in safe areas
  • rescue swimmers in danger
  • give first aid

As a pool lifeguard, you’ll also:

  • advise swimmers on how to use diving boards and slides
  • check pool water temperature and chemicals
  • clean the pool area and set up equipment

As a beach lifeguard you’ll also:

  • monitor sea conditions and set up safety flags
  • be a point of contact for people on the beach

Working environment

You could work at a fitness centre.

Your working environment may be humid and outdoors some of the time.

Career path and progression

You could become a leisure centre manager with the National Pool Management Qualification.

Some pool lifeguards get swimming teaching or coaching qualifications and give swimming lessons. You could also train and lead a team of lifeguards.

You could compete in lifeguarding competitions.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Leisure Team Member - Apprenticeship

  • Wage: £165.00 Weekly
  • Location: Brighton

Courses In England

Are you interested in becoming a lifeguard?

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