Alternative titles for this job include Swimming pool attendant, recreation assistant, beach lifeguard

Lifeguards look after swimming areas, help swimmers to stay safe and carry out rescues in emergencies.

Average salary (a year)

£15,000 Starter


£22,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

35 to 40 variable

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays on a rota

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become 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.

As well as learning how to perform the duties of a lifeguard, on this apprenticeship you will also learn more about the duties of a:

  • swimming teacher
  • gym instructor
  • group activities coach

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

You can also apply to train and 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 and gaining experience through volunteering, from:

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • customer service skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • physical skills like movement, coordination, dexterity and grace
  • knowledge of medicine and dentistry
  • concentration skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • knowledge of public safety and security
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and Requirements

You'll need to:

To take a pool lifeguard qualification you'll need to be able to:

  • jump or dive into deep water
  • swim 50 metres in less than 60 seconds
  • swim 100 metres continuously on front and back in deep water
  • tread water for 30 seconds
  • surface dive to the floor of the pool
  • climb out of the pool unaided without using ladders or steps

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 need to be able to:

  • complete a 400m pool swim in less than eight minutes
  • make a surface dive to a depth of 1.5 metres
  • tread water for two minutes
  • climb out of deep water unaided

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

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

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

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

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

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Leisure Team Member Apprentice

  • Wage: £13,416 a year Annually
  • Location: , ,

Leisure Team Member Apprentice

  • Wage: £15,579 a year Annually
  • Location: , ,

Courses In England

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