How to become a lifeguard

You can get into this job through:

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

Apprenticeship

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

Work

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?

Search for training courses near you.

Jobs In the United Kingdom

The Find a job service can help you with your search for jobs and send alerts when new jobs become available.

Skills assessment

Take an assessment to learn more about your skills and the careers that might suit you.

Get help using this service

Call 0800 100 900 or use webchat

8am to 10pm, 7 days a week

More ways to contact us

Is this page useful?

Yes No

Thank you for your feedback.

Thank you for your feedback. Click here if you'd like to let us know how we can improve the service.