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Job Description

Lifeguards monitor the safety of people when using the swimming pool or at the coast, they will intervene when needed and administer first aid if necessary.  They will make swimmers aware of any dangerous situations and will carry out a rescue procedure in an emergency.

Entry Requirements

You could get into this role by either taking an Apprenticeship or through a work based route


You could complete an intermediate Lifeguard apprenticeship 

You don't necessarily need any formal qualifications but you will need to be a strong swimmer

Work based route

You may be able to start as a pool attendant or assistant and take qualifications as you work

To be a pool lifeguard you'll need one of the following qualifications 

To be a beach lifeguard you'll need a different qualification. 

Further information

You will need to:

  • be aged 16 or older
  • have a background check which your employer will arrange for you

To qualify as a pool lifeguard you will 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.  You will also be expected to

  • Surface dive to a depth of 1.5 metres.
  • Tread water for two minutes.
  • Climb out of deep water unaided and without steps.
  • Be competent at swimming in the sea.

Click here to find out more about becoming a RNLI Lifeguard

Career Path and Progression

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

Some pool lifeguards gain swimming teaching or coaching qualifications and give swimming lessons.

You could compete in lifeguarding competitions.

You could lead a team of lifeguards and train them.

Related careers you may be interested in:

  • Leisure centre manager
  • Leisure centre assistant
  • Sport and exercise psychologist
  • Sports coach
  • Swimming teacher

Although this role doesn't require any formal qualifications, we highly recommend that you try to achieve at least a grade 4 (C) in English & Maths. Achieving this minimum grade in these subject will increase opportunities in the future and help with your career development and prospects.

If you don't achieve the minimum grades, you will be supported to continue to study English and Maths throughout your full-time education or an apprenticeship.

Required Skills

  • A very strong swimmer
  • A good level of fitness
  • Good concentration levels
  • Very observant
  • Able to keep calm in difficult situations
  • Able to act quickly in an emergency
  • Good communication skills
  • Confidence in your own abilities

Salary Range

£13,000 to £29,000

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