Lifeguard instructor

A lifeguard instructor


Lifeguard instructors teach future (professional) lifeguards the necessary programmes and methods needed to become a licensed lifeguard. They provide training on safety supervision of all swimmers, assessment of potentially hazardous situations, rescue-specific swimming and diving techniques, first aid treatment for swimming-related injuries, and they inform students on preventative lifeguard responsibilities. They ensure students are aware of the importance of checking safe water quality, heeding risk management and being aware of the necessary protocols and regulations regarding lifeguarding and rescuing. They monitor the students’ progress, evaluate them through theoretical and practical tests and award the lifeguard licenses when obtained.

Lifeguard instructors typically do the following duties:

  • Develop and deliver lifeguard training courses, including both classroom instruction and hands-on training
  • Evaluate the skills and abilities of potential lifeguards and provide feedback and guidance for improvement
  • Ensure that all lifeguards are knowledgeable and trained in emergency response procedures
  • Develop and implement policies and procedures for lifeguarding at the facility
  • Monitor and evaluate the performance of lifeguards on an ongoing basis to ensure that they are maintaining a safe environment
  • Coordinate with other staff members to ensure that lifeguarding equipment and facilities are in good condition
  • Maintain accurate records of lifeguard certifications and training programs
  • Provide exceptional customer service to guests and visitors at the facility
  • Assist with pool operations and other duties as assigned by the facility

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to lifeguard instructor:

lifeguard training instructor
pool lifeguard instructor
pool lifeguard trainer
lifeguard training practitioner
lifeguard trainer
instructor of professional lifeguards
instructor of lifeguards

Working conditions

Lifeguard instructors work both indoors and outdoors, in a variety of weather conditions. They may spend a significant amount of time standing or walking, and may need to demonstrate lifeguarding techniques in the water. Work schedules can vary widely depending on the facility and season, with many instructors working evenings and weekends.

Minimum qualifications

To become a lifeguard instructor, a high school diploma or equivalent is typically required, although some facilities may require a college degree in a related field. Certification by a recognized lifeguarding organization, such as the Red Cross or the Royal Life Saving Society, is also typically required. Instructors must have excellent lifeguarding skills and experience responding to a variety of emergencies. Strong communication and interpersonal skills are necessary to effectively teach and interact with students. Many facilities offer on-the-job training and may require additional certifications in first aid and CPR.

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.

Lifeguard instructor is a Skill level 3 occupation.

Lifeguard instructor career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to lifeguard instructor.

first aid instructor
vessel steering instructor
outdoor activities instructor
flight instructor
sports coach

Long term prospects

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

police trainer
adult literacy teacher
prison instructor
early years teacher
further education teacher

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of lifeguard instructor.

  • Health, safety and hygiene legislation: The set of health, safety and hygiene standards and items of legislation applicable in a specific sector.
  • Assessment processes: Various evaluation techniques, theories, and tools applicable in the assessment of students, participants in a programme, and employees. Different assessment strategies such as initial, formative, summative and self- assessment are used for varying purposes.
  • Law enforcement: The different organisations involved in law enforcement, as well as the laws and regulations in law enforcement procedures.
  • Curriculum objectives: The goals identified in curricula and defined learning outcomes.
  • First aid: The emergency treatment given to a sick or injured person in the case of circulatory and/or respiratory failure, unconsciousness, wounds, bleeding, shock or poisoning.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of lifeguard instructor.

  • Guarantee students’ safety: Ensure all students falling under an instructor or other person’s supervision are safe and accounted for. Follow safety precautions in the learning situation.
  • Observe student’s progress: Follow up on students’ learning progress and assess their achievements and needs.
  • 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.
  • Adapt teaching to student’s capabilities: Identify the learning struggles and successes of students. Select teaching and learning strategies that support students’ individual learning needs and goals.
  • Apply teaching strategies: Employ various approaches, learning styles, and channels to instruct students, such as communicating content in terms they can understand, organising talking points for clarity, and repeating arguments when necessary. Use a wide range of teaching devices and methodologies appropriate to the class content, the learners’ level, goals, and priorities.
  • Educate on emergency management: Educate communities, organisations, or individuals on risk management and emergency response, such as how to develop and implement prevention and reaction strategies, and educate on emergency policies specific to the risks applicable to that area or organisation.
  • Assess students: Evaluate the students’ (academic) progress, achievements, course knowledge and skills through assignments, tests, and examinations. Diagnose their needs and track their progress, strengths, and weaknesses. Formulate a summative statement of the goals the student achieved.
  • Teach law enforcement principles: Instruct students in the theory and practice of law enforcement, more specifically in courses such as crime prevention, crash investigation, and firearms training, with the aim of assisting them in pursuing a future career in this field.
  • Provide advice on breaches of regulation: Advise on preventive and corrective actions; correct any breaches of or non-compliance with legal regulations.
  • Demonstrate when teaching: Present to others examples of your experience, skills, and competences that are appropriate to specific learning content to help students in their learning.
  • Provide advice on safety: Educate people on safety measures for a certain activity or location.
  • Give constructive feedback: Provide founded feedback through both criticism and praise in a respectful, clear, and consistent manner. Highlight achievements as well as mistakes and set up methods of formative assessment to evaluate work.
  • Test safety strategies: Test policies and strategies related to risk and safety management and procedures, such as testing evacuation plans, safety equipment, and carrying out drills.
  • Provide lesson materials: Ensure that the necessary materials for teaching a class, such as visual aids, are prepared, up-to-date, and present in the instruction space.
  • Swim: Move through water by means of the limbs.
  • Encourage students to acknowledge their achievements: Stimulate students to appreciate their own achievements and actions to nurture confidence and educational growth.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of lifeguard instructor. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Legal use-of-force: The characteristics of the use-of-force, which is a legal doctrine employed by police and army forces, to regulate acts of violence during interventions. Use-of-force is ought to balance security needs with ethical concerns for the rights and well-being of intruders or suspects.
  • Security threats: Types of threats to public and private security such as unauthorised entry, aggressive behaviour, molestation, robbery, theft, assault, kidnapping, murder and public demonstration.
  • Adult education: Instruction targeted at adult students, both in a recreational and in an academic context, for self-improvement purposes, or to better equip the students for the labour market.
  • Fire safety regulations: The legal rules to be applied for fire safety and fire prevention in a facility.
  • Protective measures related to swimming pool chemicals: Type of equipment used to protect oneself to the exposure to swimming pool chemicals such as chemical goggles, impervious gloves and boots for any chemical handling activities.
  • Swimming pool chemicals: Types of disinfectants and sanitizers which control the growth of certain bacteria in the pool water.

Optional skills and competences

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

  • Operate radio equipment: Set up and operate radio devices and accessories, such as broadcast consoles, amplifiers, and microphones. Understand the basics of radio operator language and, when necessary, provide instruction in handling radio equipment correctly.
  • Restrain individuals: Restrain, or control by force, individuals who violate regulations in terms of acceptable behaviour, who present a threat to others, and who perform acts of violence, to ensure the individual is unable to proceed in this negative behaviour and to protect others.
  • Use personal protection equipment: Make use of protection equipment according to training, instruction and manuals. Inspect the equipment and use it consistently.
  • Provide first aid to animals: Administer emergency treatment to prevent deterioration of the condition, suffering and pain until veterinary assistance can be sought. Basic emergency treatment needs to be done by non-veterinarians prior to first-aid provided by a veterinarian. Non-veterinarians providing emergency treatment are expected to seek treatment by a veterinarian as soon as possible.
  • Control crowd: Control a crowd or riot, ensuring people do not cross to areas they are not allowed to access, monitoring the crowd’s behaviour and responding to suspicious and violent behaviour.
  • Assist pool users: Offer guidance to pool users within the facility and help them with any requirements such as towel provision or restroom direction.
  • Manage resources for educational purposes: Identify the necessary resources needed for learning purposes, such as materials in class or arranged transportation for a field trip. Apply for the corresponding budget and follow up on the orders.
  • Identify security threats: Identify security threats during investigations, inspections, or patrols, and perform the necessary actions to minimise or neutralise the threat.
  • Keep records of attendance: Keep track of the pupils who are absent by recording their names on a list of absentees.
  • Rescue bathers: Help swimmers or water sport participants out of the water when they get into difficulties at a beach or a swimming pool.
  • Manage emergency evacuation plans: Monitor quick and safe emergency evacuation plans.
  • Handle veterinary emergencies: Handle unforeseen incidents concerning animals and circumstances which call for urgent action in an appropriate professional manner.
  • Manage theft prevention: Apply theft and robbery prevention; monitor security surveillance equipment; enforce security procedures if needed.
  • Practice vigilance: Practice vigilance during patrol or other surveillance activities in order to ensure safety and security, to look out for suspicious behaviour or other alarming changes in patterns or activities, and to respond quickly to these changes.

ISCO group and title

3422 – Sports coaches, instructors and officials

  1. Lifeguard instructor – ESCO
  2. Job Descriptions | City of Scottsdale, AZ
  3. Lifeguard Trainee/ Lifeguard Instructor Trainer – Aquatic Jobs Network, LLC
  4. Featured image: By Airman Christopher Morales –, Public Domain
Last updated on April 23, 2023

What do you want to do with this job?

You will be brought to the forum page

Requires a business account

Requires a business account