Job type


£13k - £29k

Typical salary

18 – 43

Hours per week

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

More info

  • Keep people safe when swimming in swimming pools or at beaches
  • You'll need excellent swimming ability plus the ability to stay calm in an emergency
  • Part time and seasonal work opportunities are often available

As a lifeguard, you'll specialise as either a pool or beach lifeguard.


  • Making sure swimmers follow safety rules
  • Ensuring people stay in safe areas
  • Rescuing swimmers in danger
  • Giving first aid

If you're a pool lifeguard, you'll:

  • Advise swimmers on how to use diving boards and slides
  • Check pool water temperature and chemicals
  • Clean the pool area
  • Set up equipment

As a beach lifeguard, you'll:

  • Provide a point of contact for people on the beach
  • Monitor sea conditions and set up appropriate safety flags
  • Make sure people stay in safe areas


You could work at a fitness centre. Your working environment may be humid and outdoors some of the time.

You'll need

As a lifeguard, you'll need customer service skills, sensitivity and understanding, the ability to work well with others, patience in stressful situations, thinking and reasoning skills, thoroughness and attention to detail, to enjoy working with others, and excellent verbal communication skills.

To work as a pool lifeguard, you'll need either a National Pool Lifeguard Qualification or a Level 2 Award for Pool Lifeguard. To be a beach lifeguard, you'll need to complete the National Vocational Beach Lifeguard Qualification (NVBLQ). These can be completed by joining a local club as a volunteer and training with them, or training with a professional body. Once qualified, you can then also apply to work with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

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

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.

You'll need to pass enhanced background checks to work with children and vulnerable adults.

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, and 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. You'll have to meet 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, and climbing out of deep water unaided.


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.