What is it like to be a swim instructor?

Female Swim Instructor In Water Giving Group Of Children Swimming Lesson In Indoor Pool

What is it like to be a swim instructor?

Do you like to spend hours in the water? Do you enjoy teaching and helping? Are you an advanced swimmer with skills and knowledge? If so, consider becoming a swim instructor.


As a swim instructor, you will get to learn new tips and tricks every day, help others become confident in their swimming abilities, and spend most of your day in the pool.


Going through training

To become a swim instructor, you must get your certification. The YMCA offers an Aquatics Certification program that encourages water safety and develops your teaching skills needed to instruct courses to swimmers of every age and ability. This program is designed to help you guide recreational swimmers to meet their goals, refine their skills, and stay safe in and around the water


How to Prepare

As with any job, you will have to plan accordingly for the schedule of lessons and training. Based on the age and ability level that you will be teaching, you could have a variety of different types of swimmers per day. Take this into account when creating lesson plans and daily activities and consider the tools you may need such as new swimming suits, a swim cap, googles, and pool flotation devices and toys.


Tips and Tricks

While this job may be rewarding and fun at times, it can also be stressful. Here are a few tips and techniques to help.

  • Focus on safety. Utilizing and memorizing water safety should be your top priority as a swim instructor, because if the swimmer learns the proper techniques and gains knowledge of water safety, you have succeeded at your job.
  • Be patient. Try to see the water through the eyes of the new swimmer and notice how new and intimidating the challenges can look to them. It can be frustrating at times, but if you are patient and firm with your students, they are sure to learn the ropes quickly.
  • Have fun. Swimming and spending time at the pool is supposed to be fun, so once water safety and techniques have been learned, teach the swimmers to have fun. Play games as a class and encourage play among friends to teach new swimmers how enjoyable an afternoon at the pool can be.


Overall, being a swim instructor is a rewarding and fun profession.  The YMCA is a great place to get your lifeguard or swimming instructor certification, and if you are interested in learning more about this exciting opportunity, check out our program listings.