Why becoming a swimming teacher should be your next career change

Research suggests UK employees are increasingly likely to change career multiple times during their working life.

The days of a job-for-life are well and truly gone, a September 2018 study revealed that the average worker in Britain considers changing career ten times per year, and nearly 20% are currently thinking about retraining.

At the Institute of Swimming, we see people from a range of backgrounds training to become swimming teachers on one of our courses.

So we asked three of them – Lisa, Mark and Christy – why becoming a swimming teacher was the right move for their careers.

Teaching swimming suits my schedule

Working hours can be flexible with swimming teaching jobs. You can easily diversify your skills to take on school swimming and adult and baby sessions while your kids are at school.

Most swimming lessons during the week take place between 3 and 7 pm while adult swimming lessons can be later.

Lisa qualified as a swimming teacher when she was at university (because teaching swimming is the perfect student job) and now co-owns a Swim School.

“After just a couple of months teaching I knew that university wasn’t going to be for me as I’d already found a job I loved,” Lisa told us. “Eleven years later and I love it more than ever.

“Within reason you can choose hours that suit you. Before having children, I worked early in the morning and then again in the afternoon until 10pm at night.

“I now spend my days at home with my boys, pop out to work for a couple of hours in the afternoon and make it home to put them to bed.”

Building children’s confidence is hugely rewarding

The most popular response for swimming teachers, when asked what they love most about the role, is the satisfaction of building a young swimmer’s confidence in the water.

It’s a hugely rewarding experience and one which sticks with some people for the rest of their life.

We spoke to Mark, who switched from a career in product design to become a primary school teacher and part-time swimming teacher.

“The best thing about swimming teaching is putting a smile on children’s faces week in, week out,” said Mark.

“I have found it can be an amazing way of giving children self-belief, confidence to try new things and show children that sport can be fun.”

Christy was 37 before you trained to become a swimming teacher in 2015. She now teaches swimming alongside three other jobs.

“I don’t think there is anything more rewarding than watching a child thrive & achieve in life,” Christy told us. “Add water into that and I had found my perfect job.

“To be able to teach swimming is not only fun for all of us but giving children & adults that essential life skill is a very rewarding feeling.”

Every day is different so I never get bored

Ever been sat at work, day-dreaming and wishing you were anywhere else after hours of staring at the same spreadsheet or presentation?

Teaching swimming is about as far from the monotony of a 9-5 office job as you can get. Every swimmer’s journey is different and you are faced with new challenges every day.

You can also diversify your skills to teach different sessions, ages and abilities.

Lisa said: “In the 11 years since qualifying as a swimming teacher, I have taught baby swimming, children with additional needs, adult swimming, mini polo and more.

“I have also qualified as a lifeguard, lifeguard trainer, aqua aerobics instructor and first aid trainer.

“This job never gets boring as I’m always learning or trying something new.”

Christy added: “Teaching swimming is so varied. No lesson is the same and it really keeps me on my toes.

“I’m constantly thinking of new ways to get the best out of the classes I teach.”

Follow Lisa, Mark and Christy’s path and become a swimming teacher

Inspired by Lisa, Mark and Christy’s stories and convinced that teaching swimming should be your next career change?

There are two qualifications you will need to start your journey.

The SEQ Level 1 Swimming Assistant course is the first step and allows you to support a fully qualified swimming teacher.

Once you’ve completed this course, it’s best to gain at least three months experience before moving on to the SEQ Level 2 Teaching Swimming course.

Initial qualifications typically cost around £395 but don’t let a lack of funds stand in the way. Demand for swimming teachers is high so some employers will part-fund you through the qualification.

If you want to get some experience before you book your course, try contacting your local swim school or pool and volunteer your time to see if you enjoy it first. You can find your local pool on Swim England’s Pool Finder.

How much can you earn?

Level 1 Assistant Swimming Teachers earn around £11.26/hr and Level 2 Swimming teachers earn an average of £16.52/hr

Find out more about salaries in the aquatics industry.