How to Become a

Swimming Class Instructor

The complete career guide to be a Swimming Class Instructor: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $40,970
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 8.4%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Flexible Hours
    Career Attribute

Swimming class instructors provide lessons and lead water aerobics classes for individuals of all ages. They may work with toddlers and children, teaching them how to swim and tread water; with teenagers and adults, teaching lifeguard courses; or with adults and seniors, offering water exercise programs.

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What is a Swimming Class Instructor?

The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in swimming instructor roles:

  • Teach basic swimming classes to toddlers, children, and adults who didn’t learn to swim as kids
  • Teach mid-level courses to adolescents and teenagers, educating students on different swimming strokes
  • Teach advanced swimming courses focused on advanced strokes and lifesaving techniques
  • Lead water aerobics courses for adults and seniors
  • Work as coaches for high school and college swimming and diving teams

A Day in the Life

Swimming class instructors conduct a variety of lessons and perform different types of coaching for water-based sports and aerobics. One of the basic responsibilities of a swimming class instructor is teaching toddlers and children how to swim. Instructors are educated in teaching very young children—even those that aren’t able to speak yet—the fundamentals of swimming, keeping water out of lungs, and staying afloat in water. They may also teach adults the fundamentals of swimming, but less often.

Swimming class instructors also teach more advanced swimming lessons to adolescents, teenagers, and adults. In these courses, instructors focus on teaching students how to utilize more advanced strokes like freestyle, backstroke, butterfly, breaststroke, and sidestroke. In more advanced courses, instructors may also work to train aspiring lifeguards. Additionally, many work as coaches for competitive swim teams at local high schools, colleges, and organizations like the YMCA.

Beyond teaching students how to swim, lifeguarding skills, and advanced swimming strokes, many swimming class instructors also teach water aerobics courses. Water aerobics are popular among all age groups, but particularly among seniors. Teach water aerobics requires knowledge of the exercises that are appropriate for different age groups. Instructors teach a class of individuals how to move in water to either lose weight or improve/sustain cardiovascular health.

Typical Work Schedule

Swimming instructors may work part-time or full-time. If they work for organizations with an indoor pool, they may lead classes year-round. If they work for organizations with outdoor pools only, they may only work seasonally. They often work during the day, in the evening, and on weekends to offer classes outside of normal business hours at times when more people are available to participate.

Typical Employers

Swimming instructors are commonly hired to work for gyms, fitness- and education-based organizations like the YMCA, and high schools, colleges, and other organizations with competitive swim teams.

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How To Become a Swimming Class Instructor

To work as a swimming class instructor, you’ll need to become certified to teach a variety of different types of courses, each requiring a separate certification. For example, you’ll need individual certifications to teach basic swimming lessons, mid-level swimming lessons, advanced swimming lessons, lifeguard training courses, and aerobics classes. Additionally, you may need to be certified to cater classes to different age groups. Swimming instructor certifications are available through a variety of organizations and trade or vocational schools.

Before enrolling in swimming instructor certification programs, it’s important that you are an adept swimmer. It’s a good idea to enroll in and take all of the different levels of swimming classes to refine your skills, and this also gives you an opportunity to watch how other instructors lead classes. Additionally, you’ll need to be certified as a lifeguard to teach any swimming classes so you can handle emergencies, so you’ll need to complete a lifeguard training program and learn to handle emergencies.

Earning an associate’s or bachelor’s degree can also be beneficial for swimming instructors because it allows you to expand your offerings and refine your teaching skills. A degree in early childhood education could aid your swimming instructor career by helping you learn how best to teach young swimmers, and you could also work as a teacher and swim team coach. A degree in exercise science, kinesiology, or physical education could also be beneficial if you want to focus your career on fitness.

Swimming Class Instructor Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

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National Hourly Wage

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How do Swimming Class Instructor salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Swimming Class Instructor's can make an average annual salary of $40,970, or $20 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $23,280 or $11 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #511 Nationally for All Careers

Highest Education Among Swimming Class Instructors

  • 1.2%   Doctorate
  • 9.7%   Masters
  • 36.4%   Bachelors
  • 9.1%   Associates
  • 25%   College
  • 16.2%   High School
  • 2.4%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Swimming Class Instructor job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 23,400 jobs for a total of 302,500 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 8.4% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #264 Nationally for All Careers

What Companies Employ The Most Swimming Class Instructors

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Fitness and recreational sports centers 161,800 14,300 14%
Civic and social organizations 34,000 400 0%
Self-employed workers 29,500 2,100 2%

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