A swimming instructor provides instruction in swimming to people at all levels of ability, from young children taking basic swimming classes to adults who want to learn new swimming techniques or expand their swimming skills. Swim instructors are generally excellent swimmers themselves, and in order to work as swimming teachers, they usually need to take some safety and certification courses in lifeguarding, first aid, and related topics, to make sure that their students will be safe while in the pool.
A swim instructor's goal is to get people comfortable swimming at the level that they are aiming for. For an instructor who works with young children, this might revolve around making sure that children are safe in the water so that if they fall into a pool or are swept overboard while out boating, they will be able to swim until an adult comes to help. For swim instructors who work with adults, their classes can include lessons in advanced swimming techniques.
Some swim instructors act as coaches, helping their students prepare for swimming competitions, while others focus on teaching basic skills, with less of an emphasis on competition. In addition to providing instruction in swimming, a swim instructor may also teach diving and basic safety so that their students feel comfortable in the water and so that they can help other people in an emergency. Swim instructors can also teach safety and lifeguarding classes which are specifically designed for people interested in water rescue.
Swim instructors can help people find the appropriate equipment and gear for swimming, and they may also administer tests to determine how fit students are, and to allow them to take a class in the next level of difficulty. A swim instructor may also supervise water safety programs for the pools or health centers they work for, and they may be involved in water safety programs for the general community, including classes in basic water rescue topics for emergency responders.
Someone who is interested in working as a swim instructor should take swim classes to get familiar with instruction styles, and to progress to the highest level of swimming ability. He or she should also take safety certification classes, including CPR, first aid, and water rescue. It may help to work as an assistant instructor or aid with an experienced instructor to get familiar with the process before seeking employment as a swim instructor, and some swim instructors also join professional organizations which provide them with certification and access to continuing education.