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How to become a Lifeguard

Lifeguards are responsible for monitoring any kind of waterway or aquatic facility where people swim. This includes beaches, rivers, lakes, pools, water parks, and more. Lifeguards help to prevent incidents, as well as rescue and provide first aid to people who are in trouble in the water.

If you’re fit and motivated, love spending time outdoors, and want a job that could help you save lives, becoming a Lifeguard could be ideal.


About you:


  • Calm and collected
  • Excellent fitness level
  • Great problem-solver
  • Fantastic communication skills
  • Thrives under pressure
  • Works well in teams and independently
  • Observant and quick-thinking
  • Kind and compassionate


The job:


  • Patrolling beaches, waterways and other aquatic facilities
  • Putting in measures to prevent accidents (such as flags)
  • Rescuing people in an emergency
  • Providing first aid and resuscitation
  • Keep patients calm and safe until help arrives
  • Reporting incidents to other emergency workers
  • Using and maintaining lifesaving equipment (e.g. rafts, radios)
  • Educating the public on water safety


Lifestyle Impact: Moderate


  • Part Time opportunities: Very high – around 83% of Lifeguards work part-time (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au).
  • Average hours for full-time workers: 40 hours a week, which is around average (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au).
  • Lifeguards’ salary (average) $55,000* per year (source: seek.com.au). *Salaries vary depending on your skills and experience.
  • Future career growth: Strong (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au).
  • You will be doing your work in the outdoors, in a variety of weather conditions.
  • You will need to have a very high level of fitness and able to handle tough situations.


Lifeguards are most in demand in these locations:


This is a small occupation, with around 4,400 people working as Lifeguards in Australia in 2016 (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au). There is higher than average demand in Victoria.

Lifeguards are needed almost anywhere there’s water, including beaches, lakes, swimming pools and aquatic centres, water parks, and more, so there is plenty of opportunity for variety and travel.

Australia has a lot of coast and other waterways, and the hot weather means many people are often flocking to the beach for a swim, so there will always be a need for Lifeguards.


How to become a Lifeguard in Australia


You will need to complete a relevant VET qualification (depending on whether you want to work in indoor aquatics or on the beach) before you can work as a Lifeguard in Australia.


Step 1 – Complete Year 12 with a strong focus on English and PE.


Step 2 – Work on your fitness, as there are strict fitness requirements for Lifeguards.


Step 3 – Complete a relevant qualification, such as:


Step 4 – Start working as a Lifeguard.


Step 5 – Keep up with your professional development, as most qualifications will need to be refreshed yearly.


Find out more here –




Similar Careers to Lifeguard


Fitness Instructor

Swimming Teacher


Park Ranger

Outdoor Educator


Tour Guide


Find out more about alternative careers.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


What do Lifeguards do?


Lifeguards monitor waterways and aquatic facilities to prevent and help during incidents.


Which industries employ Lifeguards?


Lifeguards are mostly employed in the Arts and Recreation Services, and Public Administration and Safety Industries.


What options are there for career progression?


You can start out as a volunteer Lifeguard, before moving on to a paid role. You might even like to move into educational or supervisory roles.


Do I need to go to university to become a Lifeguard?


No, but you will need to complete a relevant VET qualification.


Where do Lifeguards work?


Lifeguards work all across Australia, with highest demand in Victoria.


What are 3 things I can do right now to help me become a Lifeguard?


If you’re in high school and you’d like to find out if a career as a Lifeguard is right for you, here’s a few things you could do right now:

  1. Volunteer or get involved in a program such as the Surf Lifesaving Nippers This will help you learn the basics of lifesaving, and build other valuable skills.
  2. Make sure you work on your physical and mental fitness to ensure you can handle the rigours of the job.
  3. See if you can talk to someone working as a Lifeguard and get an idea of what a day in their life is like.

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