education and development image, two coaches standing by a swimming pool

Becoming a Teacher/Coach

Why become a swimming teacher or coach?

Swimming is an activity enjoyed by so many. It attracts the young and the old; is an activity for individuals, families and groups; is a great way of keeping fit.

Swimming teaching and coaching can be an incredibly rewarding profession that provides the opportunity to work within your local community or to work in different countries around the world. It is a job that can fit around other commitments as the hours are often flexible.

Where to start?

Having an interest in and an enthusiasm for swimming is clearly a good starting point but in some instances this might not be clear until you have started the process. If you are unsure, it may be useful for you to do a little research – for instance visiting your local swimming pool and/or talking to someone who is already involved in swimming teaching and coaching – as you will need to commit time, energy and money to achieving some qualifications.

Teaching or Coaching?

Although many people involved in swimming operate as a teacher and a coach as there are great similarities, there are also some differences and the qualification structure reflects this. There are also other areas of aquatic education that might be of interest to you.

For more information regarding the detail of all the above qualifications visit (please link to the Courses information section of the website) or speak directly with member of the Swim Ireland education team.

What does a course comprise of?

Each course will vary in terms of technical content but there are some similarities in terms of overall structure. Each qualification is divided into units (the number of units will vary depending on the level of qualification) and some units are common and only need to be taken once. For example at level 1, unit 1 is the same for each discipline. Therefore if you have taken your level 1 in teaching aquatics and you want to take the level 1 in coaching swimming you will not be required to complete unit 1 again.

Each course will be a combination of practical and theory and you will be assessed in both areas. For the practical this will relate largely to your ability to teach a group of participants but you will also be required to show that you can plan lessons and evaluate the progress of your pupils and also your own performance. The theoretical assessment will focus largely on the technical aspects of the discipline that you are studying. Prior to embarking on a course it is important that you are certain that you can meet all the course requirements in terms of time.

What will you need to start?

In order to participate in a level 1 course you are required to be 16 years of age as of the start date of the course and to have attended the required Child Protection Workshop;

  • ROI: Children in Sport Awareness Workshop (Code of Ethics) – Irish Sports Council
  • NI: Safeguarding Young People in Sport – Sport NI

The 3 step process to get you started

Step 1

Having decided which qualification you would like to take check out (please link to the Courses information section of the website) for details of a course that meets your needs. If you require any additional information either contact a member of the Swim Ireland education staff or contact the centre where the course is being held that you would like to attend.

Step 2

Please follow the enrolment information as indicated on the web, ensuring that you satisfy any pre-course requirements such as age, Child Protection Workshop certificate etc. and pay the required course costs.

Step 3

Attend the course and complete all aspects. You tutor will be experienced in the discipline that you are studying and will be accredited by Swim Ireland to deliver courses leading to a Swim Ireland qualification. After achieving your level 1 qualification you may consider taking your level 2 at some time in the future. If this is the case it is important for you to gain additional practical experience, either by volunteering at a local club or by contacting your local centre to see what opportunities might be available.

Commit to the future – become a licensed teacher/coach

Swim Ireland has introduced a licensing scheme for all teachers and coaches that is in line with similar schemes introduced in a wide range of sports and in a number of different countries. The licensing scheme will help to ensure that you are up to date with all new developments and will enhance your future prospects, particularly in terms of employment.

For further information please visit the SI licencing scheme page.

And finally

Just by reading this information leaflet you have taken the first step towards what might become a new career or a new hobby or which might help you to be better at something that you already do. If you are as confident as you can be that you want to progress further then what are you waiting for… …take the plunge now!

For further information please see the document below.

Guide to Becoming a Swimming Teacher

Other Important Document:

Qualification Guidance Overview