It can be difficult to become a swim instructor if you do not have significant swimming experience or skills. If, however, you are a strong swimmer and have plenty of swimming experience, the process to become a swim instructor is much easier. You may want to start by taking a swimming refresher course if you are out of practice. Otherwise, you will need to start by taking first aid and CPR certification classes, which are often offered at community colleges, YMCA facilities, or other community-oriented facilities that can host such training classes.
It may be possible to become a swim instructor by taking an all-inclusive swim instructor class that includes first aid and CPR training, but this is not common and in most cases you will need to take the classes individually. A CPR class should include training for CPR on adults, children, and infants, as most swim instructor certifications require training for these specific age groups. First aid training will prepare you to become a swim instructor by giving you the skills necessary to treat a variety of injuries that are common at pools or other swimming areas. It is often necessary to obtain CPR and first aid certificates before enrolling in any swim instructor certification classes.
The swim instructor certification classes can also be offered by community colleges, YMCA facilities, swimming facilities, and other facilities throughout your region. In the United States and other parts of the world, the Red Cross may offer lifeguarding courses that will allow you to become a swim instructor at many pool facilities and swimming areas. Be sure to research what is involved in this training, as well as the costs and how long it will take. Be ready to sacrifice several Saturdays or evenings to this training, as well as to the training for CPR and first aid.
Once you have obtained all the necessary certifications, you can either apply for a job to become a swim instructor at a gym or fitness center, or you can advertise your services independently. The latter path is a far more difficult process than simply getting hired at an established institution, as it will take marketing skills as well as access to a pool or swimming area. Gyms and fitness centers often offer swim classes that you can teach, and the clients will deal directly with the gym or fitness center rather than with you directly.