During my usual pool session, my friend asked me how I became a certified swimming instructor. I am baffled by his sudden question because all the time he didn’t ask me how I got accreditation. So I ask him why. He stated that he was interested in becoming one after his last stint with a triathlon training session. He is inspired by his coach and wants to follow in his footsteps in getting more people into triathlon. He is also able to earn extra income.
Singapore has several accredited swimming federations. Below is the detail that I know.
Swim Instructor (Safer Swimming Instructor): Certified by Singapore Swimming Association
Austswim teacher: Austswim certified
Swimming Instructor: Certified by the Singapore Swimming Teachers Association
As I graduated from Singapore Swimming Federation, I am eligible to relate my experience. As for the other associations, I have not graduated from them, and so it would be inadvisable to comment on them. However, these swimming federations do have some common standards: a valid Life Saving Certificate, a valid First Aid Certificate or a Cardiopulmonary Certificate. Requirements and other information can be found on the respective website.
What is the difference between the different certified swimming instructors? In my opinion, there is no difference. All of these swim instructors have a passion for swimming and want to train their students to become water proficient and hopefully inspire someone who might follow in their footsteps to pursue their passion. However, the certification will specify where the swim instructor is licensed to coach.
In Singapore, the public swimming complex is under the auspices of the Singapore Swimming Council (SSC), and the SSC only allows an SSA-certified Swimsafer instructor to train in the pool. For other association certificate holders, they are only allowed to train in private residences with swimming facilities. Swimsafer is also allowed to train in this building. Hence, interested applicants may want to consider the Swimsafer Certificate as you can find the majority of students taking their lesson in the SSC public complex.
The first step to becoming a Swimsafer is to equip yourself with the National Coaching Accreditation Program (NCAP) which is a theoretical course consisting of lectures on the basic principles of coaching and the science of sport. The course is conducted by instructors appointed by the Singapore Sports Council (SSC). More information can be found on their website.
Thereafter, a valid CPR and Life Saving Certificate which may be Life Saving 1, 2 or 3 or a Bronze Medal approved by the Life Saving Society of Singapore. Yes, a swim instructor needs to know how to rescue people to deal with emergencies like your students having trouble swimming and struggling to get help. Furthermore, the Swimsafer instructor is now required to impart some rescue techniques and theories to the students. Hence, it is advisable to be well equipped in this field. If you do not have a Life Saving Certificate, you can go to any public gathering and ask the staff there if there are any Life Saving Educators available there or you can contact the Life Saving Society of Singapore about your interests. You may also choose to hire a lifesaving coach to enhance your knowledge in this area. The Life Saving Coach course is conducted by the Life Saving Society of Singapore.
After obtaining an NCAP Level 1 and valid Life Saving and First Aid or CPR Certificate, you may enroll in a Swim Instructor Technical Level 1 course. The criteria consist of a swimming test to select swimmers who have achieved a certain proficiency in the four strokes consisting of breaststroke, front crawl, backstroke and butterfly. If you are selected for the course, you are required to pass the theoretical and practical test in order to obtain the Technical Level I Swimming Certificate.
So how long does this process take? It may take a person without the requirements about one year to obtain the certification. Hence, it would be beneficial to start early if you are interested in joining the swimming pool industry. Remember to become a swimming coach. You need the certificate below.
NCAP Level 1 + Swimming Technical Level 1 + Life Saving Certificate + First Aid Certificate.