Students who get paid to tan learn Red Cross skills first


    By Julie Murdock

    For some students, summer employment means standing behind a grill, wearing a hairnet, flipping burgers and earning minimum wage.

    Others students prefer to spend their summers lounging around a pool, working on their tans.

    Angela Rich prefers the latter, and gets paid for it.

    “Working as a lifeguard may be the perfect summer employment,” said Rich, 22, a senior from Eugene, Oregon, majoring in music performance. Rich worked as a lifeguard for the Helaman Halls swimming pool this summer.

    “It doesn”t seem like work when you”re in a swimsuit all day, outside in the sun … This is what most people do on Saturday,” Rich said.

    To become certified as a lifeguard and eligible to work, Rich had to take a course offered by the American Red Cross.

    The course is offered by the BYU physical education department fall and winter semesters. There is no additional fee beside the cost of books.

    Conrad Todd, program manager for the College of Health and Human Performance, said he is teaching the revised Red Cross course this semester.

    “One of the added modules of the revised course is automatic external defibrillator training,” Todd said, “which in a pool environment, allows a lifeguard to administer electric shock to restart the heart.”

    Other changes include oxygen administration and changes in proper handling of CPR, Todd said.

    Todd said the Red Cross originally started out in the business of teaching people how to be safe in the early 1900s.

    As swimming became popular as a recreation activity, a need for properly trained lifeguards developed, Todd said.

    “The nation, as a whole, turned to the Red Cross because they were in the safety business … they took on the challenge of developing a lifeguarding program,” said Todd, who has been a Red Cross instructor for 20 years.

    According to the American Red Cross website,, “employers look for applicants who can deal effectively with people, who have a take charge attitude and who are willing to work to develop new skills.”

    The website also said the aims of its lifeguard program are to teach surveillance and rescue skills, first aid training and professional rescuer CPR.

    “The majority of pools around the country hire Red Cross certified lifeguards,” Todd said. “They have an excellent training program.”

    Todd said he polls his class at the beginning of each semester to determine why they are taking the course. Ninety percent responded they anticipate working at a pool in the summer.

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