As a commercial pool/spa operator (CPO), you are responsible for a large and complex facility. It is best to stay on top of your game by keeping current with continuing education and also pursuing certifications whenever pertinent. There are a few different pool operator certifications available:
- National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) has an Aquatic Facility Operator (AFO) certification. This certification says it offers “the most comprehensive and up-to date training for pool operators and includes information on water chemistry, disinfection, mechanical systems, operations, healthy pools and safety.”
- The National Swimming Pool Foundation (NSPF) has a Certified Pool/Spa Operator (CPO) certification program that provides individuals with the basic knowledge, techniques and skills need to operate pools and spas. Use NSPF’s search tool to find a certification course near you.
- The Association of Pool and Spa Professionals (APSP), formerly the National Spa and Pool Institute (NSPI Tech), offers five different certifications for various levels and experiences. APSP’s certification policy handbook is extensive and informative for those seeking any of these certifications:
- Certified Maintenance Specialist (CMS): no pre-requirements to be eligible
- Certified Building Professional (CBP)
- Certified Service Technician (CST)
- Certified Hot Tub Technician (CHTT)
- Certified Service Professional (CSP): candidates must have five years of experience and at least 24 continuing education units (CEU’s)
- The Aquatic Training Institute offers an online Certified Pool Technician (CPT) that is easily completed online and is valid in 44 of the US states.
The goal of these certifications is to reduce hazards, improve safety and enhance patrons’ experiences while at the pool or spa. When choosing a certification to take, be sure to research the requirements for your city or state as some states require different certifications.
If you are already certified and seeking to keep abreast of current information or acquire CEU’s required for your job or to be eligible for additional certifications, here are some resources to continue learning and to obtain CEU’s:
- Online Resources. The National Swimming Pool Foundation (NSPF) provides books, online courses, training programs and conferences. All of these resources can be found here online.
- National Conferences. The World Aquatic Health Conference is held annually (the 2017 conference will be in Denver in October).
- Pool Operation Management (POM). This company offers the NSPF CPO course as well as an advanced course to improve skills.
- The Foundation for Pool & Spa Industry Education (FPSIE). FPSIE offers the NSPF CPO certification as well as a variety of courses from Aquatic Risk Management to Basic Electricity to Basic Water Chemistry.
- NSPF offers a complete listing of various CEUs.
Never stop learning. Being in charge of operating a pool or spa is a big deal and can affect many people’s lives. Knowing how to do this job well is important and generally under-appreciated. Please know that all of the swimmers out there really do appreciate when you do your job well. As a swimmer and swim coach, my personal favorite pool operators are those who take extra care to ensure the chlorine is never too high — a task that is much easier when Clear Comfort is helping!