Several years ago, the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals (APSP), formerly known as the National Spa & Pool Institute, developed a professional certification and training program to identify the very best in the pool industry. It also identifies those that make the effort to continue on a professional career track within the pool industry. They put together the Certified Building Professional ("CBP") and Certified Service Professional ("CSP") programs and, more recently, the Professional Pool & Spa Operator ("PPSO") program.
At the APSP web site you can review certifications and membership status. By doing this, you can verify information given to you by a pool professional about his or her certification level or membership status. Within the website APSP lists current CBPs and CSPs. As of this writing there are less than 160 APSP Certified Service Professionals in the United States. There are 120 APSP Certified Building Professionals. Of these, there are 36 companies nationwide that have staff on hand with both designations. These APSP certified designations are awarded to individuals who have taken the time, invested the resources, attended many hours of continuing education and have taken a rigorous examination to become masters and true professionals within the pool industry.
Here are the requirements to be certified in each program:
Certified Building ProfessionalCertification is good for 3 years and must be revalidated through continuing education and or written examination.
- 5-years minimum industry experience as a Pool Company Owner or Manager building swimming pools
- Own a copy of the APSP Builders Manual with APSP/ANSI standards and adhere to them.
- Attend a minimum of 40 hours continuing education prior to testing and certification.
- Answer questions regarding business ethics, stability and professionalism.
- Be involved in the business side of a firm (e.g. hands on management, budgeting issues, profit and loss, customer relations, etc.).
- Pass the CBP exam, which measures competency in the area of pool and spa building. The test is a 4-hour closed book exam.
APSP added CBP level 1 and level 2 programs for builders/pool professionals interested in a structured training program. The CBP designation would be the final phase of this new program after attaining level 1 & 2 status.
Certified Service ProfessionalCertification is good for 5 years and must be revalidated through continuing education and or written examination.
- Attain Tech 1 Certification (40-hours classroom or pass written proficiency exam)
- Attain Tech 11 Certification (40 hours classroom instruction and written exam)
- 5-years minimum experience in the pool industry
- Attend a minimum of 40 hours additional continuing education
- Pass the CSP exam, which measures competency in the area of pool and spa maintenance, service and care. The test is a 4-hour closed book exam.
Certified Professional Pool & Spa Operator
- Geared towards commercial pool operations
- 16 Hours classroom Instruction
- Must pass a written examination
- PPSOI-Certified Professional Pool & Spa Operator Instructor. These individuals certify PPSOs. They must attend certification training.
Other industry certification programs include:
- CPO-Certified Pool Operator. Required by many states and municipalities for commercial pool operations, and is conducted by the National Swimming Pool Foundation.
- CPOI-Certified Pool Operator Instructor. These individuals certify CPOs.
- AFO-Aquatic Facility Operator. Required by many states and municipalities for commercial pool operations, and is conducted by the National Park and Recreation Association.
- AFOI-Aquatic Facility Operator Instructor. They must attend certification training.