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Pool Industry Certifications and their rankings

Updated: Jan 3, 2021


Too many potential and current pool owners, these certifications don't seem to mean much when buying a pool or hiring a service company. As a pool industry insider, I can tell you this should be at the top of a pool owners list to hire a company that has certified employees over one that doesn't. To me, there is no replacement for knowledge and experience, and the best source for that knowledge is through the educational opportunities provided by the PHTA alongside an in-field apprenticeship with a seasoned builder or technician.


Without certification, a builder and/or service company does not have access to industry standards and codes that are designed to optimize the homeowner's swimming experience but to also protect pool users and the technicians that work on them. If you are using a pool company that does not know current industry standards and codes you are putting yourself and your project in jeopardy. It may sound hard to believe but there are many unqualified pool builders and service companies out there that truly should not be working on pools. Protect yourself and hire the best, hire a Certified Building Professional and a Certified Service Professional.


We will start with the entry-level certification. The Certified Pool Operator Course is an entry-level course and is not designed for a service technician. It is a basic program to aid maintenance teams from hotels and resorts to properly maintain their pool. They cover basic water chemistry and routine maintenance. This certification should not be confused with the training needed to be a pool technician or pool builder. This is a starting point in the educational journey of a legitimate pool technician or builder.

The Certified Maintenance Specialist Certification: This is the second step of the journey to becoming a Certified Service Professional. The CMS program goes into more detail and is designed for the professional that maintains pools and spas but is not yet technical enough to provide adequate knowledge to be recognized as a service tech. To obtain this certification the individual needs to hold the CPO title to test for this title.

The Certified Pool and Spa Technician Program is the minimum training your pool service technician should have to adequately service all facets of your pool or spa. To qualify for the CST certification both the CPO class and the CMS must have been completed.

The Certified Pool and Spa Professional Certification is the Master's Degree of Pool & Spa Certification and takes at least 5 years to complete. To qualify, all other levels of certification must have been obtained and the individual must have at least 5 years of industry experience. This would be the ideal pool service professional to hire.

The Certified Retail Professional is a program designed for individuals that work in retail locations. It specializes in water testing and basic pool and spa knowledge to improve the pool and spa retail experience.

The Certified Hot Tub Technician Course goes into great detail for the spa side of the industry. This designation provides all of the knowledge and resources to properly service and troubleshoot hot tubs.

The CBP is the Master's Degree Certification for pool builders. This program provides in-depth knowledge to build any type of swimming pool. You must have a minimum of 5 years of experience and pass a test to qualify for this program. There are less than 250 CBP's throughout the entire country.


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Green Bay, WI 

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  • This website contains an abundance of information that has been created over the last decade or more. Some of the content on this site may reflect prices, perspectives, processes, entities, and names that were relevant at the time but may not be as relevant today. Consumers should consult a Pool Pros associate for the most accurate and updated information based on the unique conditions of their property. Consumers should verify specifications with the installing Pool Pros rather than relying on the information on this website, which is not intended to be a final specification.

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