What is a CPO Certification?

Education is the best method to increase your chances of succeeding in any profession. This would not be any different in the aquatics industry. The Certified Pool Operator Course® CPO® is one of those educational opportunities that pool operators can take advantage of to increase their knowledge in the aquatics industry. – Space Coast Pool School

CPO® Certification provides individuals with the knowledge, techniques, and skills of pool and spa operations. This training has helped protect millions of swimmers by reducing hazards at aquatic facilities. CPO® Certification, the world’s leading verifiable pool and spa training credential, is available as a blended training program. The CPO® Certification program is also eligible for IACET Continuing Education Units (CEUs). Understanding the fundamentals of pool and spa operation and safety reduces risk, decreases liability, and creates value for customers. NSPF.org

The Certified Pool/Spa Operator® certification program has delivered more training than any other program in the pool and spa industry since 1972, resulting in more than 342,623 successful CPO® certifications in 86 countries. Many state and local health departments accept the CPO® certification program. spacecoastpoolschool.com

A swimming pool operators certification may be required in your state for the following categories:

  • Swimming pool inspections
  • Commercial Pool Management
  • Lifeguards
  • Swimming Pool Service & Repairs
  • Local Health Departments
  • Environmental Health Departments
  • The following states require a CPO certification as of 2019
    CPO certification required by state 2019
  • Florida
  • California
  • Nevada
  • Illinouis
  • Virginia
  • Kansas
  • Alabama
  • Montana
  • Pensylvania

Benefits of being CPO certified

Not only does the CPO cert give you what is needed by state or local jurisdiction, the knowledge that you gain from the hands-on style of training gives you more wisdom about swimming pools in general that translates into better business decisions for both you and your customers. Whether or not your pool business resides in a state that requires a CPO certification to operate swimming pools, your company can take advantage of other benefits this knowledge has to offer.

In the Office

While a CPO cert may be required for all field technicians, we are seeing more pool business owners taking it even further and training their office staff, so they can be more effective over the phone with customers and provide better information in work orders to technicians.

Here is a video of a recent office assistant who became CPO certified to be more effective to the company. In her words, “It helps me to better understand the problem a customer is experiencing so that I can be more accurate with my reporting & work orders.”

Assistants can all contribute more value to both the business and it’s customers by having the knowledge of a CPO. Having experience in the field is not always an option when it comes to the office work, but by allowing all team members to get their hands on a pool with professional training is an extremely smart business decision.

In the Field

As required by many states (mentioned above) and strongly suggested in all other areas, pool service techs should be CPO certified. Aside from complying with local & state jurisdiction law you get access to knowledge, information, resources that might otherwise take years of mistakes to learn.

For Service Techs

Swimming pool service techs providing repairs, maintenance, inspections on residential & commercial pools.

For Builders

Pool contractors building new pools and providing pool renovations both commercial & residential.

For Facilities

Recreation facilities, parks, lifeguards, hotels, apartments and venues featuring private or public pools for business.


“During the past 15 years of my career, I have come across many pool contractors and certified pool operators.  The companies will inform me that they are either licensed or certified. The licensed contractors will expect that I will automatically acknowledge that their pool operators will have the education necessary to succeed in their profession. But on the contrary, I have found many licensed contractors have failed to adequately educate their pool operators. In my career, I have had great outcomes just from an owner/ operator that is just a certified pool operator. In my opinion, two of the key elements of operating a successful pool service business are education and an individual’s desire to provide true quality service to their customers.” – Lauren Broom

Imagine having your entire team CPO certified, giving your business a competitive edge on just about everything from qualifying leads to accurate billing & not to mention satisfied customers. Having a CPO certification gives you the knowledge & wisdom to reduce errors in the field, accurately diagnosis a pool problem instead of guessing – these are the types of things that improve the efficiency and increase profitability.

  • National & Local Codes
    Know for sure if your commercial and residential customers are within the local and national building code requirements.
  • Pool Water Treatment
    Learn the best practices and save time + money with better accurate swimming pool treatment.
    Water testing practices
    Chemical adjustments
  • Calculations & Conversions
    Get access to charts, guides, tables and more for quick reference to adding pool chemicals or fixing problems.
  • Troubleshooting pool problems
    Learn real world pool problem scenarios and how to solve them.
  • Safety standards

The NSPF & the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance have set the standards for the Certified Pool Operators course criteria, and offer all materials to the approved instructors throughout the USA. You should look for a local CPO Instructor nearest to you to get started. Locate a CPO Instructor here: https://www.nspf.org/course-locations

Quick FAQs CPO certification

  • CPO certification is good for 5 years
  • Renewals require re-certification

More information about CPO certifications can be found at the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance website in the CPO section, here: https://www.nspf.org/content/frequently-asked-questions-faq

Article Contribution
Lauren Broom is an active CPO instructor from Florida that has been working along side the FL health department for over 10 years. She provides CPO training courses for swimming pool companies in Florida through her consulting company Space Coast Pool School.