Maximizing Your Potential with a CPO Certification
At a recent IPSSA Austin Chapter meeting, CPO Certifications were a hot topic. Is a CPO required? What is taught in the course? How much does it cost?To answer these questions, we invited CPO instructor, podcaster, and friend of Skimmer Lauren Broom, from Space Coast Pool School to contribute to this post.
What is a CPO certification?
CPO stands for Certified Pool Operator. It is a certification that brings many benefits to pool professionals. The pool pro gains knowledge that is necessary to maintain safe and healthy pools. The course has been brought to the pool industry by the Pool and Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA) since 1972. PHTA has delivered more pool operator certification training than any other organization. Do you as a pool pro think you should join the ranks? Let’s discuss some good reasons why pool pros may want to get CPO® certified. The PHTA website includes information on what is taught in the course.
Why Do I Need a CPO®?
First, the confidence created by a pool pro becoming CPO® certified is an incredible force in our industry. Those with a certification learn how to reduce risk and liability at their pool facilities. This boosts safety while giving value to the pool pro and their customers. Secondly, the pool pro attains a national certification that meets the requirements of all local health regulatory agencies.
In many states, pool operator certification is not a luxury, but a requirement. In over 35% of the United States, local laws require a certified pool operator to maintain an aquatic facility, and those requirements frequently change. As an example, in 2021, the Texas Apartment Association enacted new rules that state, “Servicers of Class A, B, and C pools and spas must be maintained under the supervision and direction of a trained and certified operator.” Per Texas code, this not only includes pools and spas open to the general public, apartments, and condominiums, but it also includes private property and home owners associations. Check with your local and state regulatory bodies to see what might be required in your state or local jurisdiction. The CDC offers an excellent resource to find state-specific information about pools, hot tubs, and splash pads.
Additionally, many other categories get marked off on a pool pros’ checklist with CPO® certification. Pool pros may be required to be certified for their employment. CPO® is a great program to meet those needs and provide a certification to your boss that meets the needs of Human Resources. They can also be a huge benefit to pool pros who may be job seeking. Finally, many properties are required to show their pool pro is certified for insurance reasons.
The increased knowledge and expertise that a pool pro gets from this certification is unfathomable. Pools pros can even advertise this increased knowledge and expertise to their customers. It is a way to show your customers that you care about their health and safety and provides assurance against unskilled labor. Education is a top priority for many pool companies as they move forward and try to remain competitive in their market. Employees want some kind of official certification and a job that does not plateau. Education is a key part of making employees feel valued within their service company. It is wonderful that pool operators have a variety of options to choose from regarding their education. Becoming educated in the field and having that certification to prove it is a step forward in the industry for pool pros.
What does a CPO certification cost and how do I obtain one?
Prices for CPO courses vary, depending on format and location. There are a myriad of options from a variety of providers who offer in-person and virtual classes. Lauren Broom, through Space Coast Pool School, offers certifications for $350. A certification is valid for 5 years, and once the certification is earned, you can include the badge in your emails and marketing materials. Visit the Space Coast Pool School website for a comprehensive schedule of upcoming courses. Lauren has also hired an instructor to teach courses in Spanish.
Skimmer would like to thank Lauren Broom for contributing to this blog post. Also, check out Lauren’s podcast, "Let’s Talk Pools", available on your favorite podcasting channels, or by visiting her website here.