What Is a CPO Certification and How Do I Get One?

If you work in the aquatics industry, it’s important to know what a CPO certification is and who should get one. CPO® stands for Certified Pool & Spa Operator® , and it ensures that pool operators know how to maintain aquatic environments that are hazard-free and compliant with public health and safety regulations. You may require CPO certification if you manage, own or work at a public pool or spa – whether at a gym, a hotel, a community center or another type of aquatic facility. 

While requirements for CPO certification vary by state and local jurisdiction, there are 25 U.S. states that currently require it for pool operator licensure. Regardless of the requirements, this globally recognized certification will boost your professional credibility in the aquatics industry by showing that you know how to keep pools and spas safe for both users and employees. 

How to Get a CPO Certification  

To get a CPO certification, you will need to enroll in a CPO certification course like the one offered by the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA).. You can take a two-day course in a classroom setting or opt for a blended approach, where you do part of the CPO pool certification online and then complete the course with one day in the classroom. In either format, you will attend class on scheduled days and times with a live instructor and receive a copy of the Certified Pool & Spa Operator™ Handbook, a vital industry resource. 

Whether you complete the CPO certification online or in-person, you will obtain the knowledge and skills needed for proper pool and spa operations and maintenance, so you can reduce risk and improve water quality for the well-being of users. You will learn:

  • How to prevent drowning, diving accidents, slips and falls, and chemical hazards
  • How to address key safety regulations to reduce liability and risk of facility closure.
  • How to operate a pool more easily and efficiently, including how to use automation and technology.  

Successful completion of the course and exam is required for CPO certification, which is valid for five years. As a certified pool operator, you will receive an electronic CPO certificate, as well as a hard copy of your certificate within four weeks of passing your exam. PHTA’s CPO certification program is an approved National Environmental Health Association National Environmental Health Association course, through which you will earn 16 Continuing Education Credits (CEUs). 

Now that you know how to get CPO certification, you can find a class near you at phta.org/find-cpo.