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Which Swimming Pool Certification Is The Best?

Are All Certifications Are Created Equal?

Let's face it, getting a solid education is a crucial part of a successful career as a swimming pool operator. But there are so many different certification organizations out there! Is CPO Certification the best program to get solid swimming pool knowledge? Are there better programs out there? In this article we're going to explore the following things you will want to take into consideration when choosing the best swimming pool educational program for you: 

  • Course Content
  • Industry Respectability
  • State Recognition
  • Instructor Reputation

Let's explore each one of these topics and see why they each matter.


Which Pool Certification Has The Best Content?

Making sure you're getting the best and most reliable content is absolutely crucial when it comes to choosing a swimming pool certification. Operating a pool or spa really isn't as simple as a lot of folks make it out to be and a lot can go wrong if you're given the wrong training. Making sure you choose the best and most educational program to prepare you for what may come is critical. Not to put too much pressure on it, but your life may depend on the quality of information you receive in your swimming pool certification course. 

So, which certification do we think is best? It's really no secret that we believe that Certified Pool Operator (CPO) Certification is superior in the area of high-quality content. The program was written and created by an entire body of scientists, engineers, and operators, so the operation and science can be trusted. Period.

And to be completely transparent, virtually every other swimming pool certification out there bases its content off of CPO as CPO Certification is seen as the gold standard.


Which Pool Certification Is Most Respected In The Pool Industry?

It is crucial to choose a certification that is respected by your peers. Not because conformity is cool, but because respectability amongst peers indicates reliability of the information you received in your training. If you are operating in a way that is contrary to accepted industry standards, that is a red flag that your training may not have been the best. Industry standards exist for a reason, and that is to keep people as healthy and safe as possible. 

CPO Certification again has the edge over the competition in this area. CPO is the most recognized and respected educational program in the aquatics industry, and for good reason. Firstly, CPO has been around for over 50 years now, which cannot be said about the competition. Secondly, there's a reason why it's basically understood that when someone mentions swimming pool certification, CPO Certification is what is meant. CPO Certification is simply the most ubiquitous and respected program in the industry. 


Which Swimming Pool Certification Is Accepted by My State?

This is possibly the most important question to ask yourself when choosing a swimming pool certification. States are very choosy about which educational programs they choose to accept. The one you've been eyeing may be cheap, but it also may not be accepted. There are really only 2 certifications that are recognized by all 50 states in the US: CPO® and AFO®. Be wary of any other certification outside of these when it comes to state acceptance.

There are other organizations out there that will try to confuse you and convince you that they are equal to CPO® and AFO® in reputation and state acceptability, but don't be mistaken. There are no other organizations that are accepted and recognized in all 50 states other than CPO® and AFO®.

In regard to which one is superior between CPO® and AFO® we tend to lean a little more toward CPO® simply because it is designed to cater to all operators whereas AFO® tends to be more focused on operators working in the parks and recreation industry. But make no mistake, both CPO and AFO are equally reputable in the eyes of the state. 


Which Swimming Pool Certification Program Has The Best Instructors?

The good teacher is arguably the most important part of the learning process. A great teacher has the ability to clearly communicate the most important information you need to be successful, but they also unlock passion and excitement for the much as they can in regard to operating a swimming pool. With this in mind, it's crucial that you choose a program that has only the finest educators in its fold. 

CPO is the winner in this category, hands down. Every CPO Instructor is required to have a number of years worth of hands-on experience working in the field. They are also required to have been CPO Certified themselves for a number of years before they are allowed to teach the program. On top of that, CPO Instructors are required to go through a rigorous vetting and training process to ensure they are a good candidate to teach the materials. There is no other program out there that comes even close to this level or rigor expectation. So again, CPO Certification wins the day in this category as well. 


In Conclusion

There's a lot to consider when choosing a swimming pool certification. Transparently, we at Pool Training Academy clearly prefer CPO Certification over any other certification program out there, simply because we believe it to be the best of the best. Having said that, if you decide to look elsewhere for your swimming pool education, we caution that the only other program you consider is the AFO®. Any other swimming pool certification may have decent educational value, but it won't travel from state to state with you like CPO® and AFO® will.

If you'd like to get started on your swimming pool education journey, we at Pool Training Academy proudly offer CPO Certification courses and have a number of options to fit your scheduling needs! Our fully online CPO Certification program provides the flexibility you need without compromising our award-winning educational program. And as always, our in-person CPO courses are taught by the best educators in the business, hands down.  

If you have additional questions about which certification is right for you, please be sure to reach out to us at and we'll be happy to point you in the right direction!

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