NSPF CPO® and the PHTA CPO®: Is There A Difference Between Them?

When investigating certified pool and spa operator courses, you may become familiar with quite a few abbreviated terms, including NSPF CPO, APSP CPO, and PHTA CPO. Before you get overwhelmed with what each of these letters means, and if there are any differences between them, let us clear up the most important part. Regardless of the abbreviations, you come across, they all lead to becoming a CPO® (certified pool operator).

What Do All Of These Letters Mean?

First and foremost, the CPO®  program is currently sanctioned by the PHTA, the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance. Since 2019, their mission has been to “celebrate the water.” They facilitate the expansion of swimming, water safety, and research in an effort to introduce more people to swimming, make swimming environments safer, and educate individuals about how to operate pools effectively.

When enrolling in a CPO®  program, you will be earning your certification as sanctioned by the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance. But has this always been the case?

You may be thinking: “What if I already received an NSPF CPO®  instead, what does that mean?”

Let us clear everything up for you.


What is the NSPF CPO®?

NSPF stands for “The National Pool and Hot Tub Foundation” (formerly the National Swimming Pool Foundation). They operated a successful CPO®  program for many years and maintained an unprecedented educational reach within its lifespan. With that said, you or someone you know may have received certification from this organization. However, the NSPF merged with another organization, the APSP, in 2019. This merger ultimately formed the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance.

As a result, the National Swimming Pool Foundation is no longer the entity that sanctions CPO®  programs. Instead, the organization focuses primarily on general pool and spa education, publication, research, fundraising, and grant-making. 

What about the APSP?

APSP stands for “The Association of Pool and Hot Tub Professionals Association” (formerly the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals). This non-profit organization previously offered Certified Service Technician programs in addition to Professional Pool and Spa Operator courses.

After merging with the NSPF CPO® , the Association of Pool and Hot Tub Professionals Association now specializes in managing certifications, standards, workforce opportunities, awards, and member services as part of the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance.

So What About CPO® Certification?

You have nothing to worry about. Although there have been many changes in the pool and spa industry thanks to the merger, the Certified Pool Operator certification will always remain available and effective, regardless of where you receive it. As long as you keep up with current news, receive your certification, and renew it every 5 years, you will be good to go. (Except if you do it virtually in Massachusetts, then it’s 3 years).

If you received CPO®  certification from the NSPF, chances are you will renew it from the PHTA, that is, if you haven’t already.


Where Should You Receive Your CPO® Certification?

To receive your Certified Pool Operator certification as officially sanctioned by the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance, reach out to Pool Operation Management. For more than 40 years, Pool Operation Management has been providing swimming pool education and services to countless students, homeowners, and facility managers across 17 different states.

For students, we offer a convenient 2 Day CPO®  Course that includes both in-person and online options, in addition to a myriad of helpful resources to help you earn your CPO®  certification in no time and dive into your new career. From sample problems to FAQs, Pool Operation Management has everything you need to succeed in the evolving pool and spa industry. Contact our professional team of pool experts today to get started.

*This information is obtained from the Certified Pool and Spa Operator Handbook. This information may not be applicable to your pool based on your pool type and location. One should reference all applicable regulations and standards for your facility.

Recent Posts
Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.


Start typing and press Enter to search

Your CPOⓒ Book: Everything You Need to KnowSearching for "CPO® Training Near Me?" Let Us Be Your Guide Call Now Button