Become a Certified Pool & Spa Maintenance Specialist

After completing this pool maintenance certification course, you will have:

  • Gained a strong understanding of safety, pool circulation and filtration, pool maintenance, and water quality
  • Learned about other important topics such as electrical systems, pool structures and finishes, heaters and controls, and customer service
  • Earned a name for yourself in the pool industry as a maintenance person in the know

Who Should Apply?

No industry experience is required. Prerequisites include:

  • 24 hours of continuing education credit
  • Pass 75-question, open book, multiple-choice exam


The CMS certification exam costs $115.

Brand-New Online Format for the CMS Course

PHTA has rolled out a brand-new online education course!  The new self-paced online format is interactive and engaging with videos, quizzes, and interactive exercises.  You have the option to purchase the full course or a specific module.  Learn more.

Course Modules:
  • Safety & Health (140 minutes /CEUs: 2.5) 

  • Practical Knowledge - Customer Service & Legal (40 minutes/CEUs: .75)

  • Pool Mathematics (1.5 hours/CEUs: 1.5)

  • Water Quality (2 hours and 20 minutes/CEUs: 2.5)

  • Structures & Finishes (1 hour and 35 minutes/CEUs: 1.5)

  • Circulation (1 hour/CEUs: 1.0)

  • Filtration (1 hour/CEUs: 1.0)

  • Electrical Components (1 hour and 50 minutes/CEUs: 2.0)

  • Heaters (2 hours/CEUs: 2.0)

  • Chemical Feeders & Generators (1 hour and 20 minutes/CEUs: 2.0)

  • Control Systems (1 hour and 10 minutes/CEUs: 1.0)

  • Maintenance (2 hours and 25 minutes/CEUs: 2.0)

Course Information:
Designed for those new to the pool industry or working a pool maintenance route, this course takes you through the PHTA Service Tech Manual and gives you what you need to conform to industry standards.  

  • The $473 (plus $24 shipping and handling) for members and $573 (plus $24 shipping and handling) for nonmembers online self-paced course price includes a copy of the PHTA Service Tech Manual and CMS Workbook
  • Those who complete the course will earn 24 CEUs and can test online at a PSI testing center, at a national, regional, or chapter-sponsored testing event, or at a local community college.

Information for States Requiring Certification

Due to licensing requirements, an exemption for the CMS course, known as the CMS Challenge Exam, is available for pool and spa technicians in states requiring certification. Download the CMS Challenge Exam application.

Test Locations

All PHTA certification exams are proctored and can be administered at a PHTA sanctioned educational event where testing is scheduled or through an authorized testing center. Candidates must submit a completed application at least 14 days in advance of their anticipated testing date.

To test at an PHTA national, regional or chapter-sponsored education and testing event: Access a list of upcoming events here.

To test at a local PSI center, view details online.

To test at a community college or university in your area: Proctored exams must be taken at an accredited college or university. You might have to pay an additional exam proctor fee, anywhere from $0 to $40. If you test at a college or university, you are responsible for:

  • Scheduling an appointment for testing.
  • Submitting the application at least two weeks before to your exam date to make sure you receive test materials in time.
  • Providing PHTA University with your name, mailing address and exam date.

PHTA does not maintain a list of testing centers. We rely on local community colleges and libraries that offer their proctoring services to the general public.

Course Materials and Forms

  • Application
    You have to submit a completed application at least two weeks before your testing date.
  • Exam Retest Form
    If you didn’t pass the exam, you can reschedule a retest within a year of your testing date and not have to take the course again.
  • PHTA Service Tech Manual
    Before ordering, check with APSP University to see if the course includes the materials.
  • CMS Certified Maintenance Specialist Workbook
    Before ordering, check with APSP University to see if the course includes the materials.
  • Certification Policy Handbook
    Find many of the answers to your certification questions in our Certification Policy Handbook.

Maintain Your Certification

Learn more about maintaining your status as an APSP-certified individual and continue to enjoy the associated benefits.

From Our Members

Jack Manilla - photo

We market the fact that we have certified professionals on our team. It gives us a competitive advantage. We explain to customers that, when you're certified, you agree to abide by a strict code of ethics and a higher commitment to customer care. The added confidence wins business.

Jack Manilla, CBP
Portofino Pools
Jacksonville, FL