Online CPO Certification: How to Prepare for the Test

online cpo certification

Are you ready to take your career in the pool and spa industry to the next level? Becoming a Certified Pool Operator (CPO) is a great way to open new doors and hone your craft.

To achieve your CPO certification, you’ll need to complete a rigorous exam that puts your skills and knowledge to the test. By preparing ahead of time, you can confidently complete this step and achieve your credentials.

Today, we’re sharing the steps to take to get ready for your CPO test, and how our online CPO certification makes this step easier and more accessible than ever before.

What Is a CPO Certification?

The Certified Pool Operator (CPO) certification is an accreditation issued by the Pool and Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA).

In 2019, the National Swimming Pool Foundation (NSPF) and the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals (APSP) merged to form the PHTA. 

Health departments mandate that anyone who intends to operate a public swimming pool or hot tub/spa must have their CPO certification. Yet, anyone who works within the pool industry can benefit from achieving this credential. 

A CPO certification covers every aspect of pool operation and maintenance, from disinfection and water balance to filtration and facility safety. You’ll learn the ins and outs of chemical testing, feed, and control as well as how to stay compliant with your local regulations and guidelines. 

This certification is valid for five years. To earn it, you will need to pass a CPO Exam with a grade of 75% or higher.

Tips to Prepare for the CPO Exam

As with any test, you’ll need to plan and study in advance before you take this exam. Let’s take a look at a few of our top CPO Certification Test preparation tips.

Tip 1: Study the Handbook

You can find everything you need to know to pass the exam in the PHTA Pool and Spa Operator Handbook. The exam is open book, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s overly easy.

This is a comprehensive guide that includes 18 different chapters, as well as a glossary and appendices. It’s incredibly informative, but it’s important to know how to approach the material.

As you read and absorb the content, take notes on key sections so you can review and remember them later. Highlight important information that you think you might see again on the exam. You can even create tabs to place on the outside of your handbook that can help you find each section easier. 

As you study, keep in mind that some note-taking methods are more effective than others. This guide can help you understand the four different stages of taking notes, including:

  • Taking
  • Making
  • Interacting
  • Reflecting

You don’t have to memorize every section of this handbook, but it is a good idea to understand the concepts and know how to apply them. 

Tip 2: Sign Up for Our Online Course

We know that poring over 18 chapters on your own can be a little daunting. It’s easy to miss critical information without a helpful guide by your side.

That’s why we condensed the information into a user-friendly e-learning course! Our Pool Operator Primer (POP) takes around eight to 10 hours to complete and is entirely self-guided and self-paced. In addition, it’s 100% virtual.

That means you can complete it on your own time, working around your own schedule. If you need to space your study sessions out, that’s fine. Or, you can sit down and complete everything in one day!

Before you schedule your test date, consider how much time you’ll need to complete the course. Then, be sure to choose a date that’s far enough out. 

During the course, you’ll learn about a variety of topics covered in the PHTA Pool and Spa Operator Handbook, such as:

  • Water chemistry
  • Industry and regulatory standards
  • Pool system maintenance
  • Pool and spa design

This is a great way to cover the subjects in the exam in a way that’s both convenient and easy to understand. Once you complete the course, you should be ready to take your exam and earn your CPO certification online. 

Tip 3: Learn From a Qualified Instructor

One of the most important tips in our CPO Certification Test preparation guide is to learn from a qualified and experienced instructor. 

This step makes a huge difference and ensures that you’re getting top-notch material from a knowledgeable expert who’s well-versed in every aspect of pool operation. 

When you prepare with us, you’ll work one-on-one with CPO-certified “Pool Guy”, Chad Bland. By career, Chad is a swimming pool service and repair professional. He’s also accredited by the PHTA as a CPO instructor. 

Once you take and pass your exam, you can enjoy three months of direct text message support from Chad. He’ll be on hand to guide you through this next phase of your career and answer any questions you might have. 

Tip 4: Stay Calm on Test Day

You’ve completed our POP course, and you know the handbook like the back of your hand. Now, the big moment is here. It’s time to take your CPO Certification online test!

On your designated testing day, you’ll complete everything via Zoom with one of our certified CPO instructors. We offer a range of different testing times based on Pacific, Mountain, Central, and Eastern time zones. 

As long as you stay calm, keep your handbook and notes close by, and pace yourself, you can confidently pass the exam and receive your CPO certification.

Once you do, you’re officially a certified pool operator! 

Earn Your Online CPO Certification

If you want to elevate your career in the pool industry, there’s one credential you’ll need more than any other: your CPO! At Pool Certs, we’re dedicated to helping students learn and apply the knowledge they need to achieve their online CPO certification.

The best part? Everything is available through your computer, so you never have to worry about driving to a testing center or study location. 

When you’re ready to get started, sign up for an exam date today!

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