By Doug Walsh
Time was when manufacturers in the pool and spa industry typically took their technical training classes “on the road” during the fall and winter seasons to prepare a new cadre of service professionals in getting ready for the following year’s swim season.
From city to city across the country training teams brought hands-on systems to seasoned professionals and would-be technicians, qualifying them to install, trouble-shoot and repair sophisticated heating, circulation systems, automatic cleaners and more.
While economics and a new delivery system has changed that formula somewhat, we’re far from declaring the end of the industry’s “educational season.”
While training opportunities still abound, today's opportunities more commonly come at regional trade shows, trade association-sponsored training events, at manufacturer in-house training centers or — increasingly — over the Internet.
Once again our 2013 educational calendar fills pages in this and coming issues, thanks largely to the number of Certified Pool and Spa Operator courses listed by the National Swimming Pool Foundation.
In this annual Education Opportunity edition, we have compiled a list of as many of the training opportunities as we could locate that will be offered during 2013. At press time on Dec. 11 nearly 700 such opportunities had been entered into the Service Industry News database, representing training opportunities for service professionals in nearly every state plus Canada.
In this issue look for a complete calendar of educational opportunities for the entire year, arranged state-by-state, so you may conveniently refer to it to locate seminars in your part of the county. We have also included a directory of companies and trade groups that are staging educational events, with phone numbers, so you may contact them for more details.
This article will present a company-by-company and organization-by-organization breakdown technical seminars, so if you have interest in one particular product line you will be able to quickly find out what that company is offering.
And look for a complete outline of regional trade shows scheduled during the first three months of the year in our Jan. 15 issue.
While we make every attempt to contact all of the companies and organizations that offer educational seminars, some may have been missed. Some companies do not prepare their training schedule a year in advance, so as new seminars are announced, Service Industry News will publish the schedules as they become available.
During the year, our Educational Opportunity Calendar will be updated each issue to focus of the opportunities available in the coming month.
Following is our complete list of available programs that we've located as of Dec. 11, 2012:
Flight School is a technically oriented, combination classroom and hands-on AutoPilot chlorinator training seminar. This seven (7) hour program is CEU-approved by the State of Florida, and is designed for pool and spa service professionals already engaged in the business of installing, troubleshooting, and repairing pool & spa equipment. Likewise, this course should prove equally useful to Customer Service and Sales Agents who typically assist customers in diagnosing AutoPilot system or site related problems. To participate fully, some knowledge of basic electricity (and corresponding use of electrical test meters) is helpful.
Five Flight schools are scheduled through August 2013. at the company headquarters in The dates are Jan. 22, St. Petersburg, Fla..; Feb. 19, Fort Lauderdale; March 19, St. Petersburg; June 18, St. Petersburg and Aug. 20, Fort Lauderdale.
In addition, the company plans 10 3-hour classes featuring training on AutoPilot Clorinators and AquaCal Heat Pumps. These classes are scheduled for March 21, Naples; April 16, St. Petersburg; May 21, Fort Lauderdale; May 23, Orlando; July 16, Fort Lauderdale; July 18, Fort Myers; Sept. 17, St. Petersburg; Sept. 19, Fort Lauderdale; Oct. 15, Jacksonville; and Oct. 17, Orlando..
For more information, or to make a reservation, contact AquaCal Inc., 2737-24th St. North, St. Petersburg, FL 33713. Telephone 727-823-5642. Online www.aquacal.com.
Aquatic Commercial Consulting
Aquatic Commercial Consulting of Saratoga, Calif., schedules 16-hour Aquatic Facility Operator Certification courses throughout the year.
Designed for those working in public and semi-public recreation pool or water park facilities, the AFO program offers a unique discussion of risk management not usually directed at operations personnel. In-depth instruction is offered in filtration, water testing, treatments, disinfection, design considerations, facility management, risk management and facility trouble-shooting.
Classes are planned in Northern California in Sacramento, Jan. 23-24, and Oakland, April 16-17.
For details, including costs and registration, contact Julie Billington at Aquatic Commercial Consulting, Saratoga, CA 95071. Telephone 800-660-5202 or email email@example.com.
Aquatic Training Institute
The Aquatic Training Institute offers a variety of online Continuing Education classes for swimming pool contractors, pool operators seeking to be certified, swimming pool technicians and other swimming pool professionals.
Classes carry the prestigious ANSI and IACET accreditations and are suitable to satisfy most states CE requirements.
The firm even has specific categories for Florida swimming pool operators and contractors, as well as classes for those seeking to renew their Aquatic Facility Operators license.
Online classes are available for pool chemical safety, pool and spa maintenance, pool circulation systems, swimming pool calculations, water chemistry and balancing and more.
If you are seeking a completely online alternative to the Certified Pool Operators course, check out the Certified Pool Technician online certification course.
For more information, contact the ATI at 800-385-0270. Or visit the institute online at http://aquatictraininginstitute.com.
The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals offers certification programs for CSP Certified Service Professional®, CMS Certified Maintenance Specialist and CST Certified Service Technician.
There are no pre-requisites for these programs — service techs should take the program that best matches their job and experience — and move up to take the next level whenever it is appropriate. The length of each certification will be three years, and each certificate is renewable through the completion of 24 hours of continuing education during that three-year period.
Technicians new to the industry will want to pursue the CMS. There are no pre-requisites and the curriculum is covered in approximately 16 hours of instruction (2-1/2 day program). The curriculum and open-book, multiple choice exam focuses on 4 key areas — Safety, Pool Circulation and Filtration, Pool Maintenance, and Water Chemistry — but the course also covers important topics such as electrical systems, pool structures and finishes, heaters and controls, and customer service.
The CST program more in-depth and technicians should have at least 1-2 years of experience in pool/spa service and repair to expect to be successful on the certification exam. The course is approximately 4½ days in length and the exam requires the ability to apply your technical knowledge to situations encountered in the field. As such, this program demands a level of technical knowledge that only comes with some on-the-job experience.
Technicians with 5 years or more of advanced level technical service repair and trouble-shooting experience, as well as 24 hours of continuing education courses, can qualify for the CSP level of certification.
The education component of each of the courses is rooted in the APSP Service Tech Manual, and is a required purchase to take one of the certification exams. Technicians attending a Tech School normally receive the manual with their registration fee.
The APSP also offers a Certified Hot Tub Technician program, a 2.5-day live seminar that covers the essentials of portable hot tub service, and equipment repair and replacement. Instruction will be given by industry experts will use the APSP Hot Tub Technician Manual as the textbook for the course. This 348-page, full-color manual covers all makes and models and offers a wide body of practical knowledge on servicing and troubleshooting manufactured hot tubs.
The upcoming dates and locations already confirmed for Tech Schools include:
• Kansas City, Mo, Jan. 8-11, PSCC and CST.
• Schamburg, Ill. (Mid-America Pool & Spa Show), Jan. 21-25, CMS, CST and CHTT.
• Atlantic City, N.J. (Atlantic City Pool & Spa Show), Jan. 28-29, CBP and CSP.
• Atlanta, Ga., (Southeast Pool & Spa Show), Feb. 4-7, PSCC, CMS and CST.
• Ocean City, Md., (Region 2 Tech School), Feb. 4-8, CMS and CST.
• Phoenix, Ariz., February TBD, Service TBD.
• San Antonio, Texas (Southwest Pool & Spa Show), Feb. 27-28, CMS, CST and CHTT.
• Los Angeles, Calif., March 6-9, PSCC.
• Memphis, Tenn., March 12-15, PSCC, CST.
More classes will be added as they are scheduled. For more information, contact the APSP education office, 703-838-0083. Or visit online at www.apsp.org.
Bay State Pools
Bay State Pools will offer training opportunities at its two special events scheduled early in 2013.
The 14th Annual Northeast Opportunity Day will be held Feb. 11-12 in Uncasville, Conn. The Third Annual Mid-Atlantic Opportunity Day will be held Feb. 20-21 in Baltimore, Md.
Look for details on the company website at www.baystatepools.com. Telephone 800-351-5743.
Through its affiliate Aquatic Parts Co. of Bloomfield, Conn., the company also offers training classes for spa service technicians in early 2013. For more information about Spa Tech Classes, telephone 800-234-6700. Online www.apcpoolandspaparts.com.
The manufacturer of a full line of pH/ORP automatic chemical controllers, Chemtrol schedules monthly seminars at its Santa Barbara, Calif.-based headquarters.
The 2-day seminars are open to pool and spa companies and their employees who specialize in commercial chemical automation applications and include full training on the firm's products and water chemistry. Reservations are required and class size is limited so that individual instruction can be maximized.
Seminars are normally scheduled at the company headquarters on the second Thursday and Friday of each month, normally during the off season, October through April. But those interested should call or check the company website for updates throughout the year. A seminar registration form is also available at the firm’s website.
For more information, contact Chemtrol, c/o Santa Barbara Control Systems, 5375 Overpass Road, Santa Barbara, CA 93111. Telephone 800-621-2279. Online sbcontrol.com.
Commercial Energy Specialists
Commercial Energy Specialists schedules 2-day courses for Florida pool professionals seeking their Aquatic Facility Operator certification.
The course provides in-depth instruction on filtration, disinfection, water testing and treatment, design considerations, facility management, risk management and facility trouble-shooting.
The AFO certification course is specifically designed for those persons working in public, hotel, condominium, semi-public and municipal or waterpark facilities. Training includes a section specific to Florida State Health Code requirements.
At press time, just one class has been scheduled for 2013. It’s in Orlando, Fla., on Feb. 13-14.
For more information contact Commercial Energy Specialists, 860 Jupiter Park Drive, Suite 2, Jupiter, FL 33458-8958. Telephone 561-354-2718. Online ceswaterquality.com.
The Foundation for Pool and Spa Industry Education offers swimming pool tech education in a number of disciplines at its training facilities in Sacramento, Calif.
The 2013 schedule of classes currently list just online courses in Water Chemistry; Basic Hydraulics & Systems Components; Basic Electricity; Heater & Controllers Maintenance; and Safety, Customer Service & Construction.
In addition the training facilities are home to a number of Certified Pool & Spa Operator’s classes, sponsored by the National Swimming Pool Foundation
Check the FPSIE website for additional classes that may be scheduled later in the year. For more information, contact the FPSIE, 598 Display Way, Sacramento, CA 95838. Telephone 916-922-8895. Online www.fpsie.org.
Hayward Pool Products/Goldline Controls continues its Mobile Training Center seminars with stops around the country during of 2013.
Seminars are scheduled for industry partners and cover a specific topic such as heaters, hydraulics & sizing, cleaners, controllers and salt generation.
Hayward's Mobile Training Centers are fully stocked work areas for diagnosis, troubleshooting and hands-on training of Hayward product. POP-like displays for product demonstrations and advanced audio-visual tools for instruction transform the MTC into a multi-purpose education lab. Transparent and cutaway displays offer an inside look at how products work and self-contained electric, gas and water hookups allow many of the displays to act as simulators.
Service, contractor, retail and distribution firms interested in having the MTC visit their location should contact the numbers below. Ideal class sizes range from 10-20, and each seminar is less than two hours.
Persons interested in personalized the training to that audience should contact Hayward at 336-712-9900 or 909-594-1600. Online Hayward-pool.com.
Jack's Magic Products will continue its Certified Stain Specialist (CSS) training seminars in 2013.
As a CSS, professionals will receive comprehensive training in stain identification; common causes of stains and discoloration; stain removal; how to best prevent stains and discoloration; the role of water chemistry and balance; and understanding products and methods most effective in identifying, preventing and removing stains and discoloration.
The company offers classes at major trade shows around the country and to companies requesting training.
For more information on training opportunities, contact Jack's Magic Products, 12435 73rd Court, Largo, FL 33773. Telephone 800-348-1656. Online www.jacksmagic.com.
Main Line Commercial Pools
Main Line Commercial Pools Inc. of King of Prussia, Penn., offers 2-day Aquatic Facilities Operator certification courses.
The course uses the National Recreation and Park Association AFO manual as its textbook. The manual, which has just come out with its 6th edition, is one of the most comprehensive available on pool operations.
Topics covered in the class include health department code reviews, circulation, filtration, specialty chemicals, sanitation, water balance, automation, pool covers, safety considerations, risk management and more.
Upon successful completion and a 50-question exam, the NRPA officially certifies participants. The certification is recognized by Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Washington D.C. health departments.
At press time, two classes were scheduled during 2013. They include:
• May 8-9, Spring ValleyYMCA, in Limerick, Penn.
• Sept. 24-25, Luther Acres, Lititz, Penn.
For more information, contact Main Line Commercial Pools, 441 Feheley Drive, King of Prussia, PA 19406. Telephone 610-279-9285. Online www.mainlinepools.com.
The National Recreation & Park Association sponsors 2-day Aquatic Facility Operator Courses throughout the country.
The AFO program is an advanced, state-of-the-art educational training program for those persons managing and operating aquatic facilities. The AFO program is fast becoming the leading training opportunity for pool operators and aquatic facility managers in the United States and to date has certified over 16,000 aquatic facility operators in the 16 years of existence.
The AFO certification course is a training program specifically designed to meet the needs of those working in public, semi-public, and municipal pool or waterpark facilities. The AFO program offers a unique discussion of risk management, not usually directed towards operations personnel. The course is designed to provide information and training for both supervisory and operations personnel.
Classes scheduled for 2013 include:
• Indianapolis, Ind., Jan.8-9. Indiana Park & Recreation Association.
• Highland Ranch, Colo., Jan. 30-Feb. 1, Anderson Aquatics.
• Phoenix, Ariz., Feb. 6-7, Arizona Parks & Recreation Association.
• Cameron Park, Calif., Jan. 23-24, Aquatic Commercial Consulting.
• Orlando, Fla., Feb. 13-14, Commercial Energy Specialists.
• East Lansing, Mich., Feb. 25-26, Michigan Recreation & Park Association.
• Lawrence, Kan., March 14-15, Kansas Recreation & Park Association.
• Plymouth Township, Penn., March 19-20, Pennsylvania Recreation & Park Association.
• Piedmont, Calif., April 9-10, Aquatic Commercial Consulting.
• Wichita, Kan., April 11-12, Kansas Recreation & Park Association.
• Billings, Mont., May 2-3, City of Billings Park, Recreation Department.
• Limerick, Penn., May 8-9, Main Line Commercial Pools, Inc.
• Lititz, Penn., Sept. 24-25, Main Line Commercial Pools, Inc.
For more information, contact the NRPA, 22377 Belmont Ridge Road, Ashburn, VA 20148-4501. Telephone 800-626-NRPA (6772). Online www.nrpa.org.
The Northeast Spa & Pool Association offers hands-on training through its Professional Training Institute.
In addition to a number of classes offered at the Atlantic City Pool & Spa Show in January, the following 2013 PTI classes have been scheduled:
• Feb 21 & 22 — Special 2-day Business Program with Rex Richard. Day 1 Session; Grow Your Business, Double Your Profits, Retire Rich & Have the Time of Your Life; Day 2 Session: Get Searched, Rank High, Go Viral! Make The Web Work For You! Class is scheduled for NESPA headquarters, 6 B South Gold Dr., Hamilton, N.J. Member & Non-member: $249 per day/session or $399 for both days/sessions.
• Feb 25 - March 1 — APSP Certified Service Technician (CST), Ethan Allen Hotel, Danbury, Conn. Member: $500; Non-member: $650. 4th Edition Tech manual required. Additional $128.40 (incl. tax).
• Feb 25-March 1 — APSP Certified Service Technician (CST), West Chester, Penn. (Contact PJ Chapter/Jennifer 856-223-8801 for registration details).
• Feb 25 - Feb 27 — APSP Certified Maintenance Specialist (CMS), West Chester, Penn. (Contact PJ Chapter/Jennifer 856-223-8801 for registration details).
• March 4-March 6 — APSP Certified Maintenance Specialist (CMS), Ethan Allen Hotel, Danbury, Conn. Member: $350; Non-member: $475. 4th Edition Tech manual required. Additional $128.40 (incl. tax).
• March 7 — (Aquron Waterproofing) Key Application Training, 6 B South Gold Dr., Hamilton, N.J. Members & Non-members: $545.
• March 11-March 15 — APSP Certified Service Technician (CST), Location to be determined/Long Island. Member: $500; Non-member: $650. 4th Edition Tech manual required. Additional $128.40 (incl. tax) .
• March 11-March 15 — APSP Certified Service Technician (CST), Saddle Brook, N.J. (Contact Metro Chapter/Lynn 201-391-3800 for registration details).
• March 14 — Vinyl Liner Repair & Replacement, NESPA, 6 B South Gold Dr., Hamilton, N.J. Member $125; Non-member $150.
• March 19 - March 21 — APSP Certified Maintenance Specialist (CMS), 6 B South Gold Dr., Hamilton, N.J. Member: $350; Non-member: $475. 4th Edition Tech manual required. Additional $128.40 (incl. tax).
• March 26 — Getting Ready for the Season: Pool Opening & Water Chemistry, 6 B South Gold Dr., Hamilton, N.J. Member $125; Non-member $150.
• March 27 — Getting Ready for the Season: Pool Opening & Water Chemistry (Encore), 6 B South Gold Dr., Hamilton, N.J. Member $125; Non-member $150.
All classes are scheduled from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. (unless noted otherwise).
For more information or registration, contact the Northeast Spa & Pool Association, 6B South Gold Drive, Hamilton, NJ 08691. Telephone 609-689-9111. Online www.nespapool.org.
At press time, the National Swimming Pool Foundation had scheduled more than 350 Certified Pool and Spa Operator's courses in cities across the country during 2013.
Certification is required to operate public swimming pools in many municipalities. Students learn the basics in water chemistry, equipment trouble-shooting and repair, care of equipment and pool management. Many of the courses are offered by co-sponsoring organizations, and fees vary.
Students receive 16 hours of instruction and must pass an examination to become certified.
For a listing of CPO classes scheduled to date in your area, consult the educational calendar.
Remember that more classes will be added to the schedule as the year goes on, so be sure to check the Educational Opportunities Calendar that appears in each issue of Service Industry News for added CPO courses in your state.
For more information on CPO courses, contact the National Swimming Pool Foundation, 4775 Granby Circle, Colorado Springs, CO 80919. Telephone 719-540-9119. Or log onto www.nspf.org.
Pentair Pool Products
Pentair Water Pool & Spa of Sanford, N.C., is in the midst of its 2012-‘13 Equipment Training seminar schedule, which this season still has more than 40 one- and two-day training programs in cities across the U.S. and Canada.
Topics will include basic hydraulics and equipment sizing, automation, variable frequency drive pumps, heater installation and repair, basic electrical theory, color LED and halogen lighting safety and installation, automatic chlorine generation, filtration and advanced water features and heat pump installation and operation.
The January schedule includes:
Van Nuys, Calif., Jan. 8; Mount Laurel, N.J., Jan. 9; Thousand Oaks, Calif., Jan.10; Phoenix, Ariz., Jan. 15; Renton (Seattle), Wash., Jan.15; Fresno, Calif., Overland Park, Kan., Jan. 16; Schaumburg, Ill., Jan. 21; Ontario, Calif., Jan. 22; Tucson, Ariz., Jan. 22; Sacramento, Calif., Jan. 29-30.
The February schedule includes:
Louisville, Ky., Feb. 5; Fort Washington, Penn., Feb. 5; Sacramento, Calif., Feb. 5-6; Fort Washington, Penn., Feb. 6; Torrance, Calif., Feb. 12-13; St. Louis, Mo., Feb. 7-8; Salt Lake City, Utah, Feb. 12; Harrisburg, Penn., Feb. 12; Wilkes-Barre, Penn., Feb. 13; Cincinnati, Ohio, Feb. 19; Toms River, N.J., Feb. 19-20; San Jose, Calif., Feb. 19-20; Indianapolis, Ind., Feb. 21; Denver, Colo., Feb. 27; Santa Rosa, Calif., Feb. 27-28; Milwaukee, Wis., Feb. 27-28; Las Vegas, Feb. 27-28.
The March schedule includes:
Concord, Calif. March 5-6; Minneapolis, Minn., March 5-6; Wayne, N.J., March 5-6; Spokane, Wash., March 6; Kelowna, Can., March 12; Shelton, Conn., March 12-13; Boise, Id., March 19; Oklahoma City, Okla., March 19; Hauppauge, N.Y., March 19-20; Wayne, N.J., March 26 (Commercial); Marlborough, Mass., March 26-27; Marlborough, Mass., March 28 (Commercial);
April classes include:
Reno, Nev., April 3; and Laval, Quebec, Canada, April 2-3.
The cost to attend any of the above programs is $95 per person, or the cash equivalent in Pentair Water Pool and Spa Partners Incentive Reward Dollars, and includes lunch and all workshop materials. The training kit includes course outlines and manuals, a calculator, pen, specialty tool assortment and a magnifying ruler. Course outlines have been developed to serve not only as educational tools but also as valuable field guides.
Class sizes are limited and early registration is suggested.
To register, or to learn more about Pentair’s online training opportunities, contact Pentair Water Pool and Spa at 888-755-7946. Or visit the company online at www.pentairtraining.com.
Portofino Pools of Jacksonville, Fla., has announced its schedule of training classes for 2013, to be conducted by the company’s Training Institute under the auspices of the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals (APSP) and the National Swimming Pool Foundation (NSPF).
All classes will be held in Jacksonville. Upcoming classes include:
• APSP Certified Maintenance Specialist —Jan. 30 – Feb. 1; March 27-29; April 24-26; June 26-28 July 24-26; Aug. 28-30; Sept. 25-27th, 2013; Oct. 23-25; and Nov. 13-15.
• NSPF Certified Pool & Spa Operator — Jan. 9-10; Feb. 27-28; March 13-14; April 10- 11; May 8-9; June 12-13; July 10-11; Aug. 14-15; Sept. 11-12; Oct. 9-10; and Nov. 6-7.
• NSPF CPO Fusion — Jan. 10; Feb. 28; March 14; April 11; May 9; June 14; July 11, Aug. 15; Sept. 12; Oct. 10th, 2013; and Nov. 7.
• NSPF Aquatic Risk Management — Jan. 3; Feb. 7; March 7; April 4; May 2; June 6; Aug. 8; Sept. 5; and Oct. 3.
• NSPF Emergency Response Management — Jan 3; Feb. 7; March 7; April 4; May 2; June 6; Aug. 8; Sept. 5; and Oct. 3.
For details, contact Portofino Pools, 6005 Powers Ave., Suite 101, Jacksonville, FL 32217. Phone 904-731-3144. Online www.portofinopools.com.
Raypak Inc. of Oxnard, Calif., offers training opportunities in 21 cities across the country in early 2013. The 4-hour classes are free and include basic instruction on installation, trouble-shooting and repair on the company’s line of residential and commercial heaters.
In addition to training, students receive a toolbox, training manual and other useful materials.
By state, classes on the 2013 schedule include:
• Alabama — Birmingham, Feb. 21.
• Arkansas — Rogers, March 19; Van Buren, March 20; and Little Rock, March 21.
• Georgia — Savannah, Feb. 12; Valdosta, Feb. 13; Norcross, Feb. 14 & Feb. 15.
• Kansas — Overland Park, Jan. 8.
• Missouri — Maryland Heights, Jan. 10.
• North Carolina — Raleigh, March 11; Pineville/Charlotte, March 12
• New Jersey — Tinton Falls, Feb. 5; Parsippany, Feb. 6.
• New York — Ronkonkoma, Feb. 7.
• South Carolina — Greer, March 13; Columbia, March 14.
• Tennessee — Memphis, Feb. 19; Nashville, Feb. 20.
• Texas — Houston, Jan. 29; San Antonio, Jan.30; Austin, Jan. 31.
For more information, or to register, contact Raypak Inc., 2151 Eastman Ave., Oxnard, CA 93030. Telephone 805-278-5300. Online www.raypak.com.
Zodiac Pool Care
Zodiac University is an online training and education resource for pool professionals. A free tool for licensed professionals, it provides the same manufacturer-level training that Zodiac employees receive, in a web-based forum.
With this new tool, pros can learn how to install, service and troubleshoot Zodiac, Polaris, and Jandy Pro Series brand products, and with a full library of classes, videos, manuals and more, it will be a one-stop-shop for all your product training needs.
The site is launching in early 2013, so look for more information on Zodiac University soon, or visit www.ZodiacPremium.com.