Pool Reflections …
A day in the life of a Florida public pool inspector
By Lauren Broom
Since the introduction of Covid, pool operator certification training has definitely changed. The ease of taking CPO training from home and not having to pay for travel expenses has enticed many into taking online virtual CPO classes. Some of these students would have never benefitted from the training without the virtual format. There are also students who request an in-person CPO course. Those courses are still filling with students that like an in-person environment with hands on training. Ironically, Covid has opened many doors for training opportunities that weren’t available prior to the pandemic.
Education is a top priority for many pool companies as they move forward and try to remain competitive in their market. There are more options for training today than anytime in the past, so let’s discuss the difference between in-person CPO courses versus Virtual CPO courses.
A virtual CPO class can be taught by two different methods.
The first method is the Pool Operator Fusion option. This option includes an eight hour self-paced course along with a five hour live Zoom session with a PHTA CPO Instructor. After the five hour Zoom review session, the student takes a proctored online test.
The second method is the full virtual two day course taught just like the inperson two day course, but the full sixteen hours is administrated through Zoom by a PHTA CPO Instructor. The proctored test is also taken on the second day of instruction within the online environment.
Enrollment is as easy as locating a PHTA CPO Instructor online and registering through their website for a virtual CPO class on their schedule. The availability of learning opportunities has been expanded to more students, due to the ease of training presented by virtual CPO classes. The pool of instructors to choose from also increases with virtual CPO classes. Students are no longer restricted to instructors who only teach in their geographic area. There are a variety of teaching styles and experience from each instructor that may help the student in their learning process.
An obstacle with virtual CPO class is the equipment requirements — a student must have a laptop or desktop computer that has a webcam and microphone. The student may have to spend large amounts of money just to purchase the equipment in order to attend the virtual training. It is important to consider, as well, that virtual is not always the best option for every student. Class is held on a computer screen for the entire time. This of means there is no hands-on training. Additionally, if the student is not comfortable with computers and the online environment this might not be the best option for them. It is also more difficult for the instructor to determine when students are struggling with concepts contained in the curriculum.
The in-person CPO class can also be taught in either format, Fusion or Full 2
Lauren’s Online CPO Class
Lauren Broom is a Certified Pool Operator Course, CPO ® , instructor and a former health inspector for the Florida Department of Health. Lauren has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology and is a registered sanitarian.
She has 16-years of experience in commercial pool inspections and waterborne disease outbreak investigations.
Lauren lives in Palm Bay, Florida with her husband of 17 years and their 3 children. Lauren can be reached at [email protected] day, just like the virtual classes. A majority of instructors will have schedules that include mostly 2 day classes, but fusion students can also be integrated with the second day of any 2 day class.
The in-person class option allows for hands-on training in addition to the classroom instruction with a PHTA CPO Instructor. Instructors can easily see if students are struggling with concepts and address a different way to teach it. Hands-on training helps build on the concepts taught in the classroom portion. It allows students to do water testing and see a pool equipment area in person. Students’ interests can more easily be held by use of instructional methods that are simply unavailable through a virtual class.
Another positive for students to register for an in-person class is not having to meet certain technology requirements. The hesitation due to technology and the online environment are removed with an in-person class.
Location is a serious consideration with an in-person class if there are not enough instructors in your geographic area. The need to stay in a hotel for one or two nights will increase the cost to the student to get certified. The options on instructors that are available for students to pick from decreases and could detract from the optimum education of the student.
The educational opportunities for pool service technicians is greater today than ever and it is wonderful that pool operators have a variety of options to choose from regarding their education. Becoming educated in the field and having that certification to prove it is a step forward in the industry for the pool operator. The differences between the two class types have helped remove barriers to education, making this important training accessible to all. Hopefully the trend in education options will continue in other class types. Covid has definitely sped up this process and will continue into the future.