Become a Certified Pool & Spa Maintenance Specialist

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.  

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

Prerequisites to Apply (no industry experience required!)

  • Successful completion of the Certified Maintenance Specialist® (CMS®) course (for those candidates that practice in states that require the CMS for licensing, please read the "Information for States Requiring Certification" section below)
  • Pass the CMS Exam

Online CMS Course

This on-demand, self-paced, online format is interactive and engaging with videos, quizzes, and exercises. Those who complete the course will earn 24 CEUs, and are eligible to take the CMS certification exam.

Purchase the On-Demand CMS Course

Instructor-Led CMS Course

Attend a live in-person or virtual CMS course with fellow students, led by a PHTA Instructor.

Find a CMS Course Near You

Unable to find a live course in your area? Contact service@phta.org to be put in touch with an instructor.

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)

Exam Information

To become certified as a CMS® (Certified Maintenance Specialist®), you must complete the CMS course and take the CMS Exam. An additional registration form and $115 fee for the CMS Exam is required. The CMS Exam is 1.5 hours long, open book, with 75 multiple-choice questions. You must score 75% or better to pass.

Exam Content Breakdown

Unit Number of Questions
Unit 1: Safety 7 questions
Unit 2: Practical Knowledge 4 questions
Unit 3: Water Quality 17 questions
Unit 4: Structures and Finishes 3 questions
Unit 5: Circulation and Filtration 15 questions
Unit 6: Electrical Requirements (includes lighting) 4 questions
Unit 7: Heaters & Optional Equipment 6 questions
Unit 8: Control Systems 5 questions
Unit 9: Maintenance 14 questions
  75 questions total

Choose How to Take the Exam

Candidates must submit a completed application at least 14 days in advance of their anticipated testing date.

  • On a computer at a Prometric computer testing center near you. Computer testing gives immediate test results and flexible time to take the exam.
  • On a computer remotely proctored at your convenience. Remote proctored computer testing gives immediate test results and unparalleled flexibility to take the exam.
  • At a PHTA national, regional, or chapter-sponsored testing event. A list of upcoming events can be found here. You will receive your exam results via email 3 weeks after the exam.
  • At an accredited community college or university in your area. Additional proctoring fees may cost up to $40. Contact your local community colleges and libraries to find your nearest proctored testing center. You will be responsible for scheduling an appointment for testing. You will need to provide PHTA with your name, mailing address, and exam date.

Please contact PHTA at service@phta.org for additional information on the CMS Exam and application process.

Information for States Requiring Certification

Due to licensing requirements, some states do not require completion of the CMS course, in which case a candidate must still be able to document completion of 24 hours of continuing education (CEU) and pass the CMS exam.

Course Materials and Forms

  • Application: Must be submitted 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 and CMS Certified Maintenance Specialist Workbook (included in the price of the CMS Course):
    The PHTA Service Tech Manual is a valuable reference tool used by professionals throughout the pool and spa industry. Get comprehensive information about pool and spa technology and providing professional service and repair. The CMS Workbook guides you through the Service Tech Manual as you study.
  • 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 PHTA-certified individual and continue to enjoy the associated benefits. Find the recertification application here.

Application for recertification is due on or before December 31 of the year your certification expires. Failure to recertify by that time, or by the end of the 90 day grace period (April 1 of the following year), will result in a late fee being applied to your certification. Up to 1 year past your certification expiration, you will need to reapply for certification, submit proof of total continuing education hours, and pay the recertification fee and the late penalty. For questions or clarification, please contact PHTA at service@phta.org or 719-540-9119.

From Our Members

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

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