APRA receives many questions regarding the difference between the AFO and CPO Certifications. 

We can speak to our experience and a bit of the curriculum for each, but would not feel comfortable promoting one over the other as it is a personal and professional choice for you. The Arizona Parks and Recreation Association only offers the AFO Course and Exam at this time.

Although we do have members with a CPO certifications, we can relay that we have far more who are AFO certified. The name Aquatic Facility Operator may be a bit deceiving but AFO covers the same pool operations and maintenance information as CPO, and the size of the facility does not matter. It’s applicable to all sizes.  

Below you will find a quick list of the focus areas for each course; hopefully you find it useful. We also encourage you to reach out to a city near you and see if someone in their aquatics department might provide additional insights and preference for their community.

Good luck in your decision!




  • Pool & Spa Codes
  • Pool Calculations
  • Filters & Filtration
  • Pool Water Sanitizing
  • Chemical Balance
  • Spas/Hot Tub & Therapy Pools
  • Water Testing
  • Pool & Spa Maintenance
  • Pool Operational Problems
  • Disease & Accident Prevention
  • National Standards (ADA/Accessibility, CDC, Model Aquatic Health Code, and OSHA)
  • Pool Calculations
  • Filters & Filtration
  • Water Chemistry
  • Spas/Hot Tub & Therapy Pools
  • Water Testing, Treatment and Balance
  • Pool Maintenance
  • Corrective and Preventative Operations (circulation, pumps, flow meters, heaters, feeders)
  • Health & Safety (disease, accident prevention and reporting)


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