The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals is creating a nationwide clearinghouse for educational programs.

Dubbed the Career Institute, the new branch will have its own polices and procedures and will fall under the authority of the APSP board of directors.

The idea is to streamline educational offerings and make certification more accessible. This includes APSP?s own programs, manufacturers, the National Swimming Pool Foundation, the Foundation for Pool & Spa Industry Education, and myriad of other venues.

The idea came in the wake of a survey conducted by Duluth, Ga.-based P.K. Data. The survey found that what people wanted most from their APSP membership was education.

But getting education can be very costly, said Kathleen Carlson, an APSP board member on the education task force. ?There is the cost of sending [employees] away and putting them up in hotel rooms. Some of these classes are two to five days long and means additional investment. We had to make it more accessible for everyone.?

The education task force also realized that there was too much redundancy within the industry?s many educational offerings. The newly created Career Institute will establish the specific learning points and discern what courses cover them. This will include classes offered by manufacturers as well.

In addition to streamlining educational opportunities, the Career Institute will also help industry members track their progress toward certification. In some cases, people are not aware how close they are to qualify for certification. APSP wants it to get underway by next fall.