Snohomish Aquatic Center
Lara Swimmer Snohomish Aquatic Center

The National Aquatic Management School will be back in session.

After being on hiatus for nearly two years, NAMS, a product of the National Recreation and Park Association, is being revamped as a series of online courses and webinar events. Classes could begin appearing online any day now, but a formal launch may happen by the end of the year.

“We’re hoping to make a big splash in the next month or so,” said Caroline Smith, senior manager of professional development with the NRPA.

NAMS was for many years the educational component of the National Aquatic Conference & Exposition, which was under the purview of the NRPA. The aquatics show, however, couldn’t stand on its own and was folded into the NRPA’s annual conference in 2012. NAMS then became a blended learning program whereby attendees had to complete several online modules before taking in-person classes at the NRPA show.

This didn’t sit well with some in the aquatics community who felt NAMS better served their field strictly as an in-person networking event. Some volunteers who helped steer the NRPA’s aquatics programs resigned as a result.

The last time NAMS was offered was at the NRPA’s 2013 conference.

Meanwhile, the NRPA’s Aquatic Facility Operator certification program has continued to serve the industry. But the AFO program only goes so far, Smith explained. The NRPA felt that there was still a strong need for curricula tailored to aquatics professionals who operate at a higher level than your average AFO and decided to launch a new and improved management school.

“NAMS has always been for those who oversee a number of facilities,” Smith said.

Courses will cover the spectrum of the aquatics field, including maintenance, risk management, marketing and human resources.

There likely will be six courses in all and at least two live webinars.

The NRPA is looking for input as NAMS undergoes a makeover. Those with advice or suggestions are invited to contact Caroline Smith at