Renowned pool/spa chemical expert Robert Lowry and top plaster specialist Greg Garrett have developed a pool/spa chemistry education program and certification.

The duo has formed the Pool Chemistry Training Institute (PCTI), with the mission of providing intensive classes devoted solely to residential pool and spa chemistry. So far, they have developed a core class, called the Pool Chemistry Certified Residential (PCC-R) course. It contains six hours of instruction, one hour of review and a one-hour exam containing 50 multiple-choice and true/false questions.

Topics include the basics of water balance; calculations, measurements and conversions; the use and benefits of borates; alternative sanitation methods; and in-depth looks at borates, cyanuric acid and the Langelier Saturation Index (LSI), among others.

Upon passing the test, professionals will be certified for three years before renewal is needed. Certified individuals receive a patch, the ability to use the emblem in advertising, and a listing on PCTI’s website.

Lowry and Garrett will beta test the course in September and October in the Northern California cities of Concord and Sacramento, Southern California towns of Canoga Park and Ontario, and in Phoenix.

Garrett said he and Lowry developed the program because they see a gap in knowledge when it comes to the why’s of pool/spa chemistry. Garrett saw this in his decades teaching start-up certification and other courses for the National Plasterers Council.

“With all that travel I did, my number-one concern was people just not understanding the fundamentals of water chemistry — things like how to calculate carbonate alkalinity and what is the LSI.”

Lowry and Garrett are exploring the possibility registering the course for continuing education units with other trade associations. In the long-term, they plan outreach to gain brand recognition among consumers for the certification.

The pair expect to broaden their curriculum after the core class becomes established. As demand increases, they will conduct instructor training for the courses.

The PTCI will be headquartered in the Phoenix area with Garrett’s other company, Applied Materials Technology. Lowry will travel from his home in Lima, Peru to teach.

Lowry has worked in the industry since 1973 and written 18 books. At one time, he was co-owner of Leisure Time Chemical. Garrett has long served as NPC’s technical services director, in unofficial and official capacities. He ends his official tenure in the position this September.