On December 11th, 1992 the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and the National Certification Board (NCB) voted to approve the Aquatic Facility Operator (AFO) certification. The decision was made after surveys showed that over 200,000 swimming pools were operated by NRPA member agencies. The decision was also made after much feedback provided by the NRPA Aquatics Community showed a need for a swimming pool operators course focused on the needs of larger municipal and semipublic pools. The teaching materials were expanded in 2001 to include an updated instructor manual and the first ever Power Point presentation.


The AFO Program is an advanced, state-of-the-art educational training program for those persons managing and operating aquatic facilities. Today, 60% of all park and recreation agencies offer aquatics programming and facilities to their communities. Over 70% of agencies serving populations greater than 50,000 provide aquatic facilities to their communities. The AFO program remains the premier professional certification offered to the aquatics profession and helps to ensure the health and efficiency of our public recreational waters. 

Volunteer Recognition

The National Certification Board, AFO Certification Committee, and AFO Exam Committee support the achievements of the NRPA mission and are dedicated to enhancing the profession of parks, recreation and leisure services by providing premier certifications in the industry.

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