The Aquatic Facility Operator (AFO) certification provides the most comprehensive and up-to-date training on operations, mechanical systems, water chemistry, disinfection, safety and much more. AFO certification will help you or your staff better understand the entire pool system and run all types of aquatic facilities safely, efficiently and confidently.

Why Become an AFO?

  • Learn from expert instructors and network with other professionals from the field.
  • Join an elite group of more than 8,000 AFOs who have committed to advancing the field.
  • Reduce your agency’s liability and take your career to the next level.


AFO candidates should be at least 18 years of age. There are no education or experience prerequisites for taking the AFO exam.

How to Become an AFO 

To become an AFO, you must successfully pass the AFO exam. The AFO exam is 50 questions and covers four core competencies: water chemistry and disinfection, mechanical systems and operations, health, safety, and daily operations. The exam is an open-book exam, and AFO candidates must achieve a score of 78 percent or higher to pass. AFO certification is valid for five years.

AFO candidates have two options for taking the exam:

Online Course and Exam

The AFO online course is a two-day virtual training with the exam being administered on the second day. Course attendees will gain practical knowledge from highly qualified AFO instructors through live learning opportunities. NRPA will assist in facilitating the course and exam through the NRPA Online Learning platform. Candidates who take the online course and exam will receive their results upon completion of the exam.

AFO candidates are highly encouraged to attend the online course and take the exam for initial certification. Courses are available from AFO instructors across the country. 

AFO Course CEUs: 1.5

Register for an Online Course

Important Notice: We are planning to offer in-person AFO courses beginning April 2021. If, at any time, NRPA feels we cannot create and maintain a safe in-person event or if any federal, state or local restrictions prevent us from hosting an in-person event, NRPA will cancel the in-person component while continuing to offer a quality online course.


Online Proctored Exam

AFO candidates also have the option to take the online exam, which is only administered by an approved NRPA proctor. The AFO exam is open book, so candidates taking the proctored exam are highly encouraged to purchase and review the Aquatic Facility Operator (AFO) Manual, 7th EditionCandidates who take the online proctored exam will receive their results upon completion of the exam.

Download The Exam Application 

AFO Prep Materials and Resources

Looking for study materials and other AFO resources? Learn more about the AFO certification with our prep materials and handbooks, review aquatics standards and guidelines, and access special testing accommodations forms.

AFO Prep Materials and Resources

For more information about becoming an AFO, contact NRPA Aquatics Program Manager, Elizabeth Gonzales at

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