While the road to licensure is being
redrawn for Florida contractors, service technicians are already
plotting their new route.
The Florida Construction Industry Licensing Board has introduced
a legislative draft to change license requirements in Florida
Statute 489. The new provisions would exclude verified experience
and instead require license applications upfront, followed by a
one-year internship and up to 180 hours of education.
“The CILB has found that [vouching for experience] is a
difficult system in which to prevent fraud,” said Jennifer
Hatfield, director of government and public affairs at the Florida
Swimming Pool Association. “It’s kind of like doing it
backwards — now you apply and then you get your
Though the changes would have to be approved in Florida’s
2010 legislative session, FSPA already has recommended requirements
specifically for pool and spa service contractors. The proposed
language would keep the 60 hours of education already mandated and
add a 60-hour, hands-on proficiency demonstration course in lieu of
the one-year internship.
“This is actually going to be more do-able because a lot
of people don’t want to do the one-year [internship], or they
can’t find someone who’s willing to let them work for a
year,” Hatfield said. “If you make it too difficult,
you’re just going to increase all the unlicensed
So far, CILB has received the recommendations favorably, she
The experience or internship stipulation is particularly a
disincentive for operators who already run a pool-cleaning business
and are looking to become licensed.
“If we do away with [the experience requirement] and go
strictly with the education, a guy who’s already got a viable
business cleaning a couple of hundred pools can go take the
education, get the hands-on training and sit for his test,”
said Keith Johnson, who chairs FSPA’s Service Council.
However, the course will be designed for those who already have
some skills and abilities within the field rather the complete
rookies, he added.
An extra benefit to the hands-on course is the scope of
equipment-specific proficiency. Even with an internship, service
techs can miss certain aspects of pool maintenance, such as salt
systems or ozonators.
“Typically, a service guy can be in the field and not come
across various types of equipment or scenarios,” Johnson
said. “With hands-on, he’s going to be familiarized
with every aspect of the servicing industry.”
FSPA will work with CILB on the course content, but any
licensure changes are a ways down the road. In all likelihood, the
new requirements wouldn’t take effect until 2011.
Meanwhile, FSPA is still planning recommendations to be
submitted for licensing pool builder. These should be ready by
CILB’s October meeting.