The California Pool and Spa Association wants pool/spa contractors to take more industry education, and it’s appealing to the agency in charge of construction in the Golden State.

CPSA Chairman Scott Cohen has issued a public letter to both the trade and local consumer press, hoping to pressure the California State Licensing Board to require continuing education in order for contractors to maintain their C-53 licenses.

Cohen believes builders should take 16 hours in between renewals, which take place every other year.

“Eight hours a year seems reasonable,” said Cohen, also president of The Green Scene Landscaping & Swimming Pools in Chatsworth, Calif. “That’s four two-hour classes. You can do it in a day or two at any of the pool shows that we have, or you can do it online.”

In addition to construction, he said, such education should cover business subjects, to account for changes in contract law, human resources requirements, safety codes and other aspects of running a company.

“The requirements for a contract have changed, but you’re not required to know any of it to keep your license active,” Cohen said. “But if you don’t know it, your contract could be null and void.”

CPSA is focused on continuing education for license renewal, saying the test for new-license applicants is updated regularly. “But you have a whole bunch of [pool/spa contractors] who’ve had their licenses for over 10 years, and they need to be updated and refreshed,” Cohen said.

He has become passionate about this goal in part because of his work as an expert witness. “I see the same mistakes being made, where it’s mushroomed into a lawsuit,” he said. “Had that contractor attended a few courses, he could have avoided the lawsuit, and the homeowners would be happier.”

In his letter, Cohen said such a requirement also would benefit pool/spa contractors.

“I’ve come to recognize that when a lawsuit is officially filed in a court of law, contractors often come out on the losing end,” he wrote. “Most filed cases settle out of court ... Even if the contractor prevails in terms of a verdict, and usually they don’t, the cost of defending a lawsuit, the time it takes, the stress involved, and the damage to your reputation and, indeed, your psychological well-being, are all costs that cannot be recouped.”

To read Cohen’s letter in full, go to

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