Aside from some electrical work, you don’t have to be licensed to build or service a swimming pool or spa in Texas.

However, the issue has come up periodically in the state legislature, says Kevin Tucker, public information officer for the Aquatic Professionals’ Education Council (APEC), an Austin, Texas-based advocacy group.

“Theoretically I’m in favor of licensing in Texas,” he says. “But I’m afraid if we push for one, the bill will come out wrong and ultimately hurt the industry.”

Tucker therefore is in no hurry to introduce licensing in the statehouse during the next legislative session in 2011. But APEC does have a strong working relationship with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, he says, “so that would probably be the most reasonable way to get it done, if they want it under their umbrella.”

“I’d like to get feedback from the pool and spa industry on what they’d want if legislation on licensing was introduced,” Tucker adds. “Most of us don’t really want to push it, but we also want to be ready to handle it if and when it comes up.”

In addition, odds are any bill to arise on the state level would address builders first, said Jana Auringer, owner of The Pool Lady in Coppell, Texas.

And while she does expect the issue to come up in 2011, it still could be a while before regulation reaches the service sector.

“Texas is slow to move,” Auringer said, “so you probably won’t see licensing for subcontractors addressed until 2013.”