Watershape University


Certifications document a student’s progress through Watershape University (WU) and, ultimately, to the International Watershape Institute (IWI). Credentials can be obtained at multiple steps as the student progresses from a beginning student (“freshman”) to more advanced levels of training and expertise (“senior” and “post-graduate” levels). Credentials are acknowledged via wall certificates and digital badging that is verifiable at verify.watershape.org.

The Certified Watershape Electrical Specialist (CWES) is not established to replace licensed electricians – it is designed for watershapers to be able to understand and communicate needs with licensed electricians and the CWES is intended to train licensed electricians on the specifics of working with electricity and control systems as they relate to pools, spas, waterfeatures and outdoor living.

Electricity rarely wants to engage with water but, in the watershaping industry, it is unavoidable — electrical power is needed to run pumps, heaters, chemistry systems, lights and other equipment. The pool and hot tub industry has volumes of very specific life-critical codes to consider, spread across multiple ever-changing documents. Making sense of it all is a challenge even for licensed electricians who may have wired 1,000 homes but still don’t know how to wire a single pool safely. And that’s just the “high-voltage” side of things — there is much to talk about on the low-voltage and wireless side of communications, controls, home automation, etc. This standard requires verification of professional education and training as well as passing an in-class project.


The Certified Watershape Electrical Specialist (CWES) certification may be used for contractor licensing and required continuing education in certain jurisdictions. The CWES certification builds upon the CWF certification; therefore, all Certified Watershape Electrical Specialists (CWESs) are also CWFs which support licensing in the following jurisdictions:

Application Requirements

  • Complete the Certified Watershape Foreman (CWF) certification
  • Complete WU ENGINEERING 4411: Essential Electrical Workshop, or pre-approved equivalent. All students receive a Certificate of Completion and 1.6 IACET CEUs after completing E4411 even if they do not pursue the CWES Certification.
  • Submit equivalent accredited course(s) to satisfy education requirements on the University Portal here.
  • Apply for Certified Watershape Electrical Specialist (CWES) below
  • Pay $100 Application Fee below
  • Sign/Accept the WU Code of Ethics below
  • Sign/Accept the WU Standards of Practice below

Equivalent Classes

Watershape University was founded with a principle of accessibility — allowing students of all levels to obtain meaningful high-quality education at lower cost and reduced travel expense. Portability is a key component of access and is an important principle and reason for institutions to obtain and maintain accreditation such as IACET.

All Non-WU courses need to be pre-approved if you wish to use them as a substitute for education requirements. We will happily accept any third-party accredited program that achieves the same learning outcomes as Watershape University’s Essential Classes:

ENGINEERING 4411: Essential Electrical Workshop:

  • 16 hour minimum duration
  • 3rd party accreditation (e.g., ABET, ACCE, CMAA, IACET, NAAB)
  • Explain high-voltage terms, definitions, electrical-science and functionality including single and three-phase systems.
  • Calculate sizing of feeders, panels, breakers, conductors, conduits, voltage drop and other important design parameters using a series of worksheets.
  • Appraise proper installation considerations such as conduit and conductor routing developed through hands-on exercises.
  • Discuss, design and evaluate low-voltage measurement, communications, protocols and controls from simple chemical controllers to complex home automation integration.

Please submit certificates of completion or transcripts from other institutions by uploading via your personal account on the University Portal here.

Exam / Assessment

  • Proctored online exam
  • Schedule exam at your convenience 24/7
  • Pass with a minimum score of 75%


Is this certification accepted by PHTA?

Watershape University is completely independent of PHTA and has obtained approvals from licensing jurisdictions directly. PHTA has no authority over Watershape University and is not required to approve anything.

Will I still need a PHTA CBP to maintain my license?

No. Licensing authorities cannot single-source education and certifications. Continuing education, certifications, and licensing requirements can be obtained through Watershape University completely independent of PHTA.

If you have any other questions, please send an email to certification@watershape.org.

Why is the CWF certification required if I only plan to do electrical work?

There is much more to watershape electrical power and controls than just the materials, labor and excellent training. The CWF certification will identify phases of construction before and after electrical final that can positively or negatively affect the electrician’s work. More importantly, understanding the critical safety issues that prevent suction entrapment (e.g., SVRSs) or other trade practices (e.g., cast-in-place vs. shotcrete concrete placement) are key to protecting the lives of the swimmers and protecting the electrician from liability.

Certification Path

The Certified Watershape Electrical Specialist (CWES) certification builds upon the CWF certification.

Pathfinder Infographic

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Certified Watershape Foreman (CWF)
Certified Watershape Foreman (CWF)