Watershape University

Certified Watershape Finish Specialist (CWFS)


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 Finish Specialist (CWFS) understands basic pool construction including the importance of safety issues such as suction entrapment, but they have extended their knowledge with two days of hands-on training in a workshop where the students actually mix and apply various cementitious finishes. This standard requires verification of professional education and training as well as passing an in-class project.


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

Application Requirements

  • Complete the Certified Watershape Foreman (CWF) certification
  • Complete WU CONSTRUCTION 3611: Essential Plaster Workshop, or pre-approved equivalent. All students receive a Certificate of Completion and 1.6 IACET CEUs after completing C3611 even if they do not pursue the CWFS Certification.
  • Submit equivalent accredited course(s) to satisfy education requirements on the University Portal here.
  • Apply for Certified Watershape Finish Specialist (CWFS) Exam below
  • Pay $100 Exam Fee below
  • Sign/Accept the WU Code of Ethics below
  • Sign/Accept the WU Standards of Practice below
  • Pass the Certified Watershape Finish Specialist (CWFS) Exam

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:

CONSTRUCTION 3611: Essential Plaster Workshop:

  • 16 hour minimum duration
  • 3rd party accreditation (e.g., ABET, ACCE, CMAA, IACET, NAAB)
  • Establish a base line of acceptable pool concrete surface substrates and surface profiles prepped and made ready for a new plaster application.
  • Discuss and demonstrate (in class) plaster design and mixology with related cementitious chemistry of a typical plaster mix.
  • Instruct on plaster application techniques and examine texture and bond ability characteristics.
  • Introduce moisture and submersion of new plaster applications and teach start up and pool care techniques for the new plaster.

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 a required prerequisite if I only plan to do plaster and not build an entire pool?

There is much more to plaster than just the materials, labor and excellent training. The CWF certification will identify phases of construction before and after plaster that can positively or negatively affect the plasterer’s work. More importantly, understanding the critical safety issues that prevent suction entrapment or electrical shock are key to protecting the lives of the swimmers and protecting the plasterer from liability.

Certification Path

The Certified Watershape Finish Specialist (CWFS) certification builds upon the CWF certification.

Pathfinder Infographic

Click badge for details.

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


Just getting started?

Most students begin with our 3-day pool construction course.

Online On-Demand

Watershape University’s Certified Watershape Foreman (CWF) certification is recognized by the following jurisdictions for continuing education and licensing purposes:

Core Class Refresh

Would you like free access to our core online classes, including our 3-day Essential Pool Construction, 2-day Essential Fluid Engineering Workshop (with the latest worksheets!), Color Theory, Principles of Design, and others?

Watershape University provides free access to individuals that have already completed equivalent courses with other institutions. We recognize that our students often want to refresh their knowledge in specific subjects but it doesn’t make sense to repeat a paid class when there are so many other new opportunities to expand knowledge through advanced classes, our webinars, our magazine, etc.

Our Core Class Refresh program is available to authorized employees of Certified Watershape Companies (CWC). To get authorized, simply upload your complete transcript(s) from other institutions so that we can verify which courses you are eligible for. You may upload transcripts through the Portal. Please contact Charlie with any questions.