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SWD Membership and Certification / (Click here for PDF Version)

SWD Master

The SWD Masters meet SWD Registered requirements and have additionally proven their quality, professionalism and ethics via the submission of their work product, client references and credentials / CV for review and acceptance by the Advisory Board; pay the annual membership fee of $1,500; accept the Code of Conduct and attain 12 hours of CEUs every year.

SWD Registered

To become SWD Registered, a Genesis Student must accumulate 150 hours of classroom work (124 core, plus 26 electives as outlined in EXHIBIT A) plus a passing score on accompanying classroom project(s) and exams; pay the annual membership fee of $750; accept the Code of Conduct and attain 12 hours of CEUs every year.

SWD Associate

To become an SWD Associate, a Genesis Student must successfully complete Genesis C201: Basic Pool Construction; pay the annual membership fee of $500; accept the Code of Conduct and attain 12 hours of CEUs every year.


Certification Comparison

  SWD Master SWD Registered SWD Associate
Required programs Same as SWD D101, D201/2/3/4,
D211, D231,
D271, E211, C201
Core hours Same as SWD 124 24
Elective hours Same as SWD 26 0
Total hours Same as SWD 150 24
Continuing Education hours Same as SWD 12 hrs / 1 yr 12 hrs / 1 yr
Digital seal Same as SWD Yes -
Renewal period 1 yr 1 yr 1 yr
% Discount on Genesis Education *(a) 20 10 5
Members linked on SWD Registered page of website Yes Yes -
Members linked on SWD Master page of website Yes - -
Members have dedicated page on website Yes - -
Members listed in print advertising Yes - -
Members listed in website map search of SWD Registered Yes Yes -
Members listed in website map search of SWD Masters Yes - -
Letter of Recommendation from existing SWD Master required Yes - -
Client referrals verified Yes - -
Project quality verified Yes - -
Financial strength verified - - -
Signed Code of Conduct required Yes Yes -
Projects featured in advertising and educational programs Yes - -
Optional contributions to Social Media Yes Yes -
* (a) Discounts on class fees will be honored, upon request, once the Genesis Student takes and passes the course.  


Renewal Period

All certification renewals must be completed by December 31st every year. Renewals require a fee and verification of (12) twelve continuing education hours. Hours must be completed prior to submittal of the renewal and not simply planned or scheduled. For substitutions, please see below.


Projects and Exams

Programs of 8 hours or more typically include a project, or exam, or both. The purpose of assessment is to measure student learning, reinforce what is valued (e.g., safety issues), emphasize the importance of key learning objectives, and ultimately to improve our programs via self-evaluation based on the results of the students’ exams. Our accreditation requires that learning objectives are “measurable” so we are using the projects and exams to validate those measurements. Projects may be individual or group work to design and/or present material relative to the program.

All exams are administered online at www. onlinetesting.net. Students are encouraged to use materials provided in the class or referenced as part of the classroom presentation. Students are discouraged from using materials not referenced in the class since that information may contradict our teachings which could result in exam failure. The primary reason for handling the exams online is that it allows for more time in the classroom with the instructor and subject matter. The other benefits include instantaneous scoring and explanation of the missed answers, plus the ability for the student to work at their own pace in the comfort of their home.



Credit for classes passed at an accredited junior college, four-year university, or other IACET accredited provider may be recognized for the purposes of certification if the program is substantially similar in terms of content and duration. We cannot accept credit for classes provided by self-accredited educational programs. It is strongly recommended that pre-approval is obtained in writing prior to taking a program outside of the Genesis University to be sure that it meets the validity criteria.

A substitution cannot provide credit for more hours than is achieved by taking the equivalent Genesis program (for example, a semester of hydraulics study does not count as more than 16 hours towards the required ENGINEERING 211: Basic Fluid Engineering program). Excess hours will not apply towards elective or continuing education requirements. A passing score is 70% or better and the approval will only be granted by the Education Council after review of the student’s official transcripts.

Substitutions will not apply to continuing education requirements unless the class was taken during the reporting period.



We do allow certain programs to be challenged which results in credit for the class using the same criteria as a substitution (see above) except that no previous accredited class is required. This may be approved for certain things such as our drawing classes where a student’s previous extensive experience and portfolio may be used as a substitute for taking the class.

To challenge a program it may be necessary to complete the exam, if available, or submit work product that exceeds what would have been done in the class as a project. For example, a portfolio of SketchUp projects may be submitted as a challenge to completing DESIGN 202: SketchUp.


Certification FAQs

Q: Why become a member of the Society of Watershape Designers?

A: SWD certifications are marketed to the public – meaning other trade professionals and homeowners. Fifty percent of all certified member fees are directed toward efforts to reach those end consumers. There are other benefits listed below; but, most importantly, SWD members form a strong family creating the most beautiful watershapes in the world and assisting one another along the path to professional and personal excellence.

Q: In addition to networking and education, what benefits accrue to SWD certification holders?

A: The specific benefits for the SWD certification levels are outlined in EXHIBIT A. Generally speaking:

  • SWD certification holders are eligible for discounts on Genesis education.
  • SWD Associates are Genesis Students, having access to, and permission to use, the Genesis logo, with the Student byline according to the Logo Terms of Use (Click here for PDF)
  • SWD Registered and SWD Masters have access to, and permission to use, the Genesis logo, the Society of Watershape Designers logo and raised Society of Watershape Designers seal according to the Logo Terms of Use (Click here for PDF)
  • SWD certification holders receive exposure – via the web, social media, print advertisements, print editorials – when the Society of Watershape Designers and its certified members are promoted to other professionals and the buying public.

Q: What are SWD certification member fees used for?

A: Half of all SWD certification fees are used to support the work of Genesis in creating and delivering educational content to raise the professionalism of the pool and spa industry. The other fifty percent of fees support the promotion of the Society of Watershape Designers certifications and holders.

Q: What are the Continuing Education requirements for SWD certification?

A: To simplify things, all SWD certifications require 12 IACET CEUs per year. Carryover credits are possible from one year to the next; meaning if a student has taken a sixteen-hour course, four credit hours can rollover to the following calendar year, leaving only 8 more hours to meet that year’s requirements.

Q: Where can I get my Genesis transcript?

A: Historically, Genesis has made a transcript available to all Genesis Students at the end of each calendar year. With NSPF as its partner, we are moving towards a system that enables Genesis Students to review theirs online. We expect this feature to be available soon.

Q: Can non-Genesis courses apply towards re-certification CEU’s?

A: For SWD Registered and SWD Master members, courses taken for personal and professional gain may be deemed acceptable as Continuing Education Credits. The Genesis Student should seek approval in advance of registering for any non-Genesis education to ensure the credits will apply (See Form EXHIBIT B). Genesis works hard to ensure its classroom instruction is cutting edge. SWD Registered and SWD Masters should review the Genesis Catalog and event schedule and sign up for new and improved courses – not only for personal advancement, but also to meet, encourage and mentor new Genesis Students, perpetuating the family network that makes Genesis so successful and unique.

Q: Is online learning an option?

A: Yes! Through its merger with NSPF, also an IACET-approved content provider, Genesis Students are welcome to take any online courses that NSPF offers to satisfy CEU requirements. Such courses are NOT substitutionary with respect to achieving SWD Registered status – neither for required courses or options. However, such online courses may be used by SWD Registered and SWD Masters to fulfill their ongoing CEU certification requirements.

Q: What are the Genesis Position Statements?

A: Genesis founders, faculty and SWD Masters have created “Position Statements” on a variety of topics important to industry professionals. These papers can be found at www.Genesis3.com under “Connect” off the Home page. All SWD Associate candidates must download the Position Statements, review them and acknowledge / read receipt as part of the application process for SWD Associate membership status.

Q: What about the former biennial fee structure for former “SWD”?

A: If you are an SWD who paid the membership fee in 2016 with the expectation that 2017 is covered under the former biennial structure, Genesis will waive your membership fee for 2017. The annual fee requirement will begin with 2018 membership.

Q: What happens to former Gold Members and Platinum Members?

A: Genesis has eliminated the “Gold Member” and “Platinum Member” names to avoid confusion with sponsor levels; and, to separate Genesis, an IACET-approved educational content provider, from its Society of Watershape Designers™ certification program. If you are a Gold Member who has taken, and successfully passed, the C201 Basic Construction Course, you are qualified to become an SWD Associate. If you have not yet taken C201, you are a Genesis Student, with the same annual fee (enrollment) of $500. As a Genesis Student, half of your annual fee will support the work of Genesis and the remaining half (up to a maximum of $500, or two years-worth) will be held for you as pre-payment towards your C201 class registration fee. This pre-payment credit must be used in the calendar year in which the accrued maximum of $500 is reached, else the credit is forfeit.

Q: Is there an ongoing CEU requirement for Genesis Students?

A: Yes. Genesis Students must pay a tuition fee, and attain 12 hours of CEUs every year.