ISPA understands that operating a business in the spa industry comes with unique situations and practices. We seek to ensure that spa professionals are equipped with the educational resources and tools they need to improve business practices and reduce the stressors involved with managing organizations. 

ISPA Knowledge Builders

Courses are offered to industry professionals and individual students as distance learning through the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute. Courses may be purchased through the Educational Institute and passing exams will receive a certificate of completion. 

Access textbooks through the ISPA Academy

Certified Hospitality Supervisor (CHS) / Certified Spa Supervisor (CSS) Program

The CSS designation signifies an understanding of basic supervisory skills and indicates a deep sense of commitment to and belief that continued education is fundamentally important to professional growth.

The American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute’s (AHLEI) exam catalog and certification process has been enhanced and the steps required to earn the CSS certificate are outlined below:

  1. Purchase the Certified Hospitality Supervisors Exam Study Series Workbook Package or the Certified Hospitality Supervisors Exam Study Series Online Package from the ISPA Store (Store Returning Soon). Both packages include an exam application for use by the CHS candidate.
Note: The Supervisory Skill Builders study materials have long been used to prepare candidates for both the CHS and CSS exams. The CSS exam has been discontinued by AHLEI, but because the CHS exam uses the same study materials and assesses the same skills as the CSS exam did in the past, candidates successful in passing the CHS exam will also receive the CSS certificate from ISPA. This change provides two valuable certifications instead of one, adding more value to your investment.
  1. Once the candidate has successfully completed the Supervisory Skill Builders materials, they must complete the included CHS Exam Application and submit it to AHLEI in order to sit for the exam. For a detailed overview of the application and exam process, click HERE.
Note: AHLEI requires exam proctors to apply for proctor registration through their website. For more information on this process, click HERE.
  1. Once the candidate has successfully passed the CHS and received notification from AHLEI, they can submit a CSS certificate request to ISPA ( Once this request is approved, ISPA will distribute a CSS certificate to the candidate.

Topics include the following:

  • Handling Problems and Conflict
  • Time Management
  • Improving Employee Performance
  • Conducting Orientation and Training
  • Improving Communication
  • Staffing and Scheduling
  • Motivation and Team Building
  • Leadership
  • You as a Supervisor

Uniform System of Financial Reporting

The definitive guide for accounting principles is designed to help spas implement a financial reporting system to measure business health. By establishing standardized formats and account classifications, this text helps guide individuals in the preparation and presentation of financial statements and analysis. All ISPA members receive a complimentary digital copy.  

Financial Management for Spas

This textbook will help you better manage the financial side of your business and serves as an instructional guide for students. The text presents managerial accounting principals by framing concepts and practices within the real life day-to-day business of spa operation. Each topic is introduced with a story to engage the reader in the practical application of concepts in everyday scenarios. This tool will help readers gain a better understanding of the art and science of financial management, covering topics such as inventory, income statement, ratio analysis, revenue and cash management, and more.

This topic is also available as a distance learning course through the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute.

Retail Management for Spas

This textbook provides essential business information on retail strategies, planning, management and administration. The text will help spa professionals increase their retail knowledge and understanding vendor partner relationships as well as topics such as inventory management, visual merchandising and financial performance evaluation. Take your business to the next level by evaluation case studies, retail management strategies and more.

This topic is also available as a distance learning course through the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute.

SPA: A Comprehensive Introduction

This textbook takes a comprehensive look at a cross-cultural view of the spa world and takes the reader through a typical day from a spa director's perspective, combining the wisdom and experience of a diverse group of seasoned industry professionals. The text covers a range of topics including the philosophy and history of spa, trend analysis, spa service experience, financial organization, spa careers, leadership, ethics and more.

This topic is also available as a distance learning course through the American Hotel & Lodging Education Institute.

Spa Operations Manual

This text is designed to help spa directors, owners, managers and suppliers better understand the full scope of operational procedures that can be implemented in order to run an effective spa. The customizable manual includes comprehensive materials for spa job descriptions, new hire checklists, standard departmental information, specific departmental procedures, staff training, common spa treatments, reference guide templates and more.

Members may access a complimentary version under Member Benefits.

Risk Management for Spas

Through ten modules, participants will learn to identify, analyze, and transfer risks pertaining to staff, guests, property, treatments, products and equipment, and information technology in the spa environment in addition to insurance and the U.S. legal process as it applies to liability.

Available Resource Partner Courses and Resources