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Trainer FAQ

Why certify dog trainers?

Establishing a credentialing program enhances the reputation of a profession. A certification program is not an endorsement of an individual by the organization, but it signifies to those seeking to use the professional that the professional has sought out a credentialing program and has passed the credential's requirements. Certification is a voluntary program, unlike licensing which is not voluntary for professions such as physicians, nurses, and psychologists.

What information is tested?

Eligibility requirements are detailed in the Candidate Handbook located on this website. The knowledge assessed (-KA) training certification exam was designed to assess the knowledge deemed necessary by animal training experts for an entry level trainer. The test questions are in multiple choice format, which is the most frequently used in examinations to validate a candidate's competence to perform the work of the profession, and are based on the general knowledge of animal training and application of training techniques. The skills assessed (-KSA) is the next level of training certification. During this examination, the training professional must demonstrate the skills necessary to train animals and teach others to train their animals. The examinations are changed periodically and are reviewed with a psychometrician prior to being released for the testing period.

What material is covered in the examination?

The test content outline is located in the Candidate Handbook, which can be found on this website.

Is there a way to practice for the examination?

There is a 50 question practice examination for the CPDT-KA that will give you a glimpse into the CPDT-KA exam and score you by testing area. This is an opportunity to experience taking a computerized exam, to review content included in the Certification Examination for Professional Dog Trainers - Knowledge Assessed, and to learn more about question format, style, and level of difficulty. You will have 2 hours to complete the 50 questions and there is a fee of $60. You can register and take the examination at the Professional Testing Corporation's website.

Will exceptions be made to allow testing under certain conditions at other facilities?

Exceptions are allowed for testing at other facilities or to set up new test sites. Exceptions are also allowed for those with demonstrated needs. Details are outlined in the Candidate Handbook.

Can an applicant become certified without taking the examination?

No. The certification process is a standardized program specifically designed for fair treatment of all candidates. The only way to ensure the integrity of this standardized process is to require that all candidates are assessed equally.

When are the tests given?

The training examinations are offered in the Spring and Fall of each year. The knowledge assessed (-KA) examination is offered at computerized testing locations which can be located in the Candidate Handbook. The skills assessed (-KSA) is a video submission with details located in the Candidate Handbook.

May CEUs earned in excess be carried forward to the next recertification period?

No. One of the requirements and objectives of certification is for trainers to remain current on new research and new training methods.

Who grades the KSA?

An evaluation committee, comprised of trainers who have earned the KSA designation due in part to their work on the development of the examination, is responsible for scoring the exam. Each video is evaluated independently by multiple evaluators. If there is a statistical difference in any of the scores, there is a process in place for additional review of the video. If an evaluator frequently is rating statistically different from other evaluators, CCPDT is notified that the evaluator may need additional training on the scoring items. Evaluators must also disclose if they know the candidate and can opt out of scoring the candidate if they do not think they can be objective.

How many people have taken the test?

As of September 2012, 3,537 candidates have taken the knowledge assessed (-KA) examination.

What is the pass/fail rate?

As of September 2012, the cumulative pass rate for the knowledge assessed (-KA) examination is 86%.  As of December 1, 2011, the cumulative pass rate for the knowledge & skills assessed (-KSA) examination is 69%.

How many certified trainers are there?

As of November 1, 2013, there were 2,386 CPDT-KAs worldwide, and 121 CPDT-KSAs worldwide.  (Nine (9) were granted the designation for their work on the examination including taking the exam as part of the validation process.)

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