Dog Trainer Certification

Why become certified?


  • Personal satisfaction. With a CCPDT certification, you know you have tested yourself against and passed rigorous standards for knowledge and skills in science-based dog training.
  • Continuing education. Maintaining a CCPDT certification is motivation for lifelong learning and demonstrates that you keep current on the science and techniques of the profession.
  • Marketing edge. Independent certification makes a big difference to clients and prospects—if they are informed about it. For help educating your audience, see Marketing Your Certification.
  • Professionalize the field. Certification represents an individual step toward a future when only qualified professionals are allowed to call themselves dog trainers.

“I have been a staunch supporter of the CCPDT mission since it’s inception–in fact, I received my certification at the very first exam! I believe that the dog training industry will be best served by creating it’s own standards and means of measuring consultants’ knowledge and skills, and CCPDT has the most objective and systematic means for doing this. There are many ‘certifications’ for dog trainers, but CCPDT’s is by far the most professional.”

– Susan Smith, CPDT-KA, CDBC, Raising Canine, LLC


Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA®) measures a broad range of knowledge and skills in ethology, learning theory, dog training technique, and instruction.

To be eligible for the examination, you have to:

√ Be at least 18 years of age and have earned a high school diploma, GED, or equivalent

√ Log a minimum of 300 hours experience in dog training within the last 3 years

√ Provide a signed Attestation Statement from a CCPDT certificant, veterinarian, or other approved professional

√ Confirm compliance with our Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics

√ Confirm compliance with our Least Intrusive, Minimally Aversive (LIMA) Effective Behavior Intervention policy

The CPDT-KA exam consists of 200 multiple-choice questions. The exam is administered at computer-based testing facilities throughout the U.S., Internationally and via remote proctoring. Learn more about the examination.


Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge and Skills Assessed (CPDT-KSA®) is our skills based certification. It tests expert training and instruction skills through hands-on exercises.

To be eligible for the examination, you have to:

√ Hold a current CPDT-KA credential

√ Complete the online application and upload a video of assigned training exercises

√ Confirm compliance with our Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics

√ Confirm compliance with our Least Intrusive, Minimally Aversive (LIMA) Effective Behavior Intervention

√ Pay the examination fee

The CPDT-KSA exam takes place over a three-week testing period and consists of four hands-on exercises to be completed and video recorded at the candidate’s chosen location. Learn more about the examination.

Want to learn more?

Trainer spotlight

What are other dog training professionals saying about the certification and what it means to them? Check out our Trainer Spotlight.

Dog training FAQ

For answers to some of the questions we are asked most often, check out our Dog Trainer FAQ. 

Time to recertify?

CPDT-KA and CPDT-KSA certificants must recertify every 3 years, either by accumulating the needed CEUs or by retaking the certification exam. Learn more.