About the Dog Trainer Examination


(Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed)

For application deadline and fee information for the Spring and Fall testing periods, please visit Deadlines and Fees.

You can find all examination information, including a complete content outline and sample questions, in the CPDT-KA Candidate Handbook, but here’s an overview:

  • Format: Multiple-choice exam.
  • Time: 3 hours
  • Length: 200 questions (180 scored and 20 pre-test/unscored)
  • When: At an appointment you schedule during a 3-week testing period in the fall or spring.
  • Where: Computer-based testing facilities throughout the U.S., Canada* and via remote proctoring.
  • Cost: $400
  • Who: The exam is administered by a professional testing company.

*Don’t live in North America? We certify dog training professionals from all around the world (note: the exam is in English). Download the handbook for more information.

What will I be tested on (effective 1/1/24)?

Applied Learning Theory = 25%
Instructional and Teaching Skills = 32%
Canine Behavior, Ethology, and Well-being = 26%
Professional Skills, Ethics, and Laws & Regulations = 17%

For details on each examination domain, download the CPDT-KA Study Objectives.

Practice Tests

Are you out of practice on taking multiple-choice exams? Then we have a solution for you! We offer two online practice tests for anyone considering sitting for the CPDT-KA certification exam.

Each 50-question practice test will give you a taste of the CPDT-KA exam. It’s a chance to take a computerized exam; experience the content; and learn more about the exam question format, and style. You have 2 hours to complete the 50 questions and will be scored by testing area.

There are two CPDT-KA practice tests available for purchase! Consider taking one when you apply for the certification exam and the other close to your exam date.  Be sure to note in your files which form you have purchased so you do not purchase the same version twice.

The instant score report after practice test submission shows test performance in each of the content areas. The score report does not provide correct answers or indicate which questions were answered correctly and incorrectly. Once the practice test is scored, you cannot return to the test to review the questions.

NOTE: The successful completion of a practice test is not required to sit for the certification exam, nor does it guarantee a passing score on the exam. The practice test has been developed by subject matter experts in the profession and is provided for review purposes only. Completion of the practice test does not substantiate a candidate’s readiness to sit for or successfully pass the exam.

The fee to take the practice exam is $99.

To register and take the exam, visit the Professional Testing Corporation.


(Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge and Skills Assessed)

For application deadline and fee information for the Spring and Fall testing periods, please visit Deadlines and Fees.

You can find all examination information in the CPDT-KSA Candidate Handbook, but here’s an overview:

  • Format: Practical training exercises, submitted by video recording
  • Duration: 3 weeks to submit 4 video recordings
  • When: During a 3-week testing period
  • Where: Online submission of videos produced at a suitable location chosen by the candidate
  • Cost: $240 for current CPDT-KA certificants
  • Who: Administered by a professional testing company and graded by subject matter experts

What will I be tested on?

Training skills

Instruction skills

Training equipment

Application of modalities

CCPDT training policies & position statements

For details on each examination domain, please see the CPDT-KSA Candidate Handbook.

How our tests are developed

When we develop a new examination, we begin by putting together a committee of recognized subject matter experts in that particular field of practice. Through a series of meetings, these experts develop the content outline for the examination.

Once the content outline is done, additional subject matter experts are asked to draft questions, all of which must tie to a citation in recent literature relating to that field. The questions (called ‘items’) go into an Item Bank and from there go through the vetting process described above. For a step-by-step description of the process, see Test Development.

This process of exam development follows the testing guidelines of the Institute of Credentialing Excellence.