Dog trainers are currently unregulated. Anyone can say they are a dog trainer, and many dog training certifications can be purchased.
CPDT-KA: Certified Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed
What makes a CPDT-KA Different?
The CPDT-KA designation is not a certification that is “bought.” Here are the steps towards becoming a CPDT-KA:
- Proven 300+ hours of paid dog training services to a variety of clients within a 3 year term.
- Once experience hours are verified, the candidate becomes eligible for the exam.
- The exam is scheduled ahead of time and conducted at a secure testing facility. Candidate may not bring notes and is observed by a monitor throughout the entire test.
- The exam is 4 hours, with 180 questions. Candidates are tested on instruction skills, learning theory, ethology, equipment, and animal husbandry.
- There is no course to prepare candidates for this exam.
IF a candidate passes, they then must prove ongoing growth and knowledge in the form of 36 highly specific approved Continuing Education credits every 3 years.
There are only approximately 3,000 CPDT-KAs worldwide.
About the CCPDT
“Until the creation of the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers in 2001, there was no true certification process for canine professionals.
Many schools teach dog trainers and offer certifications for their specific programs. These certifications, therefore, reflect the teachings and quality of a specific school. Other organizations offer take-home tests for “certification.” These canine professionals are not monitored to ensure they are completing the test without any assistance or collaboration nor is the testing process standardized. This unprecedented process was originally implemented by the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT), the largest association of dog trainers in the world, founded by noted veterinarian, behaviorist and author Dr. Ian Dunbar.
A task force of approximately 20 internationally known dog training professionals and behaviorists worked for three years to research and develop the first comprehensive examination. The Professional Testing Corporation was hired to ensure the process met professional testing standards. The Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers exists to be the industry leader in defining and maintaining competency in the dog training and behavior profession, and The CPDT-KA continues to be the only NCCA accredited credentialing examination available to dog trainers.