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What is certification?

Certification is a form of credentialing. A credential is a designation which indicates competence in a subject or area. Certification is usually a voluntary process instituted by a nongovernmental agency in which individuals are recognized for advanced knowledge and skill. Certification requires assessment, including testing, and an evaluation of education and/or experience.

What are CCPDT's goals and objectives?

The Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers® (CCPDT®) exists to be the industry leader in defining and maintaining competency in the dog training and behavior profession

How can people find certified animal training and behavior professionals in their area?

All animal training and behavior professionals who earn a designation through CCPDT are located in our trainer and behavior consultant directory.

How are the standards set?

Every five (5) years the CCPDT conducts a role delineation survey which measures the knowledge and skills needed to perform the tasks of a dog trainer or behavior consultant (a summary of the report can be obtained by contacting This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .  The results of that survey help determine the content and weightings of the test content outline for the examinations.

The CCPDT works with experts in creating and administering certification programs to assure the authenticity of the program. By securing the expertise of psychometricians, the CCPDT has developed knowledge and skills based examinations to evaluate individuals who wish to validate basic knowledge and skills in animal training and behavior. The CCPDT issues a certificate indicating that the individual has met the minimum experience and educational level, and passed the CCPDT examination.

How is CCPDT supported?

The CCPDT is a private, not-for-profit organization. The CCPDT depends in part on grants for support.

Information on certification, grants, item writing and testing materials can be obtained by contacting the CCPDT.

How is the CCPDT structured?

The CCPDT Bylaws mandate that the organization shall be governed by a Board of Directors and shall have no more than twelve (12) and no less than seven (7) Directors. Collectively, they shall be known as the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors shall include the President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. All members of the Board shall have voting privileges.

Why don't I vote for board members?

CCPDT is not a membership organization; it is a credentialing organization. Our database contains “certificants” not “members”. Our Bylaws require that a Call for Nominations be issued at least once annually, to fill any vacant seats on the Board of Directors. Candidates must submit a letter indicating why they wish to be considered for a Board seat, as well as information about their professional background. All candidates are also interviewed by the CCPDT Executive Director with questions created by the CCPDT Nominations Committee. The CCPDT Board votes on the candidates based on all submitted information

How can I become more involved?

In addition to seats on the Board of Directors, CCPDT has committees which you may join. Visit our website, select About Us / Volunteer to get more information about the committees. We are always eager to receive new multiple choice questions for consideration on future forms of our examinations. To submit a question, log on to the website, and select My Credentials. Click on the link in the Item Submission section.

How is an examination maintained/updated?

Current certificants are urged to write and submit questions, as long as they pertain to a section of the Body of Knowledge and cite a reference. These questions (“items”) are placed into our Item Bank, marked “ready for review.” Annually, PTC, reviews questions to validate the format, consistency, and make it a “readable” question and answers. Groups of current certificants then review the items for clarity, accuracy, relevancy, and applicability to the Body of Knowledge. These reviewed items are returned to the Item Bank, marked “ready for examination.” Semi-annually, the Board of Directors meets to review a new form of the examination. They re-check every question individually. They also review statistical information about the performance of Items on previous versions of the examination. Once the entire examination has been reviewed, they conduct a psychometric exercise to set the passing score. Throughout its history, the CCPDT has kept the difficulty of its examinations equivalent so the passing score has not changed, but should any form of the examination be determined to be somewhat more or less difficult than the previous version, the passing score may be changed.

How is an examination developed and how are developers selected?

When The CCPDT plans to develop a new examination, a committee of recognized subject matter experts (SMEs) in that particular field of practice is put together. Through a series of meetings, these experts develop the content outline for the examination. Once the content outline is developed, additional subject matter experts in the field are asked to draft questions, all of which must tie to a citation in recent literature pertaining to that field. The questions (items) go into an Item Bank and from there go through the vetting process described above. Every five years the CCPDT conducts a role delineation survey to determine if the test content outlines for its examinations reflect current practice in the profession.  For a copy of the survey results, please contact us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

You say your tests are psychometrically sound, what exactly does that mean?

There are two important elements of any sound examination. One is validity and the other is reliability. Validity is the term for ensuring that the examination covers what it should cover. That’s the process of the Item Reviews and Examination Reviews described above. Reliability refers to the consistent performance of the examination over time. A reliable examination is one in which, if you were to have two groups of test takers who are similar in background and experience take the same examination, their scores would be the same. The Reliability Coefficient on the last examination was 0.95 which is very high and infers high reliability.

How is the passing score for the examinations set?

The CCPDT examinations are criterion-referenced whereby measurement is made against or compared to an absolute criterion of mastery.  This criterion is called the “cut score.”  The number of items that must be answered correctly in order to pass is not decided arbitrarily.  Rather, a panel of experts evaluates each test question individually for its level of difficulty. The average of these item values determines the criterion or  ”cut score” for the exams, depending on the questions which appear on each form of the exams. The cut score is subject to change every time a new form of the exams is approved, depending on whether the difficulty is determined to have increased or decreased.The current passing score for the CPDT-KA examination is 188 out of 250; for the CBCC-KA examination it is 135 out of 180.

What are CCPDTs plans for future tests?

The CCPDT is considering developing additional credentials for animal behavior professionals as part of our strategic plan. Plans for a CBCC-KSA are currently underway.

Taking classes are expensive, how else can I recertify?

It is not necessary to recertify by way of continuing education units (CEUs). A certificant may also re-take the examination. The reason we permit this alternative is that in the above described process we are always keeping our examination up to date with the latest techniques, methods, and equipment.

Who are PTC and SMT?

These are the testing companies with which CCPDT contracts to perform knowledge assessed testing and management services (PTC) and the skills assessed examination (SMT). CCPDT interviewed several testing companies before making these decisions, and annually reviews the arrangement and revises contractual arrangements as needed.

Why do I not have to be a CPDT-KA or CPDT-KSA to be a CBCC-KA?

The CCPDT realizes that many CPDT-KA/KSA also practice behavior consulting, however, the CCPDT recognizes the differences between the job tasks of a CPDT-KA/KSA versus that of a CBCC-KA. The goal of having different examinations was to recognize each professional and their specialized role within our profession.

What is the difference between APDT and CCPDT?

The CCPDT offers independent certification to animal training and behavior professionals and is an organization of “certificants.” Certificants are those who have taken and passed one of our examinations, and continue to recertify to retain the credential. APDT is an organization of “members.” Members are individuals with an interest in the goals of the organization and pay annual membership dues to participate. Members continue to be part of the organization as long as they continue to pay their annual dues.

How many trainers take and pass the examinations offered by CCPDT?

In the fall of 2013 there were 194 people who took the CPDT-KA examination; 187 of them (96%) passed the exam.  There were 8 candidates who took the CBCC-KA examination; 5 of them (63%) passed the exam. For the Japanese version of the CPDT-KA examination there were 9 candidates and 7 (78%) passed.

At the present time there are 2,240 CPDT-KAs (including those in Japan) and 74 CBCC-KAs.

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