About IACP Certification

Founded in 1999, the International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP) established a high standard of canine professionals and strives to maintain recognition of this high standard for its members and the general public. The IACP’s Education and  Certification Committee oversees dog training certification by establishing standard examinations for dog trainers and dog training instructors.

IACP is currently upgrading certifications to meet the accreditation standards set forth by the Institute of Certification Excellence. Due to this process, some of the certifications may be on hold for revision.  

The evolving nature of canine training makes it difficult to create a national standard to evaluate trainers and methods of training. The number of diverse training philosophies and the skill to effectively use them is more of an art than a hard science.  The IACP’s certification program takes this into account.  Since dog training certification has no required criteria in the USA, the IACP strives to accurately and thoroughly assess skills by critiquing hands-on performance, not just book learning. IACP does not discriminate against any training methods, tools, or techniques in its certification exams. Please see the summaries below to learn about each certification.

Dog Trainer Foundation Exam

Currently under revision

This certification exam is intended for beginning dog trainers based on book knowledge. The Dog Trainer Foundation Exam (DTFE) is a written exam that tests knowledge of dog behavior and training concepts. The DFTE does not have a minimum requirement for time in the industry. The DTFE tests core knowledge in husbandry, ethology, theories, methods, tools, instructional skills, IACP ethics and values, and specialization areas .The DTFE is an online exam consisting of 80 multiple-choice questions and 5 essay questions. 

Certified Dog Trainer (CDT)

The Certified Dog Trainer (CDT) Exam tests an applicant’s basic skill level to provide the general public with a standard of expertise. The passing of the CDT Exam provides recognition and critique from peer professionals within our organization. The trainer who passes the CDT Exam shall be entitled to use the initials IACP CDT after his or her name. IACP Professional Members in good standing and Associate Members with a minimum of six months membership time in good standing, with three years’ experience as a dog trainer, may take the CDT Exam.  

Certified Dog Trainer Advanced (CDTA)

The CDTA test and title acknowledges an advanced competence in dog training. This will help provide professionalism to our organization and confidence to the public's choice when choosing a dog trainer. High standards of judging will be applied to CDTA tests precisely because the IACP wishes the public to be confident in the competency of one who earns the IACP CDTA title. The CDTA Exam is unique due to evaluation of dog training skills observed from recorded video or in person with an IACP evaluator.  IACP Professional Members in good standing who have held the CDT certification for one year, and have been a professional dog trainer for five (5) or more years, may take the CDTA exam.

Professional Dog Training Instructor (PDTI)

Currently under revision 

The Professional Dog Training Instructor (PDTI) exam is intended to test the applicant’s basic level of knowledge, experience, and skills in teaching the general public about dog training.  Passing the IACP Professional Dog Training Instructor exam provides members with a recognizable certification that is approved and applauded by an internationally established organization and peer professionals world wide. To be eligible for PDTI certification, the applicant must be an IACP Professional Member in good standing for a minimum of 1 year. 


Certification RENEWAL online payment form
Hard copies of exam are available for $15.00 per exam by contacting IACP Admin Office:

If you have questions or concerns, please email [email protected]

*Individuals convicted of a felony are ineligible to apply for CDT, CDTA, or PDTI certification until released from confinement. They  must upgrade to an Associate or Professional Member and meet the regular standards as outlined in the IACP Certifications requirements packet.

Exams are copyrighted. Permission is granted to download only for the purpose of completing the exams. Reproduction for any other purpose or use is prohibited. Adobe Acrobat Reader is needed to view or download the documents above.