Certification: CCPDT, or APDT?


Honored Member
Staff member
I am going to pursue certification sometime in the very near future, and I was just curious if anyone had any advice with this. Is one "better" than the other? Are they fairly comparable? Is there another organization to get certified through? Generally I'm just looking for advice as to which way I should go. Eventually I think it would be helpful to be certified through both, but for now....we'll just knock one out of the way. I have skimmed through the requirements for both, and they are similar.

CCPDT Requires:

300 hours training experience in the last 5 years
225 hours or 75% must be conducting group or private lessons
75 hours or 25% can be from related areas (shelter, groomer, assisting in classes, working with vet)
High School Diploma or equivalent (Check!)
References from Vet, Client, and Colleague
Cost: $385 for nonmembers, $335 members

I had a harder time finding info for APDT.....but from what I found, there are 3 levels of membership: Associate($100/yr), Full($100/yr), and Professional($150/yr). Professional membership requires previous certification from other approved organizations, but as far as I could tell the others do not. APDT is muuuuch cheaper, but I'm wondering if I'd be better off getting certified through CCPDT first, then going for the Pro Membership with APDT later. Again though, I had trouble finding requirements and testing information with APDT, so I'm really not sure.

With both organizations, you do have to recertify. With CCPDT though, you only have to recertify every 3 years. Recertification involves either sitting in on the test, or documentation showing that they have had at least 36 "continuing education units" in a three year period.
With the APDT, I'm guessing you pay to continue your membership every year....?

So, I guess I'm asking for the input and advice of others who have done this before. Warnings, suggestions, general chit chat anyone??? :dogwacko:


Experienced Member
I don't really think it will be of benefit to you to get either one. The general public has no clue what any acronyms stand for and definelty don't know the difference between the difference between all of the different schools out there. When I was considering being "certified" I was debating between APDT and IACP (never heard of CCPDT). I know that APDT is more positive based and IACP is more balanced. But neither organization currently means much in terms of certification. They don't police members, and really don't require much to get the title except time and money. To me, the benefit would be the connection with other trainers, not the acronyms that would be placed after your name which doesn't mean crap to the general public.

Anyways, if you're just looking to be a better trainer then you already know that the best thing you can do is just get experience. Train your own dogs and then put that to the test whether it be obedience, rally, agility, freestyle, whatever. Train others. Find a mentor. I know that you have already done this, so just continue to do so. But unfortunately I just don't see any value in getting certified. Hopefully down the road it will mean something, but I don't think it does right now.

andrew mar

New Member
I agree. I've been a serious dog trainer/behaviorist for the past 4 years and decided to risk the $385 dollars to get "certified" by the CCPDT. I even spent the extra $60 to a take a 50 question practice test before the exam. Long story short: Failed by 19 questions and more importantly was very very diasappointed with their ambiguous multiple choice questions and lack of true study guides. And this was my impression before I found out I failed 5 weeks after taking the test.

A lot of the books they recommend contradict their principles and the practice exam suggested I would pass, so I was very confused and felt mislead after finding out I failed.

My advice: Don't waste your money on these certifications as they do not even provide a discount or subsidy for those who opt to retake the test. This exams will not make you a better trainer, just slightly more"official" and with less money in your account.

I'm sorry to say but my experience with the CCPDT gave me the impression that they are in it mostly for the $money. They need some serious reform with their tests. Here I am no wiser and over $400 short. Their letter states that their 'reexamination policy allows candidates to retake the exam an unlimited number of times.' Who are they kidding? Who has that kind of money lying around to retake a silly test that'll take you at least 3-4 hours over and over again and cost $385 each time!


Honored Member
Staff member
Thanks for the input. :)
I've pretty much decided if I ever do go for any certification, it will be as a Behaviorist, or through APDT.
Sorry you had such a disappointing experience. (n)