8 Types of Dog Training Certifications (With Requirements)

Dog Trainer Certifications
  • CPDT-KA & CPDT-KSA. This certification is given by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers and is a third-party certification (meaning that the council is separate from any paid education or training of the certificant). …
  • KPT CTP. …
  • CTC. …
  • VSA-CDT. …
  • CAAB. …
  • CDBC. …
  • CBCC-KA. …
  • CCS.

A great dog trainer can make a huge difference in everything from teaching your dog basic obedience to advanced training for dog sports. That’s particularly true for new dog owners. However, even if you have years of experience with canine companions, a qualified trainer can assist you in problem-solving and honing your skills. Additionally, the wonderful benefit of socializing your dog comes from group classes. But how can you tell if the dog trainer you’ve chosen is the right one?

Dog training is an unregulated industry. Anybody, regardless of background, education, or experience, can print business cards and charge for her services. Before entrusting a potential trainer with your hard-earned money and your priceless pet, it is crucial to conduct thorough research on them. Don’t simply pick the closest training school. Investigate potential trainers to see if they are a good fit for you and your dog.

Dog Training : Dog Training Certification

What is dog trainer certification?

A dog trainer certification is a professional credential you can obtain to demonstrate your abilities or advance your competencies in your industry. Although you can become a dog trainer without any formal training or education, getting certified can help you get ready for the job and guarantee that you’re providing high-quality and efficient services.

Certification programs can highlight various aspects of this role. For instance, some trainers might focus on non-force training methods, while others might emphasize general skills, the use of training tools, or helping owners deal with their reactive dogs. Depending on your level of experience, you can select a certification. Some may be useful for aspiring dog trainers just entering the field, while others concentrate on skill development for seasoned professionals.

8 types of dog trainer certification organizations

There are a number of certification programs you can take into consideration if you’re interested in working as a dog trainer, including:

1. Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers

The Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers offers the titles of Certified Professional Dog Trainer—Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA) and Certified Professional Dog Trainer—Knowledge and Skills Assessed (CPDT-KSA). The council stipulates that candidates must submit a letter of recommendation from a CPDT-KA certified veterinarian or trainer and have at least 300 hours of industry experience in the last three years in order to be eligible for the CPDT-KA title. Individuals can sign the required code of ethics and sit for the certification exam, which consists of 250 multiple-choice questions, after fulfilling these requirements. This exam typically costs candidates $385.

Professionals can pursue CPDT-KSA certification after earning their CPDT-KA credentials. The Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers requires applicants to submit information, including videos of themselves performing four specific training exercises with four different dogs and videos of themselves guiding three clients through various dog-related issues. Additionally, the CPDT-KSA includes a $225 multiple-choice test covering subjects like:

2. Grisha Stewarts certification program

If candidates are interested in working with dogs who display aggressive, apprehensive, or scared behavior, they can apply for the Certified Behavior Adjustment Training Instructor (CBATI) designation from Grisha Stewart and her dog training certification organization. This certification can provide individuals with several professional competencies, including:

Individuals with 200 hours of relevant experience can submit a video showcasing their practical training abilities and pass a $300 written exam in order to become Certified BAT Instructors. This test may assess a candidate’s comprehension of the BAT for dog reactivity and their method of working with dogs in terms of socialization, frustration, and fear. A five-day BAT Instructor course can be taken by candidates to avoid paying the exam fee. Trainers can maintain CBATI certification for three years.

3. International Association of Canine Professionals

The International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP) offers the Certified Dog Trainer (IACP-CDT) credential if you’re interested in honing your professional abilities. The IACP stipulates that applicants must have two years of training experience and have been members of their organization for at least six months in order to be eligible for this program.

You can take the IACP-CDT exam and pay $125 a year to keep your certification after accepting the IACP code of conduct. You can take the Certified Dog Trainers Advanced exam if you’re interested in advancing your career. This exam consists of a test and video submissions that let you demonstrate your training and instruction abilities.

4. National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors

If you are an experienced dog trainer, the National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors (NADOI) program, which was founded in 1965, may be for you. The NADOI stipulates that you must have at least five years of experience in the dog obedience industry, with at least two of those years being spent as a head instructor, in order to be eligible. Some of their other qualifications include:

Following acceptance for certification and membership by the organization, you can pursue specialized training in subjects like tracking, utility, puppy, novice, open, and fundamental agility. You must submit a $150 application fee in addition to the $75 annual fees for this program, and you must pay $15 for each additional specialty certification.

5. Association of Animal Behavior Professionals

The Certified Dog Behavior Technologist (AABP-CDBT) designation is offered by the Association of Animal Behavior Professionals (AABP). Candidates for certification with the AABP typically have to pay a $60 membership fee and $200 to pass the exam. The AABP stipulates that candidates must have finished 300 hours of training within the previous five years in order to be eligible for this certification. A proficiency test, two references, proof of 30 hours of supervised skill development, and proof of insurance are some of the additional requirements. Some of the material included on the exam may include:

6. Karen Pryor Academy

People who successfully complete the Dog Trainer Professional course offered by the Karen Pryor Academy (KPA) are awarded the designation of Certified Training Partner (KPA-CTP). Nearly ten hours of weekly online instruction and four weekends of in-person training make up this six-month program. Before pursuing this certification, individuals may find it beneficial to have a variety of competencies, such as:

Scholarships are frequently available through this program, enabling applicants to cover the $5,300 course fee. Prior to enrolling in other dog training courses, some professionals might seek KPA-CTP certification because it may fulfill their continuing education obligations with other organizations.

7. Victoria Stilwell Academy for Dog Training and Behavior

Consider the Victoria Stilwell Academy for Dog Training and Behavior if you’re not sure whether to pursue professional certification because you can sign up for a free trial before paying for the entire course. This online course covers three subjects, including how to train dogs, how to train owners, and how to run a business. Typically, there is a $99 application fee, and certification costs can change depending on the program you finish.

The introductory online course may include a $3,450 enrollment fee. Paying $6,950 for the premium instruction with in-person sessions is an option. These certifications may be an advantageous option for both seasoned professionals and newcomers because they not only concentrate on skill development related to dog training but also include practices and strategies for successful business development and management.

8. Top Tier K9

Professionals interested in a career as a dog trainer can complete an eight-week program called Top Teir K9 certification to develop their foundational knowledge and skills. This $1,950 course includes live online instruction from a teacher so that professionals can interact with them and discuss any questions or concerns.

Individuals can choose additional certifications after completing this eight-week course, allowing them to specialize in specific fields like working with service dogs or dogs in law enforcement. Despite the fact that the initial program is online, specialized certifications might call for an in-person component. Candidates may spend between $2,750 and $3,950 for these training sessions, though prices may vary.

Please note that Indeed is not affiliated with any of the businesses mentioned in this article.


What type of training is best for dogs?

Our skill-based certification is called Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge and Skills Assessed (CPDT-KSA®). It tests expert training and instruction skills through hands-on exercises. Hold a valid CPDT-KA credential in order to be eligible to take the exam.

What does CTC stand for in dog training?

Almost all veterinarians concur that the most effective way to train dogs is through positive reinforcement. In essence, positive reinforcement training emphasizes rewarding your pet for appropriate behavior rather than punishing inappropriate behavior.

What is the difference between a dog trainer and a behaviorist?

Graduates of The Academy program who successfully complete it are eligible to use the abbreviation CTC, which stands for Certificate in Training and Counseling. Our CTCs have a well-deserved reputation for being thoroughly trained for the job of training pet dogs, able to produce results quickly and humanely.

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