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Certification FAQ

There are 10 separate multiple choice/true-false exams. The exams have 10-14 questions each except Detailing Terminology which has 22. Purchase online exams here.

You have to pass all 10 exams in order to become a Certified Detailer. A passing grade on each exam is 80%. If you fail an exam you may take it one additional time free of charge. If you fail on your 2nd try, you may keep trying to pass the exam but each additional re-take will cost $10 to cover administrative fees. Order exam retakes here.

The Phase I Certified Detailer Program is an exam series, not a study course, that affirms and validates the skills of experienced detailers. You may use any materials you have at your disposal in order to study but the IDA does not supply study materials for the exams.

However, Prentice St. Clair, CD-SV, RT, a developer of the original exams, wrote a series of articles for Carwash Magazine that cover what information a detailer should know before attempting to take the exams. We recommend you read that information by visiting http://www.carwashmag.com and searching for "IDA Certification Study Guide". Despite the name, these are not direct study guides but should give the applicant a better idea of what basic knowledge is expected before taking the exams.

Once you complete your exams you will receive your IDA CD Certificate, patch, and digital artwork. You will also be posted to the Certified Detailer directory on our website. From that point forward you will be able to use ", CD" after your name and use the IDA Certified Detailer logo in your marketing. Maintaining your certification requires 8 hours of detailing related education (seminars, webinars, tradeshow educational events, etc.) every two years.

The Skills Validated tests represent the four primary categories that each candidate must demonstrate their "hands on" ability to perform. The detailer must perform each phase of the testing on their own, and meet the minimum proficiency expected in order to pass. The exam is presented in a scenario-type format to afford the detailer the opportunity to demonstrate the abilities expected of the Advanced Detailing Professional.

The applicant must have already completed Phase I Certification, having passed the ten written exams, to fulfill the classification of Certified Detailer. Phase II Skills Validation testing demonstrates hands on skills and in-person testing by an IDA Recognized Trainer (CD-SV, RT) in areas covered in the written exams: Wash Bay/Prep, Interior, Exterior Correction, and Finishing Steps. Each portion of the test will be a one-on-one teacher to student session.

As Phase II testing requires in-person evaluation, you must physically attend an event. All events can be found on our Certification Events Community Calendar. There may not always be testing available in your area but the IDA strives to offer as many testing events as possible in varied locations. If there are no events scheduled in your area, you may contact one of our Recognized Trainers to express interest in setting up private testing. 

Once you complete your Phase II assessment, you will receive a new IDA Certificate, patch, and digital artwork. You will also be updated in the Certified Detailer directory on our website. From that point forward you will be able to use ", CD-SV" after your name and use your updated IDA Certified Detailer - Skills Validated logo in your marketing.

Maintaining your certification will still require 8 hours of detailing related education (seminars, webinars, tradeshow educational events, etc.) every two years.

Finally, after earning the IDA Certified Detailer - Skills Validated certification you may also apply to become a Recognized Trainer and begin offering IDA Certification yourself!

No. The CD in A Day events are an evaluation of a detailer's skill and not a training course. Programs will include an overview of materials to be covered but do not guarantee certification.

Some events will have registration directly through the host and others will have registration through the IDA. Each certification event listed on the Community Calendar will have an individual link you can use to register.

To maintain your certification you must complete 8 hours of detailing-related continuing education over a two-year period beginning with the month of your initial certification. You will receive one CD credit hour for each full clock hour of a qualifying program with a max of 4 credit hours per calendar day. You must renew within two months of your re-certification month to retain your certification. The cost for re-certification is $100 for IDA members and $150 for non-members. If you miss this deadline you do have a full year to re-certify at the full rate of $200 before your certification expires. If you let your certification expire, you will not be able to renew, and to earn your certification you must start the process over from the beginning (Phase I exams).

Any detailing-related continuing education activities can be applied. They do not have to be IDA events. The IDA does offer free monthly webinars that can be attended for 1 hour credit and IDA webinar recordings that can also be applied for 1 full hour of credit. Other options include attending tradeshow education sessions, writing articles for the IDA newsletter or other industry publications, or attending other detailing training programs. If you have any questions on a specific activity, contact us.

The applicant must be (or work for) an active member of the IDA, be an IDA Certified Detailer - Skills Validated (Phase II), and currently be an industry trainer with a minimum of three years of experience. The application requires completion of the form including submission of references, letters of recommendation, and a sample class outline. Once a completed application is received the materials are reviewed by the Certification Committee and Board of Directors before being approved or denied. CD-SV detailers have access to the application on the Skills Validated group home page. 

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