Certified Detailer Program

What is it?
This program is a culmination of the cooperative efforts of industry leaders specializing in the detailing industry. The multi-phased program evaluates and develops a detailer’s technical knowledge and proficiency. Successful completion of the first phase (Phase I), consisting of ten written exams, will grant the detailer the title of IDA Certified Detailer (IDA-CD). Successful completion of a higher-level second phase (Phase II), consisting of hands-on assessments, will award the detailer a title of IDA Certified Detailer, Skills Validated (IDA-CD, SV).

How do I sign up?
The first step is completing the IDA-CD exams or Phase I. Complete the exams online by completing the Online Certification Enrollment form.

The second step is to attend the Skills Validated testing (Phase II), a hands-on assessment session scheduled at various locations across the US. 

Some events do offer a full Certification Exams and Skills Validated certification. Please note: signing up for an event does not guarantee certification.

Why take it?
The CD designation is a great achievement and demonstrates a basic mastery of the knowledge and applied skills needed by the detailing professional. The pride of earning the CD designation places that detailing professional among a group at the top of their profession.

Although certification is somewhat costly and requires a sustained commitment, it has many benefits for detailers and their customers. CDs have not only demonstrated competency, but they have shown determination and commitment in completing the certification process. They are typically dedicated individuals who believe strongly in improving themselves and their profession.

What does the program include?

Phase I (the certification exams) consists of 10 exams, 10-20 questions each, in these subject areas: Equipment, Chemicals, Glass, Interior Detailing, Leather, Paint Correction & Protection, Wheels & Tires, Prep Wash/Wash Bay, Detailing Terminology, Safety & Compliance. A passing grade is 80% and qualifies you to take the next exam. Each candidate may retest one time at no charge.

If you choose to take the exams online: Upon completion of your enrollment form you will receive an email with instructions to access the online certification portal.

If you choose to take the exams by email, fax, or mail: Exams will be emailed to you in PDF format, mailed or faxed. When completed you may mail or fax your exam back to the IDA Central Office for grading. A pass/fail notification will be emailed to you in 5-7 days.

Upon completion of all 10 exams you will be mailed a certificate of completion and may begin using the CD designation following your name.

Phase II (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 (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.

How much does it cost?
Exam pricing:
$25 per exam
Prepay all ten exams for $200

$45 per exam
Prepay all ten exams for $400

Skills Validated pricing: 


Complete CD in A Day Event (Phase I & Phase II) pricing:


Certification Maintenance:
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 recertification month to retain your certification. The cost for recertification is $100 for IDA members; $150 for non-members.

Enroll in the Online Exams Today!