Certification FAQ


What do the Phase I exams consist of?

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

What is the difference between taking the exams online versus paper?


We encourage all applicants to take the exams online as it means faster results and faster certification. You can apply, take the exams, and receive your certificate within one week! To apply online go to the Online Certification Enrollment form. 

Paper exams are emailed to the applicant and then mailed, faxed, or scanned and emailed back to the office. The time between receiving exams and grading them can take 5 business days as all grading and exam entry must be done manually by hand. 

What happens if I fail one of the Phase I exams?


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 make keep trying to pass the exam but each additional re-take will cost $10 to cover administrative fees. If you are looking for the exam retake form, click here.  

Can I see what questions I got wrong?


You CANNOT see what questions you got wrong if you have not passed all 10 Phase I exams. If you have completed and passed all 10 exams you can request your exam score details from the office.

What kind of study materials are available for the exams?


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, 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.

What happens once I become a Certified Detailer?


Once you complete your exams you will receive your IDA Certificate, patch and digital artwork. You will also be posted to our 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. 

What does the Phase II testing consist of?

 
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.

How can I find out about Phase II testing in my area?

 
As Phase II testing requires in-person evaluation you must physically attend an event. All events can be found online at our Certification Events page. There may not always be testing available in your area but the IDA strives to offer as many testing events in varied locations. 

What happens once I become a Certified Detailer - Skills Validated?

 
Once you complete your Phase II assessment you will receive a new IDA Certificate, patch and digital artwork. You will also be updated in our 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.

Also, your re-certification date will reset from the date you earned your Phase II certification. 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!

If I attend a CD-in-a-Day event am I guaranteed to earn my certification?

 
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. 

How do I register for CD-in-a-Day events?

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

What is required to maintain my certification?

 
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; $150 for non-members. If you miss this deadline you do have a full year to re-certify before your certification expires at the full rate of $200. If you let your certification expire you will not be able to renew and to earn your certification must start the process over from the beginning.

What activities count towards my re-certification credits?

 
Any detailing-related continuing education activities can be applied. They do not have to be IDA events. IDA does offer free monthly webinars to our members that can be attended for 1 hour credit and IDA webinar recordings that can be applied for .5 hours of credit. Other options include attending trade-show 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.

What does becoming a Recognized Trainer require?

 
The applicant must be (or work for) an active member of IDA, and an IDA Certified Detailer - Skills Validated (Phase II) and currently an industry trainer with a minimum of one year experience. The application requires completion of the form including, 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. Recognized Trainer applications are found on your member home page. Login and click on the Recognized Trainer Application link.