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.

Please be advised that certification enrollment and processing is not retroactive. We are operational on a Monday through Friday 8am to 5pm CST business hour timeframe.

***Please note, that If you’re trying to complete exams in time for a Skill Validated (SV) testing event, we ask that you plan accordingly in a timely manner, as we do not guarantee that you will be able to be expedited.

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. You need at least an 80% or better to pass. Each candidate gets two free exam attempts. Should you require a 3rd or any additional attempts, you may purchase an exam retake for $10. Once you submit the retake form and payment, we would then send you the retake login.

IDA Certification is processed on a weekly basis. Upon submission of your enrollment form, you will receive an email with instructions on how to access the online certification portal.

Attention: Be sure to check your junk/spam mail folders for the login, as sometimes the exam site emails will filter there based on your mail settings.

Upon successful completion of all 10 exams, you will be sent an email indicating that you’ve passed and you may begin using the CD designation following your name. Your certificate and patch will follow shortly thereafter.

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!