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Top 10 Car Detailer Certifications

This article reviews the top car detailer certifications available to help car detailers gain the knowledge and skills necessary for providing excellent services.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 16 min read

Certifications for a car detailer can be an important factor in the job market, as they demonstrate the level of skill and expertise that a detailer has. Employers may prefer to hire someone with certifications, as it indicates that the detailer has taken the time to gain knowledge and experience in the field. Certifications also often come with industry connections and resources, which can be beneficial for both employees and employers. Additionally, having certifications may mean that a detailer is more likely to be up-to-date on industry trends and best practices, giving them an edge when competing for jobs.

This article reviews some of the top certifications for Car Detailers and explains how they can help enhance a car detailer's career.

What are Car Detailer Certifications?

Car detailer certification is a program designed to teach professionals the proper techniques and methods for detailing cars, trucks, and other vehicles. This certification can be obtained through online courses or through in-person instruction at a car detailing school. The program typically covers topics such as exterior and interior cleaning and detailing, paint correction and protection, vehicle maintenance, and more.

Having car detailer certification can help professionals stand out from the competition by showing employers that they have the necessary knowledge to properly detail vehicles. It also provides an opportunity to learn new skills that can help them become more efficient in their work. Additionally, having certification may open up new opportunities for employment or additional services that they can offer customers. Finally, it gives them the confidence to know that they are performing their job correctly and safely.

Pro Tip: If you are considering becoming a car detailer, make sure to look into certification programs that can help you gain the necessary knowledge and skills to become a successful detailer. Certification programs often provide hands-on training, which can give you the confidence and experience needed to perform professional detailing services.

Related: What does a Car Detailer do?

Top 10 Car Detailer Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Car Detailers today.

1. Automotive Detailing Certification from the International Detailing Association

The International Detailing Association (IDA) Automotive Detailing Certification is an industry-recognized program that provides automotive detailers with the knowledge and skills necessary to become certified professionals in the field. This certification is designed to ensure that detailers have a comprehensive understanding of detailing techniques, products, procedures, and safety standards.

The IDA Automotive Detailing Certification consists of two parts: a self-study course and a hands-on practical exam. The self-study course covers topics such as surface preparation, paint correction, interior detailing, exterior detailing, protection and maintenance, and business operations. It also includes quizzes to help reinforce the material covered in the course. The hands-on practical exam requires participants to demonstrate their knowledge by performing actual detailing tasks on a vehicle.

It typically takes between three and four months to complete the IDA Automotive Detailing Certification program. To get started, individuals must first register for the program through the IDA website. Once registered, they will receive access to the online self-study course materials as well as information about scheduling their hands-on practical exam.

The cost of the IDA Automotive Detailing Certification program varies depending on whether or not you are an IDA member. For non-members, it costs $299 USD for both parts of the certification program (self-study course and hands-on practical exam). For members of the IDA, it costs $199 USD for both parts of the certification program (self-study course and hands-on practical exam).

2. Certified Automotive Detailer from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence

A Certified Automotive Detailer from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) is a professional certification program that recognizes individuals who have demonstrated knowledge and proficiency in the field of automotive detailing. The certification is designed to ensure that automotive detailers are providing quality services to their customers.

To become certified, applicants must pass an exam administered by ASE. The exam covers topics such as vehicle preparation, cleaning and detailing techniques, and customer service skills. It typically takes at least two hours to complete the exam.

In order to be eligible for the certification, applicants must have at least one year of experience in the automotive detailing field or equivalent training. Applicants must also submit proof of their education level or training program completion prior to taking the exam.

The cost of becoming a Certified Automotive Detailer from ASE varies depending on where you take the test and how you choose to pay for it. Generally, it costs between $50 and $100 for registration fees plus any applicable taxes or other fees associated with taking the exam.

3. Certified Professional Vehicle Detailer from the Professional Carwashing & Detailing Association

The Certified Professional Vehicle Detailer (CPVD) is a certification program offered by the Professional Carwashing & Detailing Association (PCDA). It is designed to recognize and promote excellence in the field of professional vehicle detailing. The CPVD designation is earned through successful completion of an online course and examination, as well as a hands-on assessment administered by PCDA-approved instructors.

The online course covers topics such as surface preparation, cleaning techniques, product selection, detailing safety, and customer service. The online exam tests knowledge of these topics and must be passed with a score of 80% or higher to qualify for the CPVD designation.

The hands-on assessment requires candidates to demonstrate their skills in various detailing tasks such as vacuuming, shampooing, polishing, waxing, interior cleaning and conditioning, and more. This assessment must be completed within one year of passing the online exam in order to receive the CPVD designation.

It typically takes between six months to one year to complete all requirements for the CPVD designation. The cost for the program is $499 USD plus any additional fees associated with taking the hands-on assessment at an approved facility.

4. Certified Master Detailer from the International Detailing Association

The Certified Master Detailer (CMD) is the highest level of certification offered by the International Detailing Association (IDA). It is a comprehensive program designed to recognize and validate the knowledge, skills, and abilities of professional detailers.

To become a CMD, you must have at least two years of professional detailing experience and pass a series of exams that cover topics such as detailing techniques, safety protocols, product knowledge, customer service, and business operations. The exam consists of both written and practical assessments.

The entire process takes approximately 8-10 weeks to complete. During this time period, you will be required to attend an IDA-approved training course or seminar and pass the CMD exam with a score of 80% or higher.

The cost for becoming a Certified Master Detailer varies depending on your location. Generally speaking, you can expect to pay between $500-$1000 for the training course/seminar plus any additional fees associated with taking the exam.

5. Ceramic Coating Certification from the International Detailing Association

The Ceramic Coating Certification from the International Detailing Association (IDA) is a comprehensive program that provides certification for professionals who apply ceramic coatings. The certification is designed to ensure that certified professionals are knowledgeable and competent in the application of ceramic coatings.

The certification process involves two steps: an online course and a hands-on practical exam. The online course covers topics such as surface preparation, coating selection, application techniques, maintenance, and troubleshooting. It takes approximately 8 hours to complete the online course.

To take the hands-on practical exam, applicants must first submit a completed application form and pay a fee of $150 USD. The exam consists of several tasks that must be completed within a set time limit. These tasks include surface preparation, coating selection, application techniques, maintenance, and troubleshooting. After successful completion of the exam, applicants will receive their Ceramic Coating Certification from the IDA.

Overall, it takes approximately 10 hours to complete the Ceramic Coating Certification from the International Detailing Association (IDA). The cost for this certification is $150 USD.

6. Paint Correction and Protection Certification from the International Detailing Association

The International Detailing Association (IDA) Paint Correction and Protection Certification is a comprehensive training program that provides professional detailers with the knowledge, skills and techniques needed to properly correct and protect automotive paint finishes. The program covers topics such as paint correction fundamentals, paint protection fundamentals, detailing products and tools, and detailing processes.

The certification process consists of three parts: an online course, an in-person practical exam, and a written exam. The online course takes approximately 8 hours to complete and covers the basics of paint correction and protection. The in-person practical exam requires hands-on practice of the techniques learned in the online course. This portion of the certification can take up to 4 hours depending on how quickly you are able to complete it. Finally, the written exam tests your understanding of the material covered in both the online course and practical exam.

To get started with IDA's Paint Correction and Protection Certification program, you must first become a member of IDA by signing up for their annual membership fee ($99). After becoming a member, you will have access to all of IDA's resources including their online courses, webinars, forums, etc. Once you have completed your membership registration process, you can then register for the Paint Correction & Protection Certification program which costs $399 USD.

Once you have completed all three parts of the certification process (online course + practical exam + written exam), your certification will be valid for two years from the date it was issued. After two years have passed, you will need to renew your certification by taking an additional refresher course or re-taking all three portions of the certification process again.

7. Fabric Protection Certification from the International Detailing Association

Fabric Protection Certification from the International Detailing Association (IDA) is a certification program that provides training and education on the proper application of fabric protection products. It is designed to help detailers understand the science behind fabric protection, how to properly apply it, and how to troubleshoot any issues that may arise. The certification requires completion of an online course and passing a written exam.

The course takes approximately two hours to complete, with an additional hour for the exam. The cost of the certification is $99 USD, which includes access to the online course and exam as well as a certificate of completion. Upon successful completion of the course, IDA certified detailers are eligible for discounts on select fabric protection products from approved vendors.

In order to get certified, detailers must first register for the Fabric Protection Certification program through IDA’s website. Once registered, they will be provided with access to the online course materials and instructions on how to take the exam. After successfully completing both components, they will receive their certificate via email within 24 hours.

8. Leather Care Certification from the International Detailing Association

The Leather Care Certification from the International Detailing Association (IDA) is a professional certification program designed to provide automotive detailers with the knowledge and skills necessary to properly care for leather surfaces. The program is designed to ensure that detailers have the required skills and expertise to safely and effectively clean, condition, and protect leather surfaces.

The Leather Care Certification consists of an online course that takes approximately three hours to complete. It covers topics such as leather cleaning techniques, proper conditioning methods, and how to identify different types of leathers. Upon successful completion of the course, participants will receive their IDA Leather Care Certificate.

To get the Leather Care Certification from the IDA, you must first register for the online course at www.theida.org/leathercarecertification. After registering for the course, you will be able to access it at any time from your computer or mobile device. Once you have completed all of the modules in the course, you can then take a final exam which must be passed in order to receive your certificate.

The cost for the Leather Care Certification is $95 USD per person. This fee includes access to all of the modules in the course as well as a one-time fee for taking and passing the final exam.

9. Odor Control Technician Certification from the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification

The Odor Control Technician Certification from the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC) is a professional certification that demonstrates a technician’s proficiency in odor control. It requires knowledge and experience in the identification, evaluation, and removal of odors caused by smoke, fire, water damage, pets, mold, mildew, and other sources.

In order to obtain the Odor Control Technician Certification from the IICRC, technicians must complete an approved course and pass an exam. The course typically takes between 8-10 hours to complete. Upon successful completion of the course and passing of the exam with a score of 70% or higher, technicians will receive their certification.

The cost for the Odor Control Technician Certification from the IICRC varies depending on which provider you choose to take your training through. Generally speaking it can range anywhere from $200-$400 USD for the entire package including course materials and exam fees.

10. Waterless Car Wash System Technician Certification from Eco Touch

Eco Touch Waterless Car Wash System Technician Certification is a program designed to provide technicians with the knowledge and skills needed to properly use Eco Touch’s waterless car wash system. The certification program consists of a three-hour online training course, which covers topics such as proper product selection, safe and effective application techniques, and customer service. After completing the course, technicians must pass an exam in order to receive their certification.

The online training course takes approximately three hours to complete. Once completed, technicians can take the exam at any time within 30 days of completing the course. The exam consists of 25 multiple-choice questions and must be completed within 45 minutes.

To get certified, technicians must register for the certification program on Eco Touch's website and pay a fee of $99 USD. After registering for the program, they will receive an email with instructions on how to access the online training course and take the exam.

Once technicians have passed the exam, they will receive their certificate via email within 5-7 business days. The certificate is valid for two years from date of issue and can be renewed by taking an updated version of the online training course and passing another exam.

Do You Really Need a Car Detailer Certificate?

The answer to this question depends on the individual. While having a car detailer certificate is not necessary, it can be beneficial in certain circumstances. If you are looking to start your own detailing business, having a car detailer certificate can help to demonstrate your commitment and expertise to potential customers. It also gives you credibility within the industry and may open up more opportunities for career advancement.

For someone who is just entering the industry, taking a course or two that focuses on detailing techniques and product knowledge can be beneficial in helping them become more familiar with the process of detailing cars. Additionally, attending an auto detailing school may give someone a comprehensive understanding of all aspects of car detailing, from basic cleaning and waxing to advanced paint correction services.

Ultimately, whether or not you need a car detailer certificate will depend on your career goals and what type of job you are looking for. If you are seeking employment as an entry-level detailer, having some form of certification may give you an edge over other applicants without one; however, if you plan on starting your own business or working as an independent contractor, then it may not be necessary.

Related: Car Detailer Resume Examples

FAQs About Car Detailer Certifications

1. What is a car detailer certification?

A car detailer certification is a form of recognition that indicates an individual has met certain educational, training and experience requirements in the field of auto detailing. It demonstrates an individual's commitment to providing quality detailing services and can be used as a marketing tool for their business.

2. How do I become certified as a car detailer?

The requirements for becoming certified vary depending on the certifying organization, but generally include completing an approved car detailing course, having at least one year of professional experience in the field, passing an exam or tests demonstrating knowledge of industry standards and best practices, and submitting proof of liability insurance coverage.

3. What are the benefits of becoming certified?

Having a car detailer certification can give you credibility with potential customers and allow you to stand out from other non-certified detailers. It can also provide access to professional networks and resources, discounts on products and services related to auto detailing, and opportunities for continuing education in the field.

4. How long does it take to become certified?

The length of time it takes to become certified depends on the certifying organization; however, most programs require at least one year of professional experience before taking the exam or tests necessary for certification.

5. Is there an expiration date for my certification?

Yes, most certifications have expiration dates ranging from two to five years after they are awarded; however some organizations may require renewal every two years or more frequently depending on their requirements.