Packaging Dynamics Professional (PDP)

We’re excited to announce ISTA's new Packaging Dynamics Professional (PDP) certification program! This new expanded educational opportunity replaces our Certified Packaging Laboratory Professional (CPLP) program. PDP was developed by ISTA in collaboration with experts in the packaging research, design & testing industry.   

For the first time ever, ISTA is offering an education & certification program to non-members around the globe. While existing members continue to benefit from all advantages & discounts associated with being part of ISTA, others can now participate in an exciting new professional development program.  Keep scrolling to learn more about how to add ISTA's new Packaging Dynamics Professional (PDP) expertise to your resume.   

Get Certified or Take Individual Courses

ISTA's PDP certification program encourages and recognizes development and excellence in the packaging industry. Professionals may choose to add to or refresh their existing knowledge by taking any individual PDP module or go for full Packaging Dynamics Professional (PDP) certification by completing and passing exams for all six (6) PDP training modules listed below.

The PDP program is built to encourage continued growth within our profession. In order to remain certified, those who complete the course requirements below must renew their certification every three (3) years by achieving a required level of continuing education. This continuing education approach preserves the integrity and status of the program by ensuring that a PDP remains active in the field and is still qualified to hold the Certificate. 

PDP 101 | Principles of Distribution Packaging

PDP 201 | Atmospheric & Compression Hazards in Transit

PDP 202 | Shock & Drop Hazards in Transit

PDP 203 | Vibration Hazards in Transit

PDP 204 | Test Laboratory Operations & Instrumentation

PDP 205 | Test Procedures & Enhanced Simulation Testing

Choose How You Want to Learn

You choose how you want to learn and get certified. Whether you prefer the flexibility of learning on your own or the interactivity of a live course (virtual, or in-person), ISTA offers the best options to suit your learning style. Plus, you can choose any combination.

Online Self-Study

Learn at your pace, any place.

Meet your training and certification needs, on your own schedule, with ISTA's improved and revamped learning platform! The course module includes a pre-recorded video presentation and supporting text that provides a dynamic self-paced learning experience.

When you choose to pursue ISTA PDP certification via ISTA's Online Learning system, PDP courses must be purchased individually. Multiple PDP courses cannot be purchased as a bundle.

ISTA's Online Learning system will automatically track your progress and award ISTA PDP certification after the exams for all six (6) courses have been passed. 

  • Member discounted rate:

If you are your company's delegate, you must use your personal login to access courses.

$225 per course ($1,350 for all 6 courses)

  • Non-member rate:

$325 per course ($1,950 for all 6 courses)

  • Student member pricing available for PDP 101
Member Access Non-Member Access

Live Virtual Training

Instructor-led, real-time training in a virtual environment.

Get in-depth training by attending our scheduled virtual course trainings which features our instructor who walk through subject matter via a live video conference call. Virtual opportunities are scheduled throughout the year.

  • Member discounted rate:

If you are your company's delegate, you must use your personal login to access courses.

$225 per course;

$1,350 PDP certification bundle (6 courses)

  • Non-member rate:

$325 per course;

$1,950 PDP certification bundle (6 courses)

  • Student member pricing available for PDP 101
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In-Person Training

Face-to-face training at ISTA events.

Interactive live events with our lead instructor and fellow attendees with our in-person events such as the annual ISTA Forum, TransPack & TempPack events.

  • Member discounted rate:

If you are your company's delegate, you must use your personal login to access courses.

$1,350 PDP certification bundle (6 courses)

  • Non-member rate:

$1,950 PDP certification bundle (6 courses)

View events

Non-Member Access

PDP Certification is now available for non-members. Click below to learn more about signing up for a non-member access account.

Non-Member Access

PDP Courses

In order to achieve ISTA Packaging Dynamics Professional certification, participants will be required to complete and pass all six PDP training modules listed below.

PDP 101 | Principles of Distribution Packaging

Principles of Distribution Packaging is an introduction to various topics that affect distribution package design.  Topics include an overview of the various levels of packaging, corrugated fundamentals, sustainability, and the implications of packaging decisions.  The hazards of supply chains, transportation modes, and different commerce channels will also be discussed.

The training objectives for this course include: 

  • A better understanding of the roles of the different layers of packaging in distribution 
  • An understanding of the fundamentals of corrugated and making sustainable packaging decisions 
  • An understanding of the importance of preshipment testing and the role ISTA plays in the development & implementation of test standards 
  • An understanding of various commerce and supply chain channels 
  • A better understanding of the decision-making process related to packaging design and sustainability 

PDP 101 is the first of six courses in ISTA‘s Packaging Dynamics Professional (PDP) Certification program.  Trainees will need to participate in all six PDP courses as well as take and pass the exam for each in order to receive ISTA's PDP Certification.  

Instructional time: 1 hour 22 minutes

Course topics: Defining Distribution Packaging; Primary Packaging; Secondary Packaging; Tertiary Packaging; Fundamentals of Corrugated Board; Making Paper; Burst Testing; Edge Crush Testing; Box Makers Certificates; Supply Chain Components; Supply Chain Nodes; Supply Chain Modes; Commerce Channels; eCommerce; Omni-Channel; Preshipment Testing; ISTA Standards; ISTA Test Procedures; Sustainability in Packaging. 

PDP 201 | Atmospheric & Compression Hazards in Transit

Atmospheric & Compression Hazards in Transit examines the hazards experienced in our global package distribution environment.  PDP 201 focuses on the effects of air pressure and atmospheric moisture.  This course continues on to examine how packages experience both static and dynamic compression forces during shipping.  The instructor will relate how hazards in the environment are simulated by testing in the laboratory. 

The training objectives for this course include: 

  • A better understanding of atmospheric pressure at different altitudes 
  • An understanding of hazards related to temperature & humidity 
  • An introduction to phase change 
  • An understanding of how pressure, temperature & humidity is simulated in the testing laboratory 
  • A better understanding of static & dynamic compression hazards in the distribution environment 
  • An introduction to the fundamentals of corrugated box compression strength & how packaging engineers and technicians can test for compression strength in the laboratory 

PDP 201 is the continuation of ISTA‘s Packaging Dynamics Professional (PDP) Certification program.  Trainees will need to participate in all six PDP courses as well as take and pass the exam for each in order to receive ISTA‘s PDP Certification.  

Instructional time: 39 minutes

Course topics:  Atmospheric Pressure; Thermal Hazards; Atmospheric Moisture; Humidity; Laboratory Conditioning for Temperature & Humidity; Compression Hazards; Static Compression; Stacking; Dynamic Compression; Laboratory Testing for Compression; Compression Test Equipment .

PDP 202 | Shock & Drop Hazards in Transit

Shock & Drop Hazards in Transit examines the hazards experienced in our global package distribution environment.  PDP 202 focuses on the basics of shock dynamics, how they occur in shipping and the many different ways drops/shocks are simulated in the laboratory.  This course continues on to examine how cushioning materials are tested for performance.  The instructor will show how this performance testing is applied in packaging design for cushioning.

The training objectives for this course include: 

  • A better understanding of accelerations experienced when packages are dropped 
  • An understanding of changes in velocity & how they affect packages during shipping 
  • An understanding of many different methods of simulating drops/shocks in the testing laboratory 
  • A better understanding of static & dynamic compression hazards in the distribution environment 
  • An introduction to the fundamentals of cushioning, how test data is documented via cushion curves & how packaging engineers and designers can apply cushion curves to design protective packages 

PDP 202 is the continuation of ISTA‘s Packaging Dynamics Professional (PDP) Certification program.  Trainees will need to participate in all six PDP courses as well as take and pass the exam for each in order to receive ISTA‘s PDP Certification.

Instructional time: 41 minutes

Course topics:  Basic Shock Dynamics; Shock Hazards in the Transit Environment; Drop Test Specifications; Drop Test Equipment; Drop Test Alternatives; Dynamic Material Testing; Shock Performance of Cushioning Materials; Shock Cushion Curves.  

PDP 203 | Vibration Hazards in Transit

Vibration Hazards in Transit examines the hazards experienced in our global package distribution environment.  PDP 203 focuses on the basics of vibration dynamics, how it occurs in shipping and the many different ways vibration is simulated in the laboratory.  This course continues on to examine how random vibration occurs in the distribution environment and how random vibration testing is performed in the test laboratory.  The instructor will discuss how this vibration testing is applied in packaging design. 

The training objectives for this course include: 

  • A better understanding of how packages experience vibration in the distribution environment 
  • An understanding of changes in vibration intensity & frequency affect packages during shipping 
  • An understanding of many different methods of simulating vibration in the testing laboratory 
  • A better understanding of random vibration hazards in the distribution environment & how random vibration testing is performed in the laboratory 
  • An introduction to the fundamentals of random vibration measurement & analysis  

PDP 203 is the continuation of ISTA‘s Packaging Dynamics Professional (PDP) Certification program.  Trainees will need to participate in all six PDP courses as well as take and pass the exam for each in order to receive ISTA‘s PDP Certification. 

Instructional time: 53 minutes

Course topics:  Basic Vibration Dynamics; Vibration Hazards in the Transit Environment; Vibration Testing in the Laboratory; Vibration Test Specifications; Vibration Test Equipment; Random Vibration Dynamics; Measurement & Analysis of Random Vibration Data; Random Vibration Testing in the Laboratory.  

PDP 204 | Test Laboratory Operations & Instrumentation

Test Laboratory Operations & Instrumentation provides a broad overview of packaging lab test equipment, certification and instrumentation.  PDP 204 focuses on the ISTA lab certification process.  This course continues on to review the ISTA Transit-Tested package certification process & benefits.  The instructor will discuss best practices for selection & use of measurement systems, sensors & transducers, signal conditioners and signal filtering. 

The training objectives for this course include: 

  • A better understanding of best practices for maintaining package test lab equipment 
  • An understanding of ISTA test lab certification options & the certification process 
  • An understanding of ISTA Transit-Tested certification process 
  • A better understanding of package test laboratory measurement systems, sensors, transducers, signal conditioners and signal filtering 

PDP 204 is the continuation of ISTA‘s Packaging Dynamics Professional (PDP) Certification program.  Trainees will need to participate in all six PDP courses as well as take and pass the exam for each in order to receive ISTA‘s PDP Certification. 

Instructional time: 1 hour 8 minutes

Course topics:  Data Accuracy & Reliability; Package Test Lab Equipment; ISTA Lab Certification; ISTA Lab Certification Checklist; ISTA Transit-Tested Certification; Selection & Performance of Lab Tests; Measurement in the Lab; Packaging Lab Instrumentation; Signal Conditioners; Readouts; Sensors & Transducers; Signal Filtering; Test Lab Equipment Calibration.  

PDP 205 | Test Procedures & Enhanced Simulation Testing

Test Procedures & Enhanced Simulation Testing provides an overview of ISTA test procedure categories & types.  PDP 205 focuses on the following test procedures categories:  (1) Non-Simulation Integrity Testing; (2) Partial Simulation Testing; (3) General Simulation Testing; and (4) Enhanced Simulation Testing.  This course continues on to provide an overview of different test standard organizations in the packaging industry.  An overview will then be provided of National Motor Freight Traffic Association Item 180.  The instructor will finish with an overview of the PackSight digital test planning & reporting system. 

The training objectives for this course include: 

  • A better understanding of ISTA test protocol categories & types 
  • An understanding of non-simulation integrity testing 
  • An understanding of partial simulation testing 
  • An overview of general simulation testing 
  • An overview of enhanced simulation testing 
  • An understanding of National Motor Freight Traffic Association Item 180 
  • A better understanding of ISTA‘s & Specright‘s PackSight digital test planning & reporting system 

PDP 205 is the continuation of ISTA‘s Packaging Dynamics Professional (PDP) Certification program.  Trainees will need to participate in all six PDP courses as well as take and pass the exam for each in order to receive ISTA‘s PDP Certification.

Instructional time: 1 hour 11 minutes

Course topics:  Why Test in the Lab; ISTA Test Categories & Types; Non-Simulation Integrity Testing; Partial Simulation Testing; General Simulation Testing; Enhanced Simulation Testing; Selecting a Test Procedure; Overview of Different Test Standard Organizations; ISTA Test Procedure Layout; Hazardous Material Packaging Testing; Overview of National Motor Freight Traffic Association Item 180; Overview of ASTM Package Test; Overview of PackSight Digital Test Planning & Reporting System.  

CPLP to PDP

CPLP Level I Technician

In order to continue to be ISTA certified past the end of your current term, CPLP Level I Technicians must take and pass the exams for the six (6) new ISTA Packaging Dynamics Professional (PDP) courses. Discounted rates coming soon.

Certification terms of all CPLP Level I Technicians have been extended by an additional one (1) year.

CPLP Level II Technologist

CPLP Level II Technologists have automatically been converted to ISTA Packaging Dynamics Professional (PDP) Certified.  You are now ISTA Packaging Dynamics Professional (PDP) Certified. 

Check your education dashboard to view your updated certificate. Certification terms for all ISTA Packaging Dynamics Professionals (PDP's) have been extended to a minimum of September 1, 2024.

CPLP Level III Professional

Current CPLP Level III Professionals have been automatically converted to Lifetime ISTA Packaging Dynamics Professional (LPDP) Certification status.

Lifetime ISTA Packaging Dynamics Professional (LPDP) Certification is achieved after 12 continuous years of PDP certification.

PDP Recertification & Continuing Education

Recertification is an important indicator to you and your employer that you have kept up with current trends and validated your skills at the level of the original PDP certification.

  • ISTA's PDP program has a three-year recertification requirement that must be met prior to the certification expiration date
  • PDP recertification is based on a point system for employment, participation in additional educational courses and involvement with ISTA boards, councils and workgroups (see recertification point system below)
  • Each time requirements are met, PDP certification will be extended for an additional three years

Additional educational courses: ISTA continues to add educational courses that can be completed for credit towards recertification, including:

PDP Recertification Point System

  • Application fee for PDP recertification is $100.
  • A minimum of 135 points must be achieved during each three-year recertification period.
Recertification activityPoints per activityMaximum points per 3-year PDP recertification period
Years of employment related to transport packaging10 points per year30
Non-PDP ISTA Continuing Education 100-level courses10 points per course75
(2 courses of any level required)
Non-PDP ISTA Continuing Education 200-level courses15 points per course
Non-PDP ISTA Continuing Education 300-level courses
20 points per course
Retake any 200-level PDP course10 points per course50
Participation in ISTA Boards/Councils30 points per board or council90
Participation in ISTA Work Groups/Committees15 points per work group or committee30
Attendance at ISTA events, conferences15 points per event or conference30
Attendance at ISTA webinars5 points per webinar15
Serve as presenter at ISTA events, conferences, webinars30 points per presentation60
Serve as presenter at packaging-related meetings or conferences5 points per presentation15
Publication of papers or articles related to transport packaging10 points per article30
Membership in packaging professional organizations5 points per membership15
BS in packaging science, technology or engineering (in lifetime)10 points per degree10
MS in packaging science, technology or engineering (in lifetime)10 points per degree10
PhD in packaging science, technology or engineering (in lifetime)10 points per degree10
Lead a transport packaging project within your company15 points per project15
Packaging-related patents issued during this recertification cycle15 points per patent45

The following is an example of a common way an ISTA PDP can meet the 135 point Packaging Dynamics Professional (PDP) recertification threshold over their current multi-year term:

Years of employment related to transport packaging3 years @10 points each      30 points
Non-PDP Continuning Education courses3 courses for a total of 45 points      45 points
Attendance at ISTA events, conferences2 events @15 points each      30 points
Attendance at ISTA webinars3 webinars @5 points each      15 points
Lead a transport packaging project within your company         1 project @15 points each      15 points
Total          135 points

See above for the full list of 18 different ways existing PDP's can earn ISTA Packaging Dynamics Professional (PDP) recertification points.

Lifetime PDP

Lifetime ISTA Packaging Dynamics Professional (PDP) Certification is achieved after 12 continuous years of PDP certification.

Student PDP In Training

Students may take the first ISTA Packaging Dynamics Professional (PDP) course (PDP 101: Principles of Distribution Packaging - Student Edition) to obtain a designation of ISTA Packaging Design Professional (PDP) In Training.  Students may then take the remaining PDP course content when their 3-year student certification expires (or they decide to do so sooner) to get full PDP certification. 

Group Training

Ramp up your team's skills in a cost-effective way, by having our instructor conduct training (virtual or in-person) for your group. Contact us at ista@ista.org and we'll follow up, answer any questions and help bring ISTA PDP Certification to your organization.

FAQs

We’ve put together commonly asked questions in our Support Center to give you more information about ISTA's Packaging Dynamics Professional (PDP) program. Click below to browse through these FAQs to find your answers.

PDP FAQs