Certified Packaging Laboratory Professionals

This unique program encourages and recognizes development and excellence in packaging laboratory professionals. Manufacturers can improve their ability to achieve effective, economical packaging when their own people receive this unique training. CPLP certification is particularly valuable for enhancing the credibility of people involved with ISTA testing and ISTA certified laboratory operations.

ISTA's Certified Packaging Laboratory Program (CPLP) offers individuals three levels of certification:


Anyone can register for the program and study the materials. However, only ISTA members may take the exams and be CPLP-certified.

Quick Tip: Is your company already a member? If your company is already a member but you are NOT the delegate or alternate you must join as an Associate member to receive a login, take the exams and become certified.

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Course Options & Registration

Self-study: Online

Level I Technician & Level II Technologist only $325

On-line study includes convenient navigation, enhanced graphics, and a slideshow review to reinforce the material. On-line exams are electronically graded for fast response. To begin, choose the link below, login and access the Resources Folder in the Member Area to view the Online Learning options.

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Self-study: Printed

Level I Technician & Level II Technologist only $425

Printed study and exam materials are available (at extra charge to cover printing, handling, packaging, and mailing) for those who prefer that format.

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Level III Professional


Detailed resume will be sent upon registration.

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In-person events | Webinars | Group training

We conduct in-person training events (concurrent with the ISTA Forum) and online training webinars. Be sure to check ISTA events for more information. If you are interested in requesting in-person group training to be held at your location, contact ISTA for more information.

Multiple person discounts

Registration discounts are available if multiple from the company are interested in certification. To earn the discounts, applicants must be from the same company (can be different locations) and order for all applicants must be placed at the same time. Invoice / billing will be at the time of application.

Discounts available:

  • 1-2: net
  • 3-4: 5% discount
  • 5-9: 10% discount
  • 10+: 15% discount

Level I Technician

Technician covers basic laboratory operations, procedures & protocols, and conduct of the essential ISTA shock/drop/impact, vibration, compression, and atmospheric tests.

Study modules include:

  • Test Procedures and Protocols 1: Covers the different types of testing available for packaged-products, including non-simulation tests, general simulation, and focused simulation. Introduces the different types of testing organizations (ISTA, ASTM, NMFTA, ISO, etc.), and specifically focuses on the ISTA Procedures and Projects.
  • Test Laboratory Operations: What every packaging technician needs to know in order to run an organized and efficient testing facility. Includes sections on equipment maintenance, ISTA Lab Certification, test reports, documentation, and specimen handling.
  • Package Drop and Shock Testing: Covers basic shock dynamics, shock transport environment hazards, test specification, and equipment and instrumented drop testing.
  • Package Vibration Testing 1: Gives an introduction to basic vibration dynamics, vibration environment hazards, and test specifications and equipment.
  • Package Compression Testing: Covers the environmental hazards, test specifications and equipment, and the difference between static and dynamic compression.
  • Atmospheric Conditioning and Testing: Covers pre-test conditioning and effects of temperature and humidity. Tests for temperature, humidity and atmospheric pressure as they affect packaging.
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Level II Technologist

Technologist encompasses advanced procedures & protocols including those from other organizations, random vibration, dynamic material testing, instrumentation, and enhanced simulation (ISTA 4AB).

Study modules include:

  • Test Procedures and Protocols 2: More detail on the different organizations and types of testing available, including Hazardous Materials testing, LTL Items 180 and 181, ASTM D4169, and ISO 4180.
  • Package Vibration Testing 2: More detail on vibration and vibration testing, focusing on random vibration dynamics, random vibration in the field and in the lab, the measurement of hazards, and measurement instruments.
  • Dynamic Materials Testing: Development of data on the performance of packaging materials, especially in shock and vibration. Emphasis on cushioning properties.
  • Package Laboratory Instrumentation: Covers the concept of measurement systems including sensors, transducers, signal conditioning, readout devices and more.
  • Enhanced Simulation Performance Tests: Covers the background and development of ISTA 4AB, today's most advanced self-contained packaged-product performance test protocol. Discusses the detailed distribution system knowledge required for best implementation.
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Level III Professional

Professional-level Certification is the elite status, the highest attainable certification level in the CPLP program, and is based on a resume of industry participation and achievements. Weighted recognition of employment in packaging, attendance at educational packaging events, other related continuing education, advanced packaging or related degrees, published papers/articles, presentations, teaching, participation in technical societies and packaging organizations, honors/awards, patents, etc. comprise the requirements. Prerequisites are both Technician and Technologist CPLP certifications and a minimum of 3 years employment in the industry. Certification is based on a resume with the following 11 categories and numerical ranges. A minimum score of 320 is required for CPLP Professional certification.

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CPLP re-ecertification is required every three (3) years and preserves the integrity and status of the program by ensuring that a CPLP Technician or Technologist remains active in the field and is still qualified to hold the Certificate. It may be accomplished by submitting a qualifying résumé of industry activities, or by taking an abbreviated version of the appropriate current exams. Recipients are notified by ISTA prior to their re-certification date and the process must be completed within 90 days. The Professional is a lifetime certification and no re-certification is required.

The recertification fee is $150

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Resume option

First consider the resume option. If you qualify, this may be the most efficient way to re-certify. The resume form asks about your industry participation during the last three years in categories such as employment, education, teaching, awards, honors, memberships, event attendance, presentations, publications and other activities. Re-certification is based up scores in the categories, with continuing industry employment carrying the most weight. But employment alone will not be enough to qualify, so some amount of participation in at least two of the other categories is required. The point ranges for each category are listed on the resume for guidance. A minimum of 30 points is required.

Exam option

If you do not qualify or do not wish to use the resume option, then you must take the appropriate exam. The Technician exam is an abbreviated version (20 multiple-choice questions) of the current CPLP Technician exam. It covers only the main points and basic concepts – no math or calculations are required. The Technologist exam is an abbreviated version (30 multiple-choice questions) of both the current CPLP Technician and Technologist exams.