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There are Three Levels of Certification: Technician, Technologist and Professional

Technician covers basic laboratory operations, procedures & protocols, and conduct of the essential ISTA shock/drop/impact, vibration, compression, and atmospheric tests. A minimum of 6 months employment in the industry is required, or a packaging or related engineering degree.

Technician Module Descriptions
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.


Technologist encompasses advanced procedures & protocols including those from other organizations, random vibration, dynamic material testing, instrumentation, and enhanced simulation (ISTA 4AB). Prerequisites are Technician-level certification and a minimum of 1 year employment in the industry (or a packaging or related engineering degree).

Technologist Module Descriptions
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.


Professional-level Certification is the elite status, the highest attainable certification level in the CPLP program, and is based on a résumé 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 résumé with the following 11 categories and numerical ranges. A minimum score of 320 is required for CPLP Professional certification.

1. Number of years engaged in activities related to transport packaging. List employers/organizations, locations, job functions and titles, years, supervisory responsibilities, any additional and/or supporting detail.

5-10 points for each full year (no credit for partial years), highest points for responsible activities most directly related to packaging laboratories and testing.
Maximum 100 points.

2. College or university degrees. List complete degree description (i.e., B.S. Packaging, M.Sc. Chemistry, etc.), colleges/universities, dates received, any additional and/or supporting detail.

5-30 points for undergraduate degree, 10-30 additional points for advanced degree,
10-40 additional points for doctorate. Highest points for packaging degrees.
Maximum 100 points.

3. Other formal education related to transport packaging or associated subjects. List course description, presenting organization (college or university, etc.), dates, grade received, credits or CEU's if any, appropriate supporting detail.

3-10 points for each successfully-completed semester- or term-length course. Highest points for packaging courses.
Maximum 40 points.

4. Attendance at transport-packaging-related short courses or seminars, or at major transport-packaging-related educational events or conferences. Short courses and seminars are typically specific-subject and one week or less in duration. Major transport-packaging-related educational events or conference examples are ISTA's Transport Packaging Forum and similar, Dimensions, the ISTA-China Symposium, the ISTA Field Data Workshop, IAPRI, etc., usually multi-presentation and typically one week or less in duration. List course description, presenting organization, dates, grade received if any, credits or CEU's if any, appropriate supporting detail. If other or different types of educational events which do not fit this category or the one above have been attended, list under item 11 below.

3 points for each successfully-completed seminar or course relating to transport packaging.
Maximum 45 points.

5. Attendance at major packaging shows or exhibitions (Pack Expo, Westpack/Eastpack/Southpack/Midpack, Interpack, Tokyo Pack, etc.). List event, organization, participation/responsibilities, dates, any additional and/or supporting detail.

1-3 points for each event attended. Highest points for high levels of responsibility regarding attendance, exhibiting, results, etc.
Maximum 20 points.

6. Presentations at packaging-related meetings or conferences. Can range from short presentations at local technical society meetings or similar to major presentations at national or international conferences. List meeting or conference, subject/title, any co-presenters, approximate number of people in audience, locations, dates, any additional and/or supporting detail.

2-10 points for each, depending on presentation. Highest points for transport-
packaging presentations at national or international conferences with large audiences.
Maximum 60 points.

7. Publication of papers, articles, etc. related to transport packaging (not including those associated with presentations above). List newsletter/magazine/book etc. where published, subject/title, any co-authors, dates, any additional and/or supporting detail.

2-10 points for each, depending on publication. Highest points for sole authorship of major articles in major publications.
Maximum 60 points.

8. Membership in packaging professional organizations or technical societies (i.e. ISTA, IoPP, ASTM D10, IAPRI, TAPPI, NIPHLE, etc.), including any offices held or special services rendered. List organizations, dates, offices, special projects or services, any additional and/or supporting detail.

1-20 points per year, depending on participation and responsibility. Highest points for
high offices in national or international organizations.
Maximum 60 points.

9. Packaging-related honors, awards, certifications, competitions entered/won, patents, etc. Identify each item, organization, date, any additional and/or supporting detail.

3-15 points for each, depending on commendation. Highest points for national or international recognition.
Maximum 60 points.

10. Teaching or lecturing at Packaging-related classes or seminars. Can range from one-day seminars to full term or semester courses. List course subject/title, level of responsibility (only teacher/lecturer or part of a group), approximate number of people in attendance, locations, dates, any additional and/or supporting detail.

3-30 points for each, depending on class/seminar. Highest points for sole responsibility
for major courses and large classes.
Maximum 100 points.

11. Other activities and accomplishments related to transport packaging not otherwise covered above, or other factors for consideration (i.e. expert witness, media appearance regarding packaging, public newspaper articles on packaging, education not covered above, advisory boards, etc.). List detailed information as appropriate.

Additional points awarded at the discretion of ISTA's Certification Committee.
Maximum 50 points.

 

If you are interested in applying for CPLP Professional certification, click here to request a copy of the detailed résumé form.