Due to the current worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, courses and proficiency test offerings have been suspended temporarily. All expiring PDA Rankings, in 2020 through June 2021, will be given an extension of one year from the normal suggested validity period. Once COVID-19 has been deemed as managed, courses and tests will resume, and the suggested validity period will revert to the previous time durations.


Pile Dynamics, Inc. (PDI), in cooperation with the Pile Driving Contractors Association (PDCA), has developed a "Dynamic Measurement and Analysis Proficiency Test" for engineers providing high strain dynamic foundation testing services. The test was designed to reflect their level of knowledge and ability, which is then indicated in a "Certificate of Proficiency". To assure a high standard of testing, many organizations or agencies seeking testing services now require a certificate demonstrating some specified level of ability in dynamic testing. Click here to read about the Need for Quality Testing.

Who should take the test

Users of the Pile Driving Analyzer® (PDA) system and CAPWAP® software interested in obtaining a Certificate of Proficiency in Dynamic Foundation Testing, confirming their ability to their clients seeking services, or meeting qualification requirements from agencies or organizations.

Calendar of Test Events

 November 2021
  November 3, 2021, Cleveland, Ohio: Seminar on Deep Foundation Integrity Testing and Wave Equation Analysis. Sponsored by Pile Driving Contractors Association and Pile Dynamics, Inc.. Garland Likins, Frank Rausche, Brent Robinson and Ryan Allin will present. For more information contact Kathy Harper at Kathy@piledrivers.org. Download Flyer
  November 4-5, 2021, Cleveland, Ohio: High Strain Dynamic Foundation Testing Workshop and Proficiency Test . Sponsored by Pile Driving Contractors Association and Pile Dynamics, Inc.. Garland Likins, Frank Rausche, Brent Robinson and Ryan Allin will present. For more information contact Kathy Harper at Kathy@piledrivers.org. Download Flyer

Test Details

The Dynamic Measurement and Analysis Proficiency Test covers:

  • Wave propagation theory
  • PDA data interpretation
  • PDA applications
  • Data quality assessment
  • Signal matching analysis (e.g. CAPWAP)

Test Format: The test is a 60 question multiple-choice test, to be completed in 90 minutes or less, with only minimal calculations required (simple math by hand calculation). The test is CLOSED BOOK. Cell phones are strictly prohibited.Click here for sample questions.

Suggested preparation and study resources:

  • The best preparation is your work experience following your initial PDA training.
  • Attend Dynamic Foundation Testing Workshops, which are offered on a regular basis (For specific dates and location please visit the PDI or PDCA calendar of events at www.pile.com/events/pdievents or www.piledrivers.org ) Click here to read about a recent workshop.
  • Powerpoint presentations from Dynamic Foundation Testing Workshops
  • Appendix A from the PDA manual
  • "Helpful Hints" appendix from the PDA manual
  • Background information from the CAPWAP manual
  • Practice PDA "Example Data" (many are discussed in a PDA manual appendix)

The last 4 items mentioned above are supplied with PDA purchases. If you do not have access to the PDA manual and examples, or if you do not have the current version of the PDA manual, please contact softwaresales@pile.com in advance of the test date.

Test fee: The fee to take the test and receive a Certificate of Proficiency is $200. Those who do not pass the test will receive full credit of test registration fee to be applied towards retaking the test at the next opportunity. An administrative fee of $50 is required to update any Institution information to a different Institution and/or to receive an updated Certificate of Proficiency.

Disclaimer: The PDA Proficiency Test may not be retaken within a 3-month period of previous test date.

Test Results and Validity

A Certificate of Proficiency is issued for a passing grade, and the Rank shown depends on the test score achieved. Please click here to view a sample Certificate. Only the Provisional Certificate expires.

Passing the test, particularly at higher levels, demonstrates good command of dynamic testing concepts. However, it is recommended that everyone attain a higher level rank through additional study and experience within the suggested time listed below from the date listed on their Certificate.

Rank Test Score Suggested Validity Period
Expert 93- 100% Lifetime
Master 85- 92% 8 years
Advanced 75- 84% 6 years
Intermediate 65- 74% 4 years
Basic 55-64% 2 years
Provisional 45-54%* 1 year*

*Provisional level expires 1 year from original test date

Agencies or organizations specifying a Certificate of Proficiency as a qualification for providers of foundation testing services should set their own requirements for minimum Rank and maximum period of Certificate validity for each level of proficiency. Test takers should be familiar with the requirements of the agencies or organizations that require PDA dynamic testing services in their territory. (Gray font indicates the date of the Certificate exceeds the suggested validity period.)

The individual named on a Proficiency Certificate has demonstrated knowledge to the rank granted. However, the ability of this individual to apply appropriate knowledge and advice on a specific project is not implied or warranted by the Pile Driving Contractors Association or Pile Dynamics, Inc. The Pile Driving Contractors Association or Pile Dynamics, Inc. assumes no liability for foundation testing and analysis work performed by the bearer of this certificate.

A list of those who have passed the Proficiency Test can be found by here by clicking Americas or Others Worldwide . This list may be used to confirm certificates or seek services of active providers of dynamic pile testing. If your name is grayed out this means your suggested test validity has expired. If you want to re-take the test contact: proficiencytest@pile.com.