5 Steps To Become A Certified Dementia Practitioner (CDP®)
Written By Kobi Nathan, Pharm.D., M.Ed., CDP, BCGP, AGSF
Sleep Disorders
December 11, 2023

Are you passionate about making a difference in the lives of those affected by dementia? Becoming a Certified Dementia Practitioner® (CDP®) could be the perfect way for you to take your older adult-centered career and commitment to the next level.

By obtaining this certification, you’ll not only showcase your dedication to providing the best possible care for individuals with dementia, but you’ll also gain the skills and knowledge necessary to excel in this rewarding field.

In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of becoming a CDP®, including the benefits, requirements, and steps to take in order to achieve this valuable credential.

You might be wondering if you’re eligible to become a CDP®, what the costs are, and how long the certification lasts.

Rest assured, I’ll cover all of these topics and more, including information on finding certified dementia practitioner classes near you and what to expect from the seminars and exams.

So, read on to learn more about how you can enhance your career and make a lasting impact on the lives of those living with dementia by becoming a Certified Dementia Practitioner®.

Key Takeaways

  • The Certified Dementia Practitioner® (CDP®) certification is for healthcare and front line staff with in-depth knowledge of dementia care who want to provide the best care to people with dementia.
  • To become a CDP®, one needs at least one year of experience in a geriatric healthcare-related field and complete a 7-hour seminar through NCCDP.
  • The CDP® certification is not a license or a requirement to work with those with dementia, but rather a certification for those who want to go above and beyond in the care they provide.
  • The CDP® certification is valid for two years and requires 10 hours of continuing education for recertification and renewal.

What is a certified dementia practitioner®?

A Certified Dementia Practitioner® (CDP®) is a specialized health care professional with in-depth knowledge and experience in dementia care, going above and beyond to support individuals and families affected by this condition.

By obtaining CDP® certification through the National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners (NCCDP), you demonstrate a strong commitment to the field of dementia care, and to the patients and families who rely on your expertise.

This certification is open to a variety of professions in the United States, including those working in adult day care, assisted living, hospitals, and senior living communities.

If you live outside the United States, you are also eligible to become CDP certified.  To learn more, visit the International Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners.

Benefits of being an NCCDP certified CDP®

It’s an excellent way to enhance your professional credentials and showcase your dedication to providing the highest quality care for people living with dementia.

As a CDP®, you’ll be equipped with the skills, knowledge, and tools needed to effectively care for individuals with dementia.

This includes understanding the various types of dementia, their symptoms, and the best practices for managing them.

Additionally, you will become informed on dementia-related topics such as:

  • Dementia-related trends and developments.
  • Ethics.
  • Regulations.
  • Medications.
  • Person-centered care.
  • Effective communication strategies.
  • Enhancing quality of life for people with dementia.

By completing the NCCDP’s Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Care Seminar, you’ll receive comprehensive dementia education that will prepare you to better serve this vulnerable population.

Pursuing CDP® certification not only benefits your professional growth but also the organizations that support and employ you.

By having certified dementia practitioners on staff, organizations can ensure they are providing the highest quality care and support for people with dementia and their families.

This can lead to improved patient outcomes, increased satisfaction among staff and clients, and a more positive reputation in the community.

Additionally, becoming a CDP® can open up new career opportunities and help you stand out among your peers in an increasingly competitive job market.

So, if you’re passionate about providing exceptional care and support for people living with dementia, consider pursuing CDP® certification.

This valuable credential will enhance your professional skills, demonstrate your commitment to the field, and serve as a testament to your dedication to improving the lives of those affected by dementia.

Who can qualify for CDP certification?

CDP® certification is open to the following healthcare professionals and front line staff and health care members:

  • Administrator/Executive Directors.
  • Aging In Place Home Specialists.
  • Alzheimer’s Ambassadors.
  • Alzheimer’s Coach or Dementia Coaches.
  • Alzheimer’s / Dementia Unit Managers.
  • Aroma Therapists.
  • Art Therapists.
  • Assistant Administrators.
  • Audiologists.
  • Dieticians.
  • Nurses.
  • Pharmacists.
  • Podiatrists.
  • Psychiatrists.
  • Life Care Managers.
  • Medicaid Specialists.
  • Music Therapists.
  • Personal Care Assistants.
  • And many, many more.

Visit the Professions Eligible for CDP® Certification page on the NCCDP website to review the full listing of professions.

Typical healthcare settings include:

  • Nursing Homes.
  • Assisted Living Communities.
  • Adult Day Care.
  • Rehabilitation Centers.
  • Long Term Care Facilities.
  • Government.
  • Law Firms.
  • Home Care Agencies.
  • Pharmacist Consulting Companies.
  • Etc.

If you do not see your profession listed on the linked page I provided above, please contact the NCCDP to verify your eligibility.

Difference between certification and credentialing

It is important to understand the difference between these two terms and what they represent.

According to the CDP® information page on the NCCDP website, “While certification promotes and maintains quality, it does not license, confer a right or privilege upon or otherwise define the qualifications of anyone in the healthcare field.”

To be credentialed in a certain specialty, you usually have to take and pass a very stringent and challenging test or exam.

For example, in order to become a Board-certified Geriatric Pharmacist (BCGP), I had to earn high marks in the Board examination administered by the Board of Pharmacy Specialties.

To be a CDP® Certified Dementia Practitioner®, you do not need to take a test. However, there are some requirements you need to meet in order to become certified.

Let’s review these next.

How to become a certified dementia practitioner®

Here is a step-by-step guide on what you need to do to apply for CDP® certification (Must be done in sequence!):

  • Step 1: Verify that your profession qualifies for CDP® certification (Here is the link again).
  • Step 2: Must have at least one year of experience in geriatric health care.
  • Step 3: Complete a 7-hour seminar through NCCDP (go to list of NCCDP Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Care Seminars to find one and sign up).
  • Step 4: Submit your CDP® application. (You will need to upload documents, including proof of your work experience, and the completion certificate from the Seminar you attended).
  • Step 5: Pay the fees (around $340).
  • Receive your certificate with your very own certification number!


Here is a graphic of the steps to becoming a CDP®:

The Grandfather option

If you are certified in dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease by another national organization or University, you may have the option to grandfather your application.

This means that you do not have to complete the Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Care Seminar as listed in Step 3 above.

You will just need to submit documentation proving that you already possess the certification. Click here to download the Grandfather option application.

How much does the CDP® certification cost?

The cost of the CDP® certification depends on whether you are applying on your own or as part of a group, or via the Grandfather option. Here is the cost breakdown:

graphic showing how much does CDP certification cost

Adapted from: https://www.nccdp.org/fees.htm


How Long Does the CDP® Credential Last?

Once you’ve earned your CDP® credential, it’ll last for two years.

During this time, you’ll be able to apply your knowledge and skills to improve the well-being of individuals with dementia and support their loved ones.

To maintain your CDP credential, you’ll need to complete 10 hours of continuing education in Alzheimer’s or dementia care before the two-year period ends.

As you work towards completing your continuing education requirements in dementia care, you’ll gain valuable insights into the latest research, best practices, and emerging trends in the field.

This ongoing education will not only help you stay informed but also enable you to provide the most effective care to individuals with dementia.

Certified dementia practitioner renewal

When your two-year CDP credential period ends, you’ll need to submit documentation of your completed continuing education hours and your renewal fees to the National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners (NCCDP).

This process ensures that you’ve met the necessary requirements to maintain your certification and continue to be a leader in the field of dementia care.

By renewing your CDP credential, you’re reaffirming your dedication to providing the best possible care for those affected by dementia and their families.

Are there certified dementia practitioner classes near me

The National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners (NCCDP) makes it easy to find certified dementia practitioner classes in your area.

Most of them are offered online via the Zoom platform. Click here to view the NCCDP Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Care Seminars schedule.

Seminar Content

The comprehensive NCCDP Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia curriculum is wide-ranging and covers the following topics:

  • Dementia overview – Diagnosis, Medications, Treatment
  • Screening tests used in dementia.
  • Repetitive behaviors, wandering/sundowning, agitation, hoarding, psychosis, etc.
  • Communicating with dementia patients.
  • Personal Care limitations.
  • Intimacy, Sexuality, etc.
  • Depression.
  • Environmental sensitivity.
  • Cultural considerations.
  • Caregiver stress.
  • Elder abuse awareness.
  • Preparing for End-of-life.
  • Etc.

Geriatric Medication Principles and Dementia Medications

I can tell you as a pharmacotherapy specialist in Geriatric Medicine that there are MANY other considerations you need to be aware of when working with older adults struggling with Dementia, other than the cholinesterase inhibitors and memantine.

You need to know how the aging body changes and responds to medications, and how inappropriate prescribing and overmedication can lead to hospitalization and premature death in older adults.

These issues are drastically compounded when Dementia inserts itself into an already challenging situation with older adults.

Do you know the subtle differences between the acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (Donepezil vs Exelon, etc)? They are NOT the same!

What about seemingly harmless OTC sleep aids such as Zzzquil? Or the sleep hypnotics (Ambien, Lunesta, etc)?

I address all of these issues in my one-of-a-kind 2-in-one on-demand online course, created specifically for the general healthcare professional audience.

To my knowledge, no other resource of this kind exists.

This course is infused with my many years of clinical and teaching experience as a Geriatric Pharmacist and Associate Professor of Pharmacy, working directly with Dementia patients and their caregivers, in addition to teaching and training physicians, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, medical social workers, nurses, and other allied healthcare professionals about medication challenges in this patient population.

In my opinion, taking this course is a MUST for anyone considering any type of certification as a Dementia Practitioner, and it will serve as an invaluable asset to your Dementia knowledge and skillset.

Here are all of the topics I cover in my course:

Part 1: Medication Considerations in the Older Adult

  • Definitions associated with Geriatric Medicine.
  • The Aging Process: Changes in the Digestive Tract, Heart/Blood Vessels, Kidneys, Immune System, Nervous System, Muscles, and Bones.
  • The Geriatric Syndromes.
  • The Layperson’s Guide to Geriatric Pharmacodynamics and Pharmacokinetics.
  • Diabetes Management in Older Adults.
  • Medication Safety: Side Effects vs. Adverse Drug Reactions vs. Adverse Drug Effects.
  • The Prescribing Cascade.
  • The Beers Criteria of Inappropriate Medications.
  • Drugs to Avoid (Benzodiazepines, The Anticholinergics).
  • The Deprescribing Process.
  • Patient Case – Ms. G (step-by-step breakdown of inappropriate medication identification and deprescribing).

Part 2: Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias

  • Patient Case – Ms. D.
  • Disease Process & Causes.
  • Modifiable & Non-modifiable Risk Factors.
  • Normal Aging vs. Dementia.
  • Definitions and Overview: Alzheimer’s Disease, Vascular Dementia, Lewy Body Dementia, Parkinson’s Disease Dementia, Frontotemporal Dementia.
  • Commonly used screening tools: The Mini-Cog, MoCA, MMSE.
  • Goals of Care.
  • The Medications: All Acetylcholinesterase Inhibitors, NMDA Antagonist.
  • Management of Behavioral Symptoms & Psychological Symptoms of Dementia (BPSD).
  • Polypharmacy & Drug Interactions.
  • OTC agents and Herbal Supplements.
  • Drugs to Avoid.
  • Bonus Content: eBook I wrote to accompany the course, Interviews with Geriatrician, Sleep Medicine Neurologist, Neuropsychologist.
  • Downloadable MP3 files of all lessons.
  • Topic-specific quizzes, Final Exam with answers and explanations afterward, Downloadable documents, and Worksheets.

56 videos in total with 12 quizzes, one final exam, and 39 downloadable files!!!

Click here to learn more and buy.

Important note: NCCDP nor any other Dementia Practitioner certifying body do not endorse my course and I have no financial agreement with any organization with regard to your purchase of this course.

Purchasing my content is not a requirement for any Dementia certification seminar or training program. The content in my course is intended to be educational only.

That said, I know that learning my content will enable you to be a better informed and confident practitioner of Dementia-related issues.

For a detailed discussion of Dementia and its management, please read my article here.

My article on Insomnia in the Elderly ties in well with Dementia due to the overlapping issues with sleep disturbances and cognitive impairment.

And, any discussion of dementia will not be complete without exploring the dangers of polypharmacy in older adults.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does obtaining a CDP certification benefit my career in healthcare or geriatric care?

Obtaining a CDP certification enhances your expertise in dementia care, showcasing your commitment to providing exceptional care for patients with dementia. It boosts your career prospects and credibility in geriatric healthcare.

Can international healthcare professionals obtain the CDP certification, and are there any additional requirements for them?

Yes, international healthcare professionals can obtain the CDP certification. Click here for more information. There may be additional requirements, such as verifying your credentials and experience.

Are there any financial assistance programs or scholarships available for individuals who may have difficulty affording the CDP certification process?

While there aren’t specific financial assistance programs or scholarships mentioned for the CDP certification, it’s worth reaching out to NCCDP or your employer to discuss possible funding options or payment plans.

How does the CDP certification compare to other dementia care certifications or trainings available in the healthcare industry?

The CDP certification is the Gold Standard for Dementia certification. It stands out in the healthcare industry due to its comprehensive training, wide eligibility, and focus on continual education. It’s a valuable credential for those dedicated to providing exceptional dementia care.

Are there any specific resources or study materials recommended to prepare for the Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Care Seminar required for CDP certification?

There aren’t specific study materials required for the Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Care Seminar. However, attending the seminar with an open mind and taking thorough notes will help you prepare for the CDP certification.


So, you’re ready to take the next step in your career and become a Certified Dementia Practitioner. This journey will not only enhance your knowledge and skills but also show your dedication to providing exceptional care for individuals with dementia.

Don’t wait any longer – start exploring the requirements, costs, and available courses to embark on this rewarding career path.

With the right mindset and determination, you’ll soon be well-equipped to make a positive impact on the lives of those affected by dementia.

Related Post