CBA Practical Exam Guide

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The Certified Balloon Artist practical exam establishes a worldwide standard for balloon professionals. Earning your CBA designation begins with becoming a QBN Member and culminates in a 4-hour practical where you demonstrate your knowledge and ability to produce high quality balloon work.

Taking any kind of exam can be stressful but the CBA practical doesn’t have to be! This guide, along with experience and practice, can help you pass with flying colors.


The relationship I have with the company feels more like a collaboration which wouldn’t happen without trust. I trust the product because the Qualatex family is committed to helping their customers achieve their goals by manufacturing quality products so the end product always looks good.

‘Tope Abulude, CBA, of Balloon Inspirations, Grays, United Kingdom

Before the Exam

Complete and pass all of the online tests from the QBN curriculum.

Submit your exam sign-up form as well as four photos of Classic Balloon Decor that features balloon garland. One of the photos may include a String-of-Pearl Arch. Each photo should be from a different job and include only Qualatex balloons.

Submit a completed job cost form for each photo.

Pay the exam fee if you haven’t already prepaid with the Bundle Kit.

At the Exam

Plan to arrive at least 20 minutes early to the exam site so you have enough time to get set up. You’ll have your own workstation but will have to share a common equipment station. During the exam, you’ll be required to complete:

  • A social expression bouquet of your own design
  • A table centerpiece of your own design
  • A duplicated bouquet
  • A twisted balloon flower
  • A 5-balloon cluster garland
  • Demonstrate temporary and permanent knots
  • Either a mock sales call or delivery presentation
  • Six questions from the QBN curriculum

While that may seem like a lot, it’s all in an average day’s work for a professional balloon decorator. As long as you practice in advance, you’ll be prepared to perform these tasks just fine!

What’s Provided

  • Helium tanks
  • Electric air inflators
  • Hand air inflators
  • Heat sealers
  • Slide-n-Size balloon sizers
  • Balloons, line, and ribbon for the garland, duplicated bouquet, and duplicated balloon flower

Quick Tips

Products to Use

Use only Qualatex balloons. Any piece utilizing non-Qualatex balloon product will receive a score of zero.

Apply Elements and Principles of Design

Your social expression bouquet and table centerpiece do not have to be elaborate designs, they should simply demonstrate your knowledge and application of the Elements and Principles of Design.

Review the Color Wheel

Your designs should create color harmony – whether it’s analogous, monochromatic, or triadic combinations.

Know the Rules

All designs should be composed of at least 50% of balloons and should demonstrate your knowledge of California Law.

Cover the Basics

Ensure your designs have good mechanics, strong visual impact, and a coordinating theme.

No Pre-Inflated Balloons Allowed

Construction of all balloon designs must take place on-site.

What is a passing grade?

There is a maximum of 310 possible points on the exam; 248 points are required to pass.

Practice Makes Perfect

Practice both the mock sales call and the delivery presentation aloud.

Review and Review Again

Review the QBN DVDs as well as the Principles and Elements of Design.