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  • Thinking about Certification? Here Are 5 Expert Tips to Consider | June 7, 2018 Event Recap

Thinking about Certification? Here Are 5 Expert Tips to Consider | June 7, 2018 Event Recap

July 03, 2018 12:36 PM | Deleted user
By Susan Camberis
Editor, Training Today

ATDChi’s June Networking Dinner and Clinic featured a panel discussion of local TD professionals sharing their certification experiences. 

The Association for Talent Development’s Certification Institute (ATD CI) offers two certifications based on the ATD competency model:

  • The Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP) is broad-based, covering 10 areas of expertise (or AOEs).  It consists of a three-hour knowledge exam and a three-hour skills application exam.

  • The Associate Professional in Talent Development (APTD) covers three primary AOEs as defined by the ATD competency model:  instructional design, training delivery, and learning technologies.  It consists of one two-hour exam. 

Bill Cupuro, CPLP, and ATDChi’s Director of CPLP, moderated a discussion entitled “Exploring the CPLP and APTD:  Should It Be in Your Career Plan?”  Panelists included:  Anthony Dudek, CPLP, 2018 ATDChi President; Dave Lee, CPLP, Learning Strategist; Eileen Terrell, CPLP, ATDChi Vice President of Communications and 2018 President-Elect; Kirsten Walker, APTD, ATDChi Director of Event Management; and Tom West, CPLP, 2017 ATDChi President. 


If you are thinking about certification, here are 5 expert tips to consider: 


  1. Know your “why”.  Motivation matters – especially when considering certification.  For Anthony Dudek, certification was about the joy of learning and expanding his professional knowledge base.  Eileen Terrell saw the CPLP as a natural progression.  After completing ATDChi’s WLPI program (, Terrell viewed the CPLP as an opportunity to “go wider” – broadening her TD thinking in a more integrated way.  Kirsten Walker chose to purse the APTD during its 2017 pilot period.  As a self-described “accidental trainer”, Walker wanted a way to learn and share knowledge with her company.

  2. Decide which certification is right for you.  The CPLP is designed for professionals with five or more years of experience, or four years experience with one year of schooling.  The APTD is designed for professionals with at least three years of experience in talent development or a related field, or at least two years experience plus one year of schooling.

  3. Make time to study.  Both exams require time to prepare, so making sure you have the bandwidth is critical. Terrell studied for approximately five months for the CPLP knowledge exam.  Once she passed it, she then studied for approximately three more months before taking the skills application exam.

  4. Have a study plan.  While panelists’ test preparation methods varied, everyone agreed that having a study plan is a “must.” Dave Lee found the Rocky Mountain online study group ( helpful with “pacing” the content.  Sessions are facilitated by participants and cover one AOE each week for 12 weeks.  All panelists used study materials available through ATD CI and some use accountability partners or “study buddies”.

  5. Once you’ve earned it, keep your certification up-to-date.  To keep CPLP and APTD credentials “current,” professionals must re-certify every three years.   Both re-certification processes are points-based.  CPLPs need at least 60 points during each three-year cycle, and APTDs need at least 40 points.  Tom West explained that points can be earned through continuing education, speaking and instructing, ATDChi board membership, ATD membership, research and publishing, and on-the job experience. 


With the assistance of ATDChi’s Gold Sponsor, CARA Group, ATDChi has established a CPLP and APTD scholarship program to assist deserving individuals with the costs of achieving certification.  To qualify, you must be a full-time resident of the geographic region served by the ATD, Chicagoland Chapter and meet the criteria to apply for the CPLP or APTD credentials.  The deadline to submit an application for the 2018 scholarships is Friday, July 7, 2018.  To learn more and to submit an application, visit:


For questions or to learn more certification, contact ATDChi's Director of CPLP, Bill Cupuro, CPLP


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