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Associate Professional in Talent Development (APTD)

Establish yourself in the talent development field.


The Associate Professional in Talent Development (APTD) is a certification for talent development professionals who are in the early part of their careers or whose professional roles and aspirations are focused on a few areas of expertise. The competencies included in the APTD are the basics of talent development that professionals can use every day, no matter the level within an organization or company. It may be a destination for some or a stepping stone to the CPLP for others.

What Topics are Covered?

The APTD focuses primarily on three areas of expertise (AOEs) from the ATD Competency Model: Instructional Design, Training Delivery, and Learning Technologies. Evaluating Learning Impact and the foundational competency of Global Mindset also will be included in questions from the main AOEs throughout the exam. These competencies were identified by the research as core building blocks for talent development professionals.

Who is It For?

The typical APTD credential holder has 3-5 years of experience in talent development in a role that is primarily focused on training delivery or instructional design. Fifteen percent of the candidates who have earned the APTD so far are in a management role.

Many of our APTD candidates are “accidental trainers” without formal education in training and development. Some work full time in the field, while others work half time. The APTD is the first certification from ATD CI that welcomes professionals from other fields who have at least 50% of their time devoted to talent development activities.

As a building block for your career, APTD credential holders are able to test out of three portions of the CPLP exam should they pursue the CPLP certification in the future.

Unleash Your Potential
Increase confidence, validate knowledge, and advance your career. The registration deadline for the APTD exam is November 29!
These people earned their new APTD Credentials and have these great things to say about it!
Heather Reed
“Right away, as I began studying to become an APTD, I could apply the material to my work. Having a project to apply my studies to made all the difference. It...
Shermaine Perry
“The APTD journey has reenergized the work that I do. I have something new to bring to the table. It has provided me with a road map to implement what I...
Kristin Gebhart
"It {APTD} allowed me to measure myself against my peers, reassured me that I have some measurable competency, and reinforced my decision to enter into...

How Does the APTD Differ from the CPLP?

  • APTD covers three (3) main areas of expertise versus ten (10) areas of expertise covered by the CPLP certification.
  • There is one knowledge exam for the APTD vs. two exams for the CPLP credential.
  • The APTD can be used as a stepping stone for the CPLP. APTD credential holders can test out of three portions of the CPLP exam should they pursue the CPLP certification in the future.

For more information about the APTD certification, please download the APTD Certification Handbook at the bottom of this page or email us at

Is This Certification Right for Me?
APTD credential holders share their stories.

I believe this credential is very worthwhile for talent development specialists. Professionally, I thought it helped me to reacquaint myself with the areas of expertise that are important to use in the talent development field...

Compared with other professional development opportunities, I saw certification as having a much higher return on investment. The APTD really focused on the AOEs in my wheelhouse and daily work...

The impact of having the APTD credential is twofold in my mind. Of course, it signifies to others that I am technically competent in those areas of expertise. But more important, it allowed me to measure myself against my peers…

Get the advice you need to help you determine which certification is right for you!
Speak to an ATD Certification Specialist directly at 703-838-5842
Credentialing Handbook - APTD