ATD Blog

The True Value of the CPLP Certification

Thursday, November 2, 2017

I’ve been a learning professional in corporate learning for the last 12 years. However, I’ve only been a Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP) for less than a year. Like many other trainers, instructional designers, and others, I was involved with my ATD local chapter, and the notion of becoming a CPLP was mentioned at every meeting. The biggest question for me was always “Why?” Why should I pursue the most coveted certification in corporate learning? What was the CPLP certification worth to me? The answer was simple: validation. The true value of becoming a CPLP was confirming that I am knowledgeable about the science and art of talent development and capable of thinking beyond a training delivery model.

The Value of CPLP Knowledge

Why do people get certifications and why do we have them? Certifications validate skills, knowledge, and your ability to meet a professional standard. If you are like most learning professionals, you became a trainer by accident or employer delegation; that is, you were good at your job and got assigned to train others. There’s nothing wrong with that, but chances are you will be lacking substantial knowledge on how adults learn or have a clear idea of why you are using a training model versus another. By the time I applied for my CPLP I already had a master’s of education in training and development. The knowledge and experience gained in that program made my attainment of the CPLP easier. However, passing the CPLP knowledge test made me appreciate my past education. The most influential learning theories and performance-measuring best practices are targeted in this test. Therefore, if you have a graduate degree, it will be easier, but if you don’t, you will still gain graduate-level knowledge of adult learning without the time and financial burden of a college degree.

Being the Best


Do you want to be the best at what you do? Everyone wants to be the best, but many don’t want to put in the effort and sacrifice to achieve it. It’s OK if all that effort is not for you; there were fewer than 2,000 CPLPs worldwide when I began studying for it. It feels great to know I’m one of those elite professionals and that I can confidently apply to top companies in the world because of it. Aside from all this, the CPLP is not a static certification; every three years I must recertify to maintain my active status. Once you attain it, you must continue to evolve and improve your skills, adding more value to your professional readiness.

Working at the Next Level


I’m confident that becoming a CPLP will help you think at a higher level of comprehension and strategy than you are now. Even though I was highly educated when I started my CPLP journey, the skill application exam (SAE) tested me on how to apply the right strategic solution for the right problem. It makes you think beyond training mechanics and courses. It makes you cognizant of the performance repercussions all learning solutions have, not just for learners but organizations as well. So, what does working at the next level mean? It means that wherever you are right now as you read this, there’s something better, and a new you to be unleashed. For me, it was changing industries and employment at will; I was extremely confident in my skills, because the letters CPLP can be proudly placed next to my name.

In summary, the true value of any certification is to prove that you possess the knowledge and skills to meet professional standards. Becoming a CPLP is the highest level of professional validation you can attain, in my opinion. There’s a reason why there are not too many CPLPs worldwide, and that’s because it takes dedication and sacrifice to earn it. Achieving CPLP status is only the beginning to a better you, better opportunities, and working at the next level.

Learn more about the CPLP certification. 

About the Author

Alexander Salas is an award-winning Certified Professional in Learning and Performance and instructional designer specializing in e-learning and augmented reality for workplace learning. He has more than 12 years of experience in the healthcare and IT industries after serving as a combat medic in the U.S. Navy. Alex has been a lead organizer of the Orlando Articulate user group, a Udemy instructor on Storyline, and a regular contributor to many popular industry blogs.

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Thanks for the insight! Looking to sit for this exam soon :)
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