Talent Development Capability Model™

Frequently Asked Questions
Have a question? Check out the list of frequently asked questions, below. Don't see your question in the list? Send additional questions to
Why did ATD update its Competency Model?
To help talent development professionals stay current on knowledge and skills that are important for success in the field, ATD updates its Competency Model every five to seven years. The research behind each update helps to evaluate the relevancy of the model and changes that may be needed as the field evolves. The last ATD Competency Model was released in 2013.
When was the research collected for the new model?
Research was conducted between October 2018 and February 2019. Data sources for the research included a literature review, interviews with thought leaders, and an occupational survey of talent development professionals. More than 3,000 responses from 73 countries were received (the highest response ever for a competency survey). Respondents included ATD members and customers, chapter leaders, holders of APTD and CPLP certifications, participants in ATD Education courses, and more.
Can you explain the change from the Competency Model to the Capability Model?
Competence refers to a person’s current state and their having the knowledge and skills necessary to perform a job. Capability is about integrating knowledge and skills and adapting and flexing to meet future needs. By shifting from a competency model to a capability model, ATD is helping talent development professionals put their knowledge and skills to work to create, innovate, lead, manage change, and demonstrate impact.
How does the new model affect the APTD and CPLP exams?
The new Talent Development Capability Model will mean changes to the APTD and CPLP exams, and those changes will be announced on January 30. In February and March, the updated certification preparation options will be released and available to the market. APTD and CPLP candidates will be able to register for the new exams in April. The first exams will be given in the summer.
I am midway through the APTD or CPLP process. How does the new model affect my candidacy? When should I sit for my exam?
At the same time changes to the APTD and CPLP programs are announced (January 2020), candidates who are in the middle of the certification process will receive personalized information about their candidacy and how to proceed. Those who are mid-process are encouraged to complete the required steps before June 30, 2020; however, paths will be in place for those unable to do so.
I am due to recertify in 2020. How does the new model affect this?
Those who are due to recertify before June 30, 2020, should plan to do so by their expiration date as no changes will affect them at this time. Those due to recertify after July 1, 2020, will be notified of any changes that may affect them when program changes are announced in late January 2020 .
Is the ATD Learning System being updated?
Yes, an update is underway and will be available in February 2020.
Where can I find out more information?
Additional questions can be sent to
What's the timeline for the rollout?
  • Mid-December: Advance preview of Capability Model for ATD members, chapter leaders, and APTD and CPLP credential holders
  • Early January 2020: Capability Model global launch
  • Late January: APTD and CPLP changes communicated
  • March: Updated certification preparation options released
  • Summer: First exam window for new APTD and CPLP credentials