Congratulations on your decision to explore and/or pursue your CPLP® certification! This Preparing for the CPLP: Interactive Guide is designed to provide a “one stop” resource for all the CPLP documents and information, so that you understand and can access details at every step along the way.
You are taking a critical step in your professional development by exploring and investing in your CPLP certification. Successful CPLPs report that the process of studying for and getting their CPLP designation was a tremendous growth opportunity, allowed them to both learn and give back to the profession, and made a positive impact on their careers.
The ATD Competency Model serves as the basis for the certification in that it defines the skills and knowledge required to become a CPLP. Take a minute to:
Ultimately, determining the value of your CPLP certification is critical for your success. Have you talked with your employer about the value of this certification to him/her, or to your organization? Who do you know that has her CPLP, and what impact has that certification had on her career? What is driving your own interest in getting your CPLP designation? Consider the answers to those questions as you review this presentation on the Value of the CPLP Certification.
What have you learned so far about how the CPLP might help you? All CPLP candidates must have at least five years of related work experience, pass a comprehensive knowledge exam and skills application exam. To be a good CPLP candidate you should:
Before you move forward, review the program policies and procedures in the Certification Handbook. Most importantly, take the time to confirm the value of the CPLP certification for YOU.
Welcome to the Certified Performance and Learning Professional program! By making the decision to explore becoming a CPLP, you are joining a proud community of over 2,500 CPLPs certified since 2007.
This Interactive Guide is designed to introduce you to what it takes to become a CPLP, what steps you must take, and the resources available to you along the way. You don’t have to do this alone! ATD is proud of the people and materials resources available to you throughout your CPLP journey.
In a nutshell, to be a CPLP you must have at least five years of related TD work experience, pass a comprehensive knowledge exam and a skills application exam (SAE). Successful CPLP candidates have a deep knowledge of and are able to apply the principles of Talent Development, they have experience in multiple areas of expertise, and they have prepared thoroughly for the CPLP exams.
We hope that you will take some time to get to know the resources available to you and that you will visit the ATD LinkedIn community. There is also a new online CPLP community available to you once you register for one of our Preparing for the CPLP educational programs. And we hope that you will call or email the CPLP staff at any point along the way. Our office is always open to you.
Becoming a CPLP will be both a challenge and an adventure. Enjoy the experience, and we look forward to hearing about your professional successes in the coming years.
The exam is the first part of your CPLP testing process and covers the breadth of knowledge from all ten AOEs in the Competency Model. You will have three (3) hours to answer 150 multiple-choice questions.
The SAE is designed to test your ability to apply knowledge and concepts to real-life scenarios in one of three AOEs: Instructional Design (ID), Training Delivery (TD), or Managing Learning Programs (MLP).
For more information on the SAE, please review the CPLP Handbook, available on the Active Candidates page on the ATD website.
It’s not too early to consider when would be the right time for you to take the knowledge exam. The exam can be taken in one of four testing windows each year. Review the CPLP Test Schedule so that you can plan appropriately.
As you begin your preparation, the best starting point is to determine what topic areas to focus on as you study. By assessing your current knowledge of the Areas of Expertise (AOEs) you can determine your areas of strength as well as areas where you need to further build your knowledge. Then you can weave this information into a study plan that is specifically tailored to YOU.
What Is My Knowledge Level?
Take the Practice CPLP Exam: What better way to assess how you would do on the CPLP exam than by taking a practice exam? The CPLP practice exam* contains 50 questions that mirror those on the actual CPLP exam. Take the practice test so you can evaluate your strengths and weaknesses within each AOE.
*When you click on the link above, you will be taken to the SkillTracker assessment tool. Please select ATD Practice Tests on the top menu and then choose Practice Test for CPLP from the test menu.
How Should I Determine The Best Study Plan?
Let’s focus on the knowledge exam. Successful CPLP candidates create personalized study plans in order to pass the CPLP exam. Before putting your study plan together, take some time for the following:
Use this study plan template to create your personalized study plan.
What Should I Consider As I Prepare For The Exam?
What Resources Should I Review?
If you haven’t already done so, this is a great time to review the Practice CPLP Exam. And you don’t need to shoulder all the preparation by yourself! Consider any or all of the following resources as your “partners” in preparation:
How Do I Schedule The Date For My Exam?
First, review your Study Plan so that you can plan correctly for your exam. Review your CPLP Certification Handbook for more information about the knowledge exam and skills application exam. A few key details include:
Where Do I Take The Exam?
ATD’s testing partner has locations across the U.S. and Canada, and in several countries internationally. See this page for a list of testing centers.
What Happens If I Fail The Exam?
Individuals who fail the exam are invited and encouraged to retake the exam during the next available testing window (a retest fee will apply).
After passing the knowledge exam, CPLP candidates then take the Skills Application Exam (SAE). The SAE provides candidates the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to apply their knowledge to real world scenarios they might encounter in their work. Candidates will be expected to critically review and analyze documents and make decisions regarding the material.
Candidates will select from one of three Areas of Expertise (AOEs) upon registration for their exam:
All questions on the test map to the chosen AOE and an associated Key Action. All scenarios, supporting documentation, and questions will be related to the chosen AOE and approx. 25% of the items will be embedded with a global mindset in the chosen AOE.
Each exam consists of four case studies related to the chosen AOE and will include the following:
All scenarios, related documentation, and associated questions were developed and written by learning and development professionals identified as subject matter experts (SMEs) for the certification program. Prior to questions being developed, the scenarios and related evidence are reviewed for authenticity and alignment to the AOEs. In addition, the related evidence is reviewed by an international panel for language clarity and appropriateness to the global audience.
What Types Of Questions Are On The SAE And How Are They Scored?
All questions will be based on the scenario or related documentation; no stand‐alone knowledge based questions will be included on the skills application exam. Questions will be of the following types:
Each question is worth one (1) point. All questions are scored as either correct or incorrect. No partial credit is given.
How Do I Prepare For The SAE?
Use the CPLP Learning System to ensure you have the necessary content knowledge in your chosen AOE and that you understand how to apply that content based on your experience.
Sample SAE Practice Tests:
Use the practice tests below for Instructional Design (ID), Training Delivery (TD) and Managing Learning Programs (MLP) to practice. NEW Case materials, test questions and answer key with rationale now included in each file.
Instructional Design Practice Tests:
Training Delivery Practice Tests:
Managing Learning Programs Practice Tests:
How Can I Connect With Other Candidates?
Some candidates choose to reach out to CPLPs or others who are also pursuing their certification to exchange ideas as they are preparing. If you are interested in connecting with others, you can:
Am I Ready To Take The SAE?
How Do I Register For The SAE?
You'll select your preferred SAE window and your AOE at the time you register for the knowledge exam. This AOE cannot be changed. You must take and pass the knowledge exam before you can sit for the SAE. Once you pass the Knowledge Exam, ATD CI will send you a registration confirmation for your SAE.
When Do I Take The SAE?
Please visit the Test Schedule page for the current schedule of testing windows for both the knowledge exam and the SAE.
When And How Will I Be Notified Of The Results?
You will receive a score report by email approximately 10 weeks after the last testing date in the specific window.
To become a CPLP, you must pass both the knowledge exam and the skills application exam (SAE). The high-level steps to becoming a CPLP are as follows:
Review the CPLP Program Statistics for more details on pass rates for both the exam and the work product.
Congratulations! As a new CPLP, review these resources for credential holders for important information on logo usage, volunteer opportunities for CPLPs, and recertification guidelines. Inform important stakeholders about your new status. Share the news in your social media networks and through a press release. (Your CPLP passing notification will include a sample press release you can use.) Register in the CPLP Directory.