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Certified Professional in Talent Development (CPTD)

The pinnacle achievement in talent development.

How to Prepare for the CPTD Exam

There is no single, best way to prepare for the CPTD examination. Preparation methods and duration all depend on a candidate’s personal experiences and knowledge base. There is not a mandatory test preparation or study requirement for the CPTD program, nor a preferred preparation method. However, below are some basic steps that we recommend to all candidates, as well as resources to assist in your study plan. (Please note: Study materials are not included as part of your exam fee, other than the resources provided below. Additional study materials are optional and may incur a fee).

In post-exam surveys, candidate report that they have spent an average of 80 – 100 hours preparing for the exam and have allowed six to nine months for the process, including taking the exam.

Step 1: Assess Your Knowledge Level

Download and use this gap assessment tool to identify strengths and prioritize areas for growth.

Step 2: Develop a Study Plan

How do you typically tackle something that you need to learn? Do you like to focus on the areas that you know the least about? Do you prefer working in groups? Do you dive into information in a deep, thorough way? Consider your learning preferences when identifying your best study options.

Step 3: Evaluate Preparation Resources

CPTD Candidates use a variety of resources to prepare depending upon the way they study best.

  • CPTD Study Planning Guide: This free CPTD Study Planning Guide provides additional information about creating a study plan and preparing for the exam. Take CPTD sample questions to get a feel for the type of questions asked on the exam.
  • ATD Certification Reading Reference List: This recommended reading list is designed to assist candidates in finding publications to aid in filling knowledge gap areas. Download the reading reference list.
  • Talent Development Body of Knowledge: The Talent Development Body of Knowledge (TDBoK) is the definitive resource for TD professionals and as such a valuable resource for individuals preparing for the CPTD certification exam. If you enroll in a CPTD prep course, the TDBoK is included with the cost of the program. (Please note, the cost of the preparation resources is not included in the exam registration fee.)
  • CPTD Preparation Courses: The CPTD Preparation Course is a comprehensive on demand self-paced course you can access through a 12-month subscription. In addition to the preparation course you can choose to add on a two-day preparation workshop to take a deeper dive on the content you need the most. Note: you cannot enroll for the preparation workshop unless you have already enrolled in the on demand preparation course. (Please note, the cost of the preparation resources is not included in the exam registration fee.)
  • Bookmark the Active Candidates Page: The active candidates page to find the most recent versions of the Candidate Handbook and other important documents.
  • CPTD Candidate Preparation LinkedIn Group: Join our CPTD Candidate Preparation LinkedIn Group for tips and resources.
  • Form Your Own Study Group: If there is not a convenient study group available to you, consider creating your own. This study group guide can help you to plan your group.

Want to see how other CPTD applicants are preparing?

Follow along as applicants share their journeys to becoming CPTDs: Craig Engstrom and Kara Reed or watch this webcast about how candidates are preparing for the new exam

CPTD Preparation Resources
Are you prepared for the CPTD exam? Ensure success with these study tools.

The Talent Development Body of Knowledge is the definitive resource for the TD profession and as such, an essential tool to aid in studying for the CPTD certification.

On Demand Course

This on demand course helps a TD professional prepare for the CPTD exam with content review, test prep strategies, a full practice exam, and more. It includes access to an expert facilitator and the Talent Development Body of Knowledge.

Add a live workshop to your on demand preparation course to take a deeper dive in the content you need most. Note: you must register for the course in order to enroll in this workshop.

Watch our Webcast: Preparing for the New CPTD Exam
Access a recording of our recent webcast with Holly Batts, associate director of the ATD Certification Institute, and CPTD candidates Noël Zykowski and Brandi Maynard to learn about what you can do to prepare for the CPTD exam.
Get advice to help you determine which type of preparation is best for you.
Send questions or request a conversation by emailing [email protected]

Need More Information on the Program?

For more information on program specifics please download the CPTD Certification Handbook below.

2020 CPTD Certification Handbook
Ready to Apply?
Registration for the exam is now open.
CPLP is now CPTD: ATD Certification Is Changing
With the release of ATD's new Talent Development Capability Model there have been changes to the CPTD (formerly CPLP) certification program. Explore the model to learn more about the new standard for talent development, see what is changing with ATD Certification overall, or go to the (legacy) CPLP pages if you were originally scheduled to test before June 30, 2020.