ATD Certification
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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, candidates 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.

Watch Our Recently Recorded Webinar: Preparing for the CPTD Certification Exam
If you are considering or planning to take the CPTD exam, watch this webinar to hear from a panel of successful CPTD candidates as they shared their preparation process.

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. Review the CPTD sample questions to get a feel for the type of questions asked on the exam.
  • 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 Practice Test: The CPTD Practice Test is great opportunity to get a feel for the final test-taking experience and build the confidence you need to be successful on your CPTD certification exam.
  • CPTD Preparation Courses: The CPTD Preparation Course is a comprehensive on demand self-paced course you can access through a 12-month subscription. (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 prepared?

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

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

Download this Certification Reference Reading List to see what publications may help fill in knowledge gaps aligned to specific capabilities of the Talent Development Capability Model.

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 course helps one prepare for the CPTD exam with content review, prep strategies, a full practice test, and more. It includes access to an expert facilitator and the TDBoK. Save 10% if you add it in checkout when paying the CPTD application fee.

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.

2022 CPTD Certification Handbook
Discover Your Greatness
Prove that you are a talent development pro when you earn the CPTD.
APTD and CPTD Exam Preparation Tips From Current Credential Holders
You can’t pass the exam by learning and remembering only. You have to understand the concepts and models.
One of the things that made all the difference for me to get the maximum benefit from the learning journey was my mindset. I embraced an open/growth mindset...
The Talent Development Body of Knowledge has a feature that creates them.
I was fortunate to make friends with someone I’d never met before. We kept each other accountable, keeping up with the notifications and updates (being a new...
Use your projects as cases and apply the concepts. Did you use best practices?
There are no right and wrong ways of doing this. They are an amazing tool to represent the main topics visually and to link between them.
Immerse yourself in the content and in what it means to you and the profession. Recall how you best remember and acquire the knowledge and do that. It will...