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The Associate Professional in Talent Development (APTD) is a new certification for talent development professionals who are in the early part of their careers or whose professional roles and aspirations are focused on a few areas of expertise. Differentiate yourself in a competitive job market. The competencies included in the APTD are the basics of talent development that professionals can use every day, no matter the level within an organization or company. It may be a destination for some or a stepping stone to the CPLP for others.

APTD at a Glance

  • Who is it for? Individuals who have at least three years of experience, or the equivalent, in talent development or related disciplines, are eligible. Individuals with two years of experience and one year of university-level education in talent development-related field OR ATD Master Trainer or Master Instructional Designer program graduates are also eligible.
  • What’s on the exam? The APTD is based on three primary areas of expertise from the ATD Competency Model: Instructional Design, Training Delivery, and Learning Technologies. Secondary areas include Evaluating Learning Impact and Global Mindset foundational competency.
  • What is the exam format? The APTD exam is 115 multiple choice and short-scenario multiple choice questions and candidates have 120 minutes to complete the exam.
  • How can I prepare? ATD provides a number of options to help you prepare to take the APTD exam including: APTD Learning System, a two-day instructor-led workshop Preparing for the APTD and an on-demand course.
  • Where do I take the exam? All APTD candidates are required to sit for the APTD at one of our convenient testing centers.
  • When can I take the exam? Take the exam during one of three testing windows in 2018.

Registration Opens

Registration Deadline*

Exam Window

January 1, 2018

May 13, 2018

June 12-30, 2018

January 1, 2018

July 22, 2018

August 21-September 13, 2018

January 1, 2018

October 9, 2018

November 8-30, 2018

*All ADA applications must be received 10 weeks before your selected testing window.

For a complete guide to APTD policies and procedures, please download and thoroughly read the APTD 2018 Certification Handbook (PDF)

Register for the APTD Exam
Associate Professional in Talent Development (APTD) FAQs
How much work experience is required for this new certification?

Candidates must have three years of on-the-job experience in talent development or a related field/discipline or the equivalent. If a candidate has successfully completed ATD’s Master Instructional Designer or Master Trainer program, the eligibility requirement is two years of on-the-job experience.

What competencies will this certification focus on?

This certification will focus primarily three AOEs from the ATD Competency Model on which it is based. The AOEs are Instructional Design, Training Delivery, and Learning Technologies. Evaluating Learning Impact and the foundational competency of Global Mindset also will be included throughout the exam. These competencies were identified by the research as core building blocks for talent development professionals and are part of the ATD Competency Model.

What are the weightings of the 3 AOEs?
  • Instructional Design- 37%
  • Training Delivery- 37%
  • Learning Technologies- 26%

Evaluating Learning Impact and Global Mindset questions will also be tested, but there is no separate score for these two areas.

What are the eligibility requirements?

To be eligible for the APTD program, all candidates must:

• Have at least three years of work experience (at least 50% of time related to instructional design, training delivery, or learning technology) in the talent development field or related fields/disciplines. Related disciplines include human resources, higher education, or similar; OR
• Have at least two years of work experience (at least 50% of time related to instructional design, training delivery, or learning technology) in the talent development field or related fields or disciplines PLUS one year of college/university study in talent development or related course content; OR
• Have at least two years of work experience (at least 50% of time related to instructional design, training delivery, or learning technology) in the talent development field or related field or disciplines PLUS successful completion of the ATD Master Instructional Designer or ATD Master Trainer program.

How much does the APTD exam cost?

The APTD exam costs $400 for ATD members and $600 for nonmembers.

What are my preparation options?

There is not a prerequisite study/preparation requirement for the APTD program; however, most candidates find it necessary to do so. You are not required to register for the APTD before purchasing any of the preparation options. Depending on your learning style and preference, there are a variety of study/preparation options available. Here are just a few suggestions:

Your APTD registration fee covers the cost of all testing and test related materials for a one time sitting. Fees do not cover the cost of study or preparation materials, study group support, travel expenses to and from the testing center, transfers, or retesting fees.

When can I test?

There are five testing windows scheduled for 2018 in February, April, June August and November.

When do applications open?

APTD registration is open now. The registrations deadlines are approximately 30 days before each testing window begins.

What can I expect to see on the APTD exam?

The full APTD exam will be 115 multiple choice items and candidates will have two hours to complete the exam.

Candidates who have successfully obtained the ATD Masters in Training Delivery or Instructional Design and who will test out of ID or TD will take modified versions of the exam. The modified exam will be 72 multiple choice items, will not include the test-out content, and candidates will have 90 minutes to complete their exam.

What is required of APTD Recertification?

All certificants who earn the APTD will need to recertify every three years by paying a $150 Recertification Fee and earning 40 recertification credits.

How much does Recertification cost?

The APTD Recertification Fee is $150, payable every three years with the APTD Recertification Application.

Is the APTD exam offered in international locations?


When will the exam be translated into other languages?

We have plans to translate the exam in 2018.

If I have a CPLP, do I need the APTD?

No. The APTD certification tests a portion of what is included in the CPLP. Current CPLP holders have already exhibited their mastery of this content.

I’m considering the CPLP; should I do the APTD instead?

If your years of experience in the talent development field fall short of the CPLP’s required five years (or four years plus education), then you may want to consider the APTD. If you’ve concentrated on a few areas of expertise in your professional work, the more-focused APTD may better suit your needs.

If I have been awarded an ATD Masters, should I get the APTD?

Those who have successfully completed a Masters series certificate (or two) through ATD CI may want to show mastery of the core competencies of talent development and can do that by earning the APTD. Earning a Masters series credential through ATD will also give people with only two years’ experience in the field a leg up if they want to earn the APTD, because the Masters certificate would replace one year of eligibility. The APTD exam eligibility requires three years of experience.

In addition, due to the strength and rigor of the ATD Masters series, candidates who have successfully completed an ATD Master Instructional Designer or Master Trainer will be able to elect to test-out of that portion of the exam. Only one portion of the exam may be deemed exempt and candidates having both ATD Master Instructional Designer and Master Trainer designations will need to choose which section they wish to test-out. The cost of the exam will remain the same for full-test candidates and test-out candidates and the resulting certification will be equal.

Contact Us And Get The APTD Handbook
Interested in learning more about the value of the APTD certification or want to learn more about certifying your team? Fill out the form below to connect with an ATD Enterprise Solutions advisor and get a copy of the APTD handbook.