logo image

ATD Blog

A CPLP Journey: Not for the Faint of Heart


Sun Oct 16 2016

A CPLP Journey: Not for the Faint of Heart
A CPLP Journey: Not for the Faint of Heart-7cd33008bb2cd2fe071b4651331eb1dce8b1cec0f49c70b17dff53fad0f33b52

My career in learning and development began in 2004, when a random temp job in human resources turned into a permanent position for me at Zenith Insurance, a workers’ compensation company. I’ve always been interested in learning and was thrilled to be able to help others do the same.

Having never received any formal training in instructional design or training delivery, I learned everything I needed to know on the job, from my colleagues, by attending webinars and conferences, and by trial and error. After about a decade I decided that I wanted to do more to enhance my skills, so I started looking into how to become a certified professional.


I did some research and decided that earning the Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP) certification was the best option because it included all aspects of talent development. If the opportunity arose for me to branch out into other areas, such as performance improvement and coaching, I’d be ready and able to do so.

My first dose of reality came after taking the CPLP practice exam on the ATD website. I thought that after all of my years of experience I’d know the answers to most of the questions, but unfortunately that was not the case. I bombed in every area of expertise except training delivery! Nevertheless, I didn’t let that derail my plans and continued to push forward.

Because this was my first time pursuing a certification and my practice test scores were not great, I signed up for the instructor-led CPLP Preparation Workshop. Just like any other student who’s eager to learn, I sat in front of the class so that I wouldn’t miss a word of what the instructor said. Yet after learning more and more about the Knowledge Exam and all that it entailed, I, along with most of my other classmates, left the room looking like a herd of deer in headlights. Apparently earning this certification was going to take much more effort than any of us had anticipated.

Later that evening a few of us got together for dinner, and we spent a good amount of time reflecting on what was discussed during class. It was comforting to hear that we all had similar reactions to the amount of work we would have to put in and we ended up sharing a good laugh about it—mostly due to the growing nervousness that we were feeling, but I think the wine may have had something to do with it as well.

On top of learning the ins and outs of what to expect from the Knowledge Exam, I also found a study buddy to meet with regularly during the months leading up to the exam. My buddy and I both thought we needed to read and study the entire Learning System to make sure that we were familiar with all of the material. Ultimately it turned out to be a great decision, because we both passed on our first attempt!


Just like the Knowledge Exam, choosing and preparing a project for the second phase of the credential wasn’t easy. It took a great deal of time, effort, attention to detail, and advice from my colleagues to successfully put together a project that allowed me to obtain the CPLP.

I am grateful to everyone at ATD, my co-workers, and my study buddy, who helped me through it all. Earning the CPLP takes a huge amount of dedication and hard work, but if you are willing and determined it is possible to achieve outstanding results. Being among the group of people who can place those four letters after their name is definitely worth all the effort I put in, and the reward is extraordinary!

You've Reached ATD Member-only Content

Become an ATD member to continue

Already a member?Sign In


Copyright © 2024 ATD

ASTD changed its name to ATD to meet the growing needs of a dynamic, global profession.

Terms of UsePrivacy NoticeCookie Policy