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A "Pilot Pioneer" of CPLP Shares Her Journey


Tue Feb 17 2015

A "Pilot Pioneer" of CPLP Shares Her Journey

My certified professional in learning and performance (CPLP) journey began when I was a director at Providence Hospital in Washington, D.C. I would usually read my monthly TD magazine over lunch. In early 2004, there was an announcement in the magazine about a new training certification program that ATD had established to further the training industry overall. 

I became excited when I saw that announcement because it was something that I had been waiting for throughout my 20-year training career. At that time, there weren’t as many master’s programs for education and training professionals as there are now. I wanted a credential that would further define what I’m good at: designing educational programs. 


So when ATD put out the call for CPLP certification candidates, I made sure to apply. I submitted the application, and prepared for the examination while I waited to hear from ATD. 

At that time, the organization had not created the ATD Learning System, but it did provide recommended reading and learning materials. I was glad that I had scoured TD magazine during the past few years over lunch; in doing so, I had acquired a large amount of training knowledge. 

About a month later, I received a notice that I had passed the initial criteria for acceptance into the certification program, as well as details on the process. I found out that I’d have to take an exam and submit a work product. 

A lot was happening in my personal life, too. I had just received an offer from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC) to work as an education and training specialist. I wanted to return to Cincinnati, my home town, to help care for an elderly relative. I notified ATD, and I switched my test site to Columbus, Ohio. The hospital relocated me to Cincinnati with my four-year-old daughter, and I was in the process of buying a new house in Ohio (and selling my house in Washington, D.C.). In September 2005, the week after I attended new employee orientation at CCHMC, I drove the two hours to Columbus to take my exam. 

The following November, I received a letter stating that I had passed the examination! I had scored as high as you could score in seven of the nine categories—and with so much going on in my personal life! I was very proud of myself, and motivated to develop my work product. 


While working at CCHMC, I led a team in redesigning the hospital’s new employee diversity training program. I used that project as my work product under the designing learning area of expertise. 

Once my work product was accepted, I received my CPLP certificate in the mail. The cover letter that came with my certificate stated that I was a “pilot pioneer” of the CPLP certification program with ATD. I still remember when I received it; I sat and stared at it for a long time, thankful that the journey had come to an end. It was a challenge and took a little while—particularly because I was part of the first group of CPLP credential holders. 

When I went to the 2006 ATD International Conference & Exposition in Atlanta, Georgia, I received a pin with “CPLP—Pilot Pioneer” on it. At the special CPLP luncheon, I went up to ATD CEO Tony Bingham and asked him, “Is it true that only a few hundred people nationwide took the initial exam?” He said, “Yes, and you were one of a small few in that group who actually passed that first CPLP exam, Naomi! You should be proud!” 

As the years have passed, having my pilot pioneer CPLP certification means even more, considering how the program has developed in the past 10 years. Thank you, ATD, for being a key part of my career journey, for the opportunity to challenge myself, and for helping me showcase my talents. It has been an odyssey of sorts: I’ve gone from being a young, nervous trainer to an experienced public speaker, a skilled training professional, and a creative instructional designer. 

My CPLP certification proves that this has indeed been a worthy journey, and I hope it motivates others in the profession to begin their own career journey. Good luck to all who do! 


Learn more about the CPLP certification.

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