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Breaking Down the Barriers to Earning an ATD CI Credential


Tue Apr 02 2019

Breaking Down the Barriers to Earning an ATD CI Credential

Professional development should not be a drudge. Set yourself up for success by looking at three ways to earn a professional credential from ATD’s Certification Institute (ATD CI). The ATD Master Series, the Associate Professional in Talent Development (APTD), and the Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP) are all industry-recognized credentials that can position you for your next big responsibility, promotion, or new job. However, sometimes procrastination and confusion about the process can delay your start in any one of these programs. Following the ATD CI Stackable Framework can help you earn the talent development profession’s most recognized credential in more manageable steps.

The ATD Master Series is a robust program that includes an educational component with an assessment, which makes this program an assessment-based credential. Talent development professionals with two to three years of experience in the field can enroll in the program that most closely fits their area of expertise. These courses are offered in a live classroom setting, and some have been adapted to a live online session format for virtual attendance. Once all course requirements are met and you have successfully completed the assessment, you are considered credentialed by ATD at a mastery level in that area of expertise.


Here’s the benefit of starting with an ATD Master credential: It’s a deep dive into your preferred area of expertise that will help you as you look to earn another credential from ATD. ATD CI recognizes your hard work in earning the ATD Master designation of your choice and has incorporated the Master Series in the Stackable Framework. Currently, having earned the Master Trainer or Master Instructional Designer reduces the years of experience required for eligibility by one year for the APTD or CPLP and allows you to test out of that area of expertise on both exams. So, someone using a Master Trainer or Master Instructional Designer credential to test out of the corresponding section of the APTD sees a 37 percent shorter exam with those content areas removed. Likewise, a Master Trainer or Master Instructional Designer credential helps when taking the CPLP because the questions corresponding to that area of expertise are removed from the exam, so you can concentrate your preparation efforts on the areas where you may be weaker.

Continuing your development and earning the APTD certification can help as you look to broaden your proficiency and become certified in wider set of competencies. People with the APTD can use the credential to reduce the five-year eligibility requirement by one year for the CPLP and can also test out of three areas on the CPLP’s Knowledge Exam—instructional design, training delivery, and learning technologies—reducing the standard 150 questions covering all 10 areas of expertise of the ATD Competency Model to 93 questions covering the remaining seven areas of expertise. Likewise, someone holding either a Master Trainer or Master Instructional Designer credential can use the designation to qualify a year earlier and test out of that area of expertise, reducing the overall number of questions by 14 percent.

Realizing that earning a credential is a commitment, ATD CI planned the Stackable Framework to give you the advantage in proving your knowledge and expertise. The Stackable Framework works to your benefit by:

  • helping you gain expertise through a Master credential

  • building on that strength by allowing you to test out of content you have mastered

  • giving you the opportunity to expand your knowledge and skills by requiring you focus your preparation on a broader range of content that may be outside your immediate area of expertise. In addition, due to the depth and rigor of the programs, earning a credential through ATD gives you a leg up on your colleagues on the eligibility requirements, allowing you to achieve more sooner.

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