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Professional Growth Through ATD Certification


Mon Jul 26 2021

Professional Growth Through ATD Certification

If you had asked me at my college graduation 16 years ago if I would ever consider a professional certification in the field of learning and development, I would have laughed. I was an imperious person with sights set on being a television producer in the sports world. After several years and many humbling experiences later, I found myself changing my work environments to a corporate setting and eventually changing careers. And, like many people in the learning and development field, I fell into this line of work unexpectedly. I’d like to share a couple of highlights that have inspired me to get my APTD certification.

Approximately 10 years ago, I was working for a supermarket chain. While creating video content for the internal communications team and the learning and development team, I met the senior director of training and development, Matt. He asked me if I could help him put together something called a work product for his CPLP certification (now the CPTD). This is where I first began to have an interest in pursuing learning and development as a full-time career.


Several years later, I found myself working with Matt again at a new organization and attending my first Association for Talent Development International Conference & Exposition in Orlando, Florida. Here I did a little more research into the CPLP certification and thought that it was out of my league—for now. There was still a lot to learn about this field.

Choosing to Pursue the APTD

While preparing for the 2018 international conference in San Diego, I learned about the APTD certification and immediately went to the information session. I understood how it involved the different competencies and decided to pursue the certification.

In my position, I was growing professionally by leaps and bounds. I had a great mentor in Matt, who encouraged me to complete the certification. While I was learning a lot on the job, the formal knowledge gained through the certification would prove invaluable. After some personal delays, I finally took the exam in 2020 developed based on the new Talent Development Capability Model.


If you think you have prepared enough, prepare a little more. I certainly would not go into the exam cold. I used several resources to help me prepare.

  • The TD Body of Knowledge. I read this resource cover to cover to gain an understanding of all items and topics covered.

  • LinkedIn Learning. I used LinkedIn Learning courses to cover the topics I struggled with (primarily the different evaluation methods). The lessons provided me a different explanation and additional application examples which helped me grasp the concepts.

  • Do not overlook application of the concepts. The questions on the APTD exam are oriented towards how you apply the content, so merely memorizing facts and theories will not help you to pass the exam. You must be sure that you understand the concepts well enough to apply them at work. One strategy that I used was to apply the methods to real-world projects. For example, when working with my supervisor on a training approach we used the Kirkpatrick model of evaluation. Using the concepts in my daily work and seeing the outcomes first-hand helped to cement my learning.

  • How It Has Helped

    The APTD certification has helped my professional career growth immensely. There was a lot of information that I didn’t know about. Specifically, I have been able to apply the knowledge gained from the Developing Professional Capability domain of the Talent Development Capability Model, including the evaluating impact capability. In the past I felt like I was along for the ride in my career, but now I feel empowered and in control of the decisions I make. I owe that to the APTD certification.

What’s next? Perhaps the CPTD.

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