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3 Reasons You Should Get Your CPLP Designation

Monday, April 22, 2019

Still on the fence about pursuing the Certified Professional in Learning and Performance certification? If so, maybe this post will sway you.

1. Your LinkedIn inbox will so much busier!
The CPLP designation is the certification for those of us in talent development. Whether you are an instructional designer, training facilitator, or even a learning consultant, the CPLP is the gold standard to show the world you have the wide knowledge base and applicable skills to deliver results. Hiring managers and recruiters recognize the CPLP designation, and many job descriptions list it as a preferred qualification for a wide variety of talent development positions from trainer to training manager. When you add the CPLP badge and credential to your profile on LinkedIn, you will see an increase in profile views and your inbox will be more active than ever. Not only will you see hiring managers and recruiters in your inbox, but peers you haven’t heard from in years will be reaching out as well to inquire about it or maybe just to collaborate with you.

2. Peers and co-workers will look at you differently.
Face it: If you’re thinking about the CPLP designation, you’re probably already looked at as an expert in your field. But if you add those four letters to your title, your peers and other co-workers will start to look at you differently. The CPLP is proof that you have the skills to deliver results—and now your colleagues will expect even more from you and look at you like the expert that you are. The CPLP designation shows you have the skills and talent, but it also raises the bar on other’s expectations of you. It shows you’re great and pushes you to be even better.

3. You will push yourself to grow and improve like never before.
Preparing for the exams will solidify knowledge you already have, but it will also undoubtedly expose you to theories and ideas you may have never heard before or have forgotten about. You will produce next-level learning and design products for two reasons. First, the CPLP designation will put an expectation on yourself to consistently produce exceptional work. The body of knowledge required for the CPLP is quite expansive, and all of that will build your skills and confidence to try new things and produce exceptional talent development products.

Next Steps

So as you’ve probably figured out by now, I truly believe the CPLP designation is the industry standard in showing the world you have top skills, ability, and knowledge in the talent development field, and this designation will only make you better. If you too are convinced and ready to jump in, where should you start and how should you prepare?

I will tell you, I consider myself a strong test-taker in that I’ve always done well in school. When taking exams, I am usually one of the first ones finished, as well. I timed my CPLP exam so I could sit for the first part a couple months after completing my master of education in adult education and training. I thought my graduate studies would prepare me well for the exam and I wouldn’t have to dedicate too much time to studying. I was dead wrong.


The CPLP exam is the gold standard for a reason: It is really, really hard. What makes it so hard? The certification shows you have knowledge of, and competence in, 10 areas of expertise . . . 10! The CPLP Learning System was my go-to resource for preparing. Once printed out, it is over 700 pages of content, review questions, and application of knowledge that you need to fully prepare. When people ask me about my study tips or tricks, I’m honest and tell them that there aren’t really any tricks for this exam. You must have a solid grasp on everything. I was very surprised at the level of detail the exam covered from the Learning System. When you are studying, leave no stone unturned.

The review questions at the end of each section in the Learning System are your best friends. Do not skim them with the assumption that the chapter was “easy” or “stuff you already know well.” The review questions will help you prepare for the level of detail that the first exam requires. Review those questions over and over until you have the content down.

The second exam subject is chosen by you. Which area do you feel you are most expert in and which do you want to certify your skills in? Preparing for the Skills Application Exam is a bit harder, because as I tell people, “You either are an expert in this area or you’re not.” The second exam will sniff that out. I don’t say that to scare you, but rather to set the expectations. This is why ATD will not allow you to sit for this exam until you have at least five years of experience under your belt.


The ATD Learning System has plenty of questions at the end of each section to prepare you for applying the content to real-world situations. When reviewing these questions, challenge yourself to not just memorize them, but to truly understand them. Ask yourself, “How would I apply that in my world today?” That is what will help prepare you for the Skills Application Exam.

If you’re still reading this, you’re probably excited and a little nervous about the CPLP designation. Both are valid feelings. It is a tough set of exams—but that’s why it’s the certification for talent development professionals. Good Luck!

Lear more about becoming a CPLP.

About the Author

Colleen Worthington, CPLP, lives near Cleveland, Ohio, and currently works in the healthcare industry in organizational development. She has extensive experience in designing, developing, and delivering programs for a wide range of learners. Colleen holds a master's degree in adult education and human resource studies from Colorado State University and is working toward a master of science in instructional design at Quinnipiac University. Colleen’s recent L&D passions include video production, microlearning, and, in general, utilizing creative technologies to engage end users. Email directly at [email protected]

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