8 Steps to Getting Your APTD in 2019

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

In an earlier blog post, I discussed why 2019 is an ideal time to pursue an ATD certification. What do you need to do to make that happen? Here are my suggestions:

1. Determine when in 2019 you want to test. If you want to achieve the APTD in 2019, you’ll need a plan. Review the information about the exam and the scheduled testing windows to decide if the timing works for you. For example, let’s say you decide to take exam during the June 5-June 25 testing window. Giving yourself at least 3 months to study for the exam, you should start studying no later than March.

2. Identify the best preparation approach for you. The type of preparation that will work best for you depends on your learning preferences. Do you like to learn face-to-face or online? Do you prefer studying with a group or solo?

The ATD Learning System: APTD Edition is the digital textbook that will be the best resource to study for the exam. The Learning System is a 12-month subscription that includes interactive texts, quizzes, and case studies; you can also opt for the print version. If you study well by reading, the Learning System may be all that you need.

There are also ATD prep courses available in three formats: on-demand, face-to-face, and instructor-led online. If you learn best with others, the face-to-face or live-online options may be best for you.

  • The face-to-face course is a two-day course designed to help you create a study plan and identify the areas in which you will need to concentrate.
  • The live online course meets virtually once per week over a seven-week period and covers the same material as the face-to-face course.
  • If you prefer studying on your own, the on-demand course may be your best option. It allows you to study any time and is designed to be adaptive to your learning needs. However, you won’t have an instructor or peers to guide you on your journey.
  • As with all ATD prep course options, a subscription to the ATD Learning System is included in the price of the course.

3. Take a practice test. To gauge how prepared you are to take the APTD exam, take a practice test here. The practice exam will give you 30 questions to answer in 30 minutes and will provide you with a score at the end. Most people don’t do well on the first try, and that’s OK! The goal is to get to ~80 percent by the time you take the exam.


4. Schedule a prep course. Let’s say you decide you want to do the face-to-face course. There’s one in February in West Palm Beach that would work with a June exam schedule. For the live online option, there is one that starts in February that would also work well. Check the website for additional offerings throughout the year.

5. Study for the exam. After you take a prep course, you’ll still need time to study. Successful candidates study 40-60 hours for the APTD exam, so you’ll need to create a study plan and stick to it. Here’s a good article about preparing for exams. Note: If you have earned the ATD Master Trainer or Master Instructional Designer designation, you may qualify to opt out of that portion of the exam. You will need documentation that you successfully completed the program when you register for the exam.

6. Register to take the APTD exam. Once you are fairly sure you’ll be ready to take the exam in June, you will need to register for the exam here. The registration deadline for the June APTD exam is April 24, 2019, so you will need to register no later than that date; I’d encourage you to register around the first of April, since your one year of eligibility to take the exam starts when you register.


7. Take the APTD exam. Once you register, you’ll be able to choose a date and time to take your exam at a testing center. After you take the exam, you will find out right away if you passed.

8. Celebrate! Congratulations! You are now part of an elite group of talent development professionals who have proven themselves by achieving the APTD. You can now put “APTD” after your name!

APTD TImeline.jpg

About the Author

Sue Kaiden is the Project Manager, Credentialing for the Association for Talent Development’s Certification Institute (CI). In this role, Sue manages the preparation products used by candidates for the CPLP and APTD credentials. Prior to joining the CI team, Sue was the Manager of the Career Development community at ATD. Before coming to ATD, Sue held executive and consulting roles in the healthcare, IT, and nonprofit sectors and founded a career coaching firm, CareerEdge. In addition, she started a job search support program for unemployed and underemployed people in the Philadelphia area which she ran for 11 years. Through this program and her coaching practice, Sue helped hundreds of people find meaningful work. Sue is the author of  Keeping Your Career on Track (TD at Work) and the editor of Find Your Fit: A Practical Guide to Landing a Job You'll Love, a book written with 16 top-notch career coaches that was published in October 2016 . Sue holds an MBA from Cornell University, a BS from Miami University (Ohio), and is a certified Myers Briggs (MBTI) and Strong Interest Inventory practitioner.  

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